In the wake of growing global concerns about health and the environment, Burgreens commemorates their 10th anniversary by collaborating with Meatless Monday Indonesia and Generasi Baru Dapur Indonesia to host an event series for media and chefs that underscores the significance of plant-forward and plant-based diets for personal and planetary well-being. The Planetary Health Diet Forum, held at Burgreens Menteng, Jakarta, from 09:30 to 12:30 WIB, gathered experts to answer one question “How can we feed 10 billion people in a healthy & sustainable way within planetary boundaries?”

Figure 1 The Planetary Health Diet Composition by Eat Lancet Commission

The Planetary Health Diet is flexible by providing guidelines to ranges of different food groups that together constitute an optimal diet for human health and environmental sustainability. It emphasizes a plant-forward diet where whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes comprise a greater proportion of foods consumed. Meat and dairy constitute important parts of the diet but in significantly smaller proportions than whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.

The planetary health diet aims to prevent malnutrition and chronic diseases, while reducing one's carbon footprint and enhancing biodiversity by embracing plant-protein, as recommended by EAT-Lancet. Aligned with the Meatless Monday Indonesia movement, this initiative encourages a small but impactful dietary change by encouraging people to choose meatless meals at least once a week. 

The event featured distinguished speakers including Dr. Susianto Tseng, a Doctor of Public Health Nutrition and President of the Indonesia Vegetarian Society, as well as Willy Natanael Yonas, BHM, ACSM-CPT, Head of Lifestyle Medicine and the Medical Check-Up Unit at Bandung Adventist Hospital.

A panel discussion followed, featuring practitioners of Planetary Health Diet, Max Mandias of Burgreens and Green Rebel and James Joseph of Bumiterra. The event was closed with delicious, healthy, and sustainable meals provided by Burgreens.

Willy Natanel Yonas said that “The daily recommendation is to get 15% of our calories from protein (equal to 375 kcal in a 2500 kcal diet), of which 300 kcal should come from plant protein”. Max Mandias, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Burgrens and Green Rebel explains that there are 4 main plant food groups high in protein, namely 1) beans, 2) nuts, 3) seeds, and 4) legume-derivative products s.a. tempeh, tofu, and plant-based meats.

Dr. Susianto Tseng explains, “Planetary Health Diet is aligned with Indonesia’s Ministry of Health ‘Isi Piringku’ where 92% of the foods in our plate should come from plants. Scientific journals have shown that a plant-based diet significantly reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes type 2, cancer, and hypertension."

According to Our World in Data agriculture plays a substantial role in environmental degradation. Burgreens tackles this challenge by providing sustainable food choices. Farming occupies half of habitable land, and meat and dairy production generate more greenhouse gases than plant cultivation.

In total, the food production and distribution process contribute to 26% of global emissions, with animal farming responsible for 75% of agricultural emissions. Focusing on eating more plant foods have a much greater positive impact on the environment compared to eating local.

Figure 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions per Kilogram of Food Product

(Source: Our World in Data)

"Compared to other aspects of daily life, the food we eat is something we can easily change. We decide what to buy, cook, and put on our plates, which means we have full control over our personal environmental footprint. When we choose sustainably-produced foods, we're voting for the world we want to live in. It's a simple but powerful action,"  stated James Joseph, Co-Founder of Bumiterra.

Max Mandias emphasized, "Aligned with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, the Planetary Health Diet is key to sustainable development. For ten years, Burgreens has led this initiative, by offering healthy, eco-friendly meals that taste great and are good for the Earth. With Green Rebel, we are now partnering with more than 100 food service partners in Indonesia including IKEA, Starbucks, AirAsia, Tous Le Jour, and more to provide healthy and sustainable meals in more than 1,000 doors in Indonesia."

The goal of the planetary health diet event is to empower individuals to take charge of their health and the planet's future. By making informed choices about our diet, we each harness the ability to foster a healthier society and work towards environmental sustainability.

This moment in time is pivotal, offering us all the chance to drive positive change simply by being mindful of the food that ends up on our plates. It's a call to action for everyone to consider the far-reaching effects of their eating habits and to make choices that benefit both personal well-being and global ecological balance.