Inspired by Suzy Cameron, author of The OMD Plan, Oprah Winfrey is now doing a 30 day challenge to incorporate one plant-based meal per day. You can follow along with her @oprahmagazine as Chef Raymond Weber creates an amazing dish every day.  The recipes as well as videos of Oprah trying them out are provided on her website.  Meals for the Planet will be doing the carbon footprint calculations of each recipe so you can see for yourself how much benefit one plant-based meal a day for the planet can do!  If you’d like to do the challenge, you can find more information at @omd4theplanet on Instagram and in Suzy Cameron’s The OMD Plan book.

Oprah’s Day 1 recipe, roasted pumpkin and mushroom risotto, has a carbon footprint of just 389 g CO2-eq per serving.  A risotto made with whole milk, butter, and some cheese would have a carbon footprint of 817 g CO2-eq per serving!  The units are given as CO2-eq, because we are accounting not just for carbon dioxide, but other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide.  Animal products from ruminants (dairy, beef, and lamb, for example) have a higher #carbonfootprint largely due to the methane produced by the animal.  Squashes and pumpkins have an especially low carbon footprint of just 0.09 g CO2-eq per gram.  Vegetable oils have a footprint of 1.63 g CO2-eq per g, compared 11.92 g CO2-eq for butter.

Diet choices make a big difference for the climate!  The latest IPCC report on land and climate lists a plant-based diet as providing the most mitigation potential of all diets.

Carbon footprint data are from: Heller, M.C. and G.A. Keoleian. 2014. Greenhouse gas emission estimates of U.S. dietary choices and food loss. Journal of Industrial Ecology.