Eating Eat-Lancet Day 0: What’s a gram?

Not to be confused with your mother’s mother.


So, I got a food scale. Turns out I had no conception of how much a “gram” is, which is what the reference diet is in, so I spent a good 15 minutes just measuring different food items from around my kitchen.

For one, it’s really hard to translate these guidelines into actual meals. Also, not everything fits into a category…where do I put my millennial items of quinoa and coconut milk? Quinoa is technically a seed, but nutritionally is more like a grain. And coconut milk? Is it a fruit, is it a nut? The internet isn’t even sure. You chose to be specific EAT-Lancet, and specificity comes with obligations.

Though, a thought. As I’m looking at the coconut milk can I bought a while ago… I start thinking, what is actually more sustainable? Maybe I should be consuming more American produced dairy (considering especially the plight of US dairy farmers) instead of importing coconut milk from Thailand…Is that more sustainable? I do deeply care about US farmers, especially small producers who’s stories are often heart breaking and devastating.

This is a tough question, that highly depends not just on miles traveled, but how it was produced and what went into production. The coconut milk traveled over 8,600 miles (!!!). Now that was a reality check (thanks, Siri). Still, dairy production can be unsustainable in its own ways. All things considered though, I will stick with American dairy cows (sticking to brands that deal with small farmers and sustainable methods).

Also…really? 13 grams of eggs is about 1/4 egg a day. I like my eggs over easy…do they know how messy that would be? I’ll just stick to 1-2 eggs a week, but likely eaten all at once. Crazy, I know. 

This egg issues also brings up the meat issue. Let’s see…shopping for 49 grams of beef, 49 grams of pork, and 203 grams of poultry for the week? I’m already getting a headache. See below under the toggle “give me the breakdown” to see how I make it a bit simpler. 

A couple things I won’t think about- spices and coffee. I know these things take a lot of resources to make/produce and don’t just magically appear, but I also need to keep my sanity.

Prepping my lunch and dinner for tomorrow, where the real counting and measuring will begin. Turns out 232 grams of rice is kind of a lot. So where am pulling these numbers from? Check out the first post that gives a bit more background, or see below to see the reference diet.

This is the reference diet from the report, Food in the Anthropocene. 

So the total intake is 2500 kcal/day, which is a bit high for me, who should be sticking closer to a 2000 calorie diet. 

So, here’s how I adjusted it (no scientific method was used, so if a nutritionist weighs in on how a female in her mid 20s should be eating, that would be great)

  • Grains: 200g, instead of 232g
  • Meat: 32 g instead of a total of 43g (.5 lbs a week)
  • Milk: 214g instead of 250g (6 cups of milk a week)
  • Fish: 21 g instead of 28g (.25 lbs a week)
The rest were as is, allowing vegetables, fruit, and legumes to fall towards the higher end of the range. I’m also tracking what I eat through an application too, to see calories and nutrition.

So, while I changed the diet a bit for myself, here would be the numbers as is. 

You’ll notice I categorized some for the whole week, this is mostly because eating 13 grams of eggs or 7 grams of beef a day would be 1) unenjoyable and 2) extremely inconvenient. So I lumped it together for the week. I don’t believe this has major nutritional implications, but feel free to comment otherwise. 

So, let’s say you wanted to look at your meat intake for the year. And so you add 301 grams of meat to your shopping list for the week. Let’s say you stick with one type of meat for that week.

300 grams is about 2/3 (.67) lbs of meat per week. To stay within the EAT-Lancet ratio for the whole year, that would mean: 

  • Poultry: 34 weeks out of the year
  • Beef: 7-8 weeks out of the year
  • Pork: 7-8 weeks out of the year

Your weekly shopping list for fish would be 196 grams, or about .43 lbs. 

For milk, that would be around 7 cups of milk, or a little less than half a gallon (which has 8 cups). So, you would be buying a half gallon of milk every 8 days or so. 

For cheese lovers who would prefer to get their dairy in this form (ME). That’s about 175 grams of cheese a week (10:1 ratio, for those curious). This is about 6.173 ounces of cheese for the week (EVERY DECIMAL COUNTS HERE). On average, that’s about 10.3 slices of cheese a week. 

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