Days 2-4: TGIF, time to wine down.

Honestly, thank god for the food scale or I would have gone insane trying to figure out these quantities. Though I will say,I’m starting to get the hang of how much these things weigh and what my daily limit.

For example, a tablespoon of olive oil is around 14g. The reference diet for unsaturated oils is 40g, with a range of 20-80g. So a little less than 3 tablespoons for olive oil a day, an easy thing to keep in mind when cooking. Also, I know what a tablespoon of peanut butter looks spread on how many grams of grain of bread. 16 g of peanuts and 50 g for the toast. So, while the first couple days consisted of a lot of weighing, which meant a lot of washing of bowls and measuring cups, its slowly starting to make sense.

Still, there were somethings I needed to take the calculator out for. Like for milk equivalents. I already knew the milk equivalents for cheese because #priorities, but greek yogurt? No clue. Turns out the internet didn’t clearly know either. But thanks to the lovely people of the internet, I was able to get it down (see the end for values).

Furthermore, it’s Friday. And what if ya wanna turn up this weekend? Or at least grab a glass of wine or a beer with some friends. To our collective dismay, alcohol takes resources- like grain, fruit, and sugar- to make.

Is it really that significant? Well, in the US we drink 9 liters of pure alcohol per year. Now, not sure how much that translates into wine or beer, but I’m assuming it’s a lot.

And how do other countries compare? Check out this cool map from Our World in Data. See Russia and Eastern Europe coming in red hot? I guess some stereotypes do reign true. 

EAT-Lancet, of course, does not offer a reference for sustainable alcohol consumption. Probably fair, offering a recommendation for alcohol sounds irresponsible. Or is it?

This probably warrants another post, but there are plenty of studies that look at moderate alcohol consumption and what that means for health. Some even say that small amounts can be positive. Glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away? Sounds a bit too good to be true. But the report dives into these kind of studies for red meat, which is often unhealthy and culturally inappropriate, so why not alcohol?

Anyway, I took to my calculator to at least figure out how many grains in a glass of beer and grapes in a glass of wine. With another thanks to the people of the internet, I got the numbers. Probably way off, so if you know better- please weigh in. [Pun intended]. The whole point is to make this diet realistic…right?

  • Milk to cheese equivalent: 10 to 1 (ex. 250 grams of milk is 25g of cheese)
  • Milk to greek yogurt: 4 to 1 (ex. 1 gallon of milk is 1 quart of greek yogurt)

As with anything on the internet, these may not be accurate. But it offers something to work with. If you have better values please share!

  • Beer: 30 grams of grains
  • Wine: 200 grams of grapes

Full disclosure, this was even more a shot in the dark than with milk, using spottier internet information. 

So, as with anything on the internet, these may not be accurate. But it offers something to work with. If you have better values please share!

I will update this with other conversions if needed (and more importantly, if I can figure it out). 

You may be thinking: this is great and all, but what did you eat? Here’s a breakdown below. 

And how am I tracking all of this you ask? A good ole spreadsheet. I will upload an easy to use version of this once I nail out the kinks (and figure out how to do it on wordpress).

EAT-Lancet: Critiques so far

First of all, the diet given is for 2,500 calories. This is too much for a majority of the population, aka all women and children. 2500 calories is the average intake for adult men, who also likely requires a different combination of nutrients compared to women or growing children.

Variations should be given for women, children, and men.

So, adjusting it to my needs was pretty much a shot in the dark. Any nutritionists out there? Help?

Another huge drawback is that it gives a very diversified flexitarian diet. The idea behind this is great, and for the purpose of the modeling behind the report, it makes sense: what highly diverse diet can the entire world eat and in what quantities to remain within planetary boundaries? However, translating this to an actual shopping list? OMG. It’s a headache. For an individual, try and shop for 7g of beef, 7g of pork, 29g of poultry, 28g of fish a day, 13g of eggs? Come on. Translating this into something that’s doable for a week is difficult as is. Yes yes, diversity of diets is important- but this is a bit extreme.

Condensing into simpler forms, like per week, per month, or per year. When people obtain their food, its not in this kind of diversity all in one day. Sometimes its chicken one week, beef the next. Sometimes it’s no meat at all.

Going further, it doesn’t give options for vegetarian or vegan diets which is a diet that many people in the world eat- whether its for religion, cultural, ethical, environmental, or other reasons. What if I don’t eat meat? I should be able to eat a lot more legumes, eggs, and dairy. What if I’m vegan? Proposing this kind of reference diet for all, even with ranges, does not address other diets that exist and will continue to exist.


Offer simple substitutes, chart form or otherwise. If no meat, how much can you substitute with eggs? If no dairy, what’s the plant based substitute? How much can my consumption of soy products/legumes increase if I choose to forego all animal sourced foods? Ya girl needs her protein, and I might not want to get it from meat.

Finally the whole dairy recommendation. Seriously EAT-Lancet? Do you not know that 65% of the global adult population have a reduced ability to digest lactose? Someone failed to do a quick google search on that one. I get you gave a range beginning with 0…but 500 grams of milk a day as the end range? That’s two glasses of milk a day…you would have a lot of people running to the bathroom, flushing a lot of water. Also not sustainable. 

I don’t really have one. A good portion of the world does not do well with dairy, so in the model they would be at zero. Does this mean those that can consume dairy can have more? That’d be great. Bring on more cheese.