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The word “sustainable” derives from the Latin words sub tenere and literally means to “uphold from underneath” or “able to endure without falling.”

…a sustainable diet is one that can endure or be continued over a long period of time.

For you as an individual, a sustainable diet must taste good and be enjoyable or you may abandon it. It needs to be affordable and to contain all the nutrients you need to reach and maintain health and vitality. Conversely, an unsustainable diet is one that makes you too fat, or ill, or fatigued. It leads to disease if followed for a long period of time. There is an epidemic of chronic illness in America today coming from an unsustainable, poor food-choice diet. The western diet is devoid of nutrients and filled with too much processed food, meat, fat, and sugar and not enough fruits and vegetables.

… a sustainable diet will promote good health and ideal weight and prevent chronic disease throughout your life.

The American diet is also harming planetary health. Our modern farming and food system is degrading our soil, polluting our water, adding greenhouse gases to our atmosphere, liberally using finite resources and energy, and contributing substantially to climate change. The standard American diet is not environmentally sustainable.

…a sustainable diet conserves and regenerates natural resources.

…a sustainable diet reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Healthy food and water depends on healthy ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems depend on biodiversity. Biodiversity is the variety and variability of life at different levels of biological organization, such as the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels. The standard American diet and our predominant farming model in America is a threat to biodiversity. For example, widespread use of synthetic fertilizer contributes to to ocean dead zones and degraded soils. Pesticides used on millions of acres of corn crops are found in a significant portion of America’s surface and ground water resources.

…a sustainable diet preserves biodiversity.

A sustainable diet protects, nourishes, and maintains the health of all people in our society so that we together can cooperate for a better world. There is a connection between a healthy society–one where all people are properly nourished—and planetary health.

…a sustainable diet promotes access to healthy food and clean water and optimal health and well-being for all people.

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