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Towards Healthy Sustainable Food

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You probably remember the day you were taught to brush your teeth. But were you taught how to eat and live healthy? Until a few years ago, little was known about the effects of diet and lifestyle on health and longevity, but now they are known, and they are considerable. From dental cavities to type 2 diabetes and heart attacks, the impact of what we eat is overwhelming. Today, in a country like Canada, diseases that can largely be prevented are causing poor aging and premature death. Our societies are becoming more and more ill, despite the advances of medicine, that is typically too focused on curative, rather than on preventive care. But change in terms of diet and lifestyle is possible, and the implications are extraordinary. At the individual level, we can largely prevent the most common diseases and avoid many health problems, regardless of our age. You can live a fuller, healthier life without much compromise. In fact, contrary to common thinking, one can even reduce household food expenditure by opting for a healthier diet. At the level of a province such as Quebec, or a country like Canada, it would be possible, literally, to resolve once and for all the problems of waiting lists and crowded emergencies in hospitals and to save public finances, so negatively impacted by the huge health related expenditures. That’s about 50% of provincial spending in Quebec – far more than education or roads! At the global level, it would be possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce tropical deforestation, to better protect ecosystems, while increasing food production to meet the needs of an ever expanding world population. Yes, it’s all feasible. One of the keys: to promote particularly nutritious plant-based foods, and to reduce the share of animal proteins, whose production is exceedingly harmful in terms of the environment, climate change and animal cruelty. The subject is vast and complex, but Jean-Pierre Kiekens, a former university lecturer having been educated in food policy at the University of Oxford by some of the leading experts in the field, will help you understand the various facets of this vital issue, and will let you realize that it is possible and desirable to move towards healthy and sustainable food – a path which he considers to be the way forward for the food of the future.

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