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Project: A documentary on the diet that could change the world

As diverse as the students in X-Honours, so are the projects. One of them is a documentary on “The Planetary Health Diet” and is led by X-Honours’ student Vera Lippold. It is a great example of an interdisciplinary project run by students so in the following you will read more about the topic itself and the origins of the project. 

The first steps for the documentary on the ‘Planetary Health Diet’ have been taken at the beginning of 2020 but came to a halt due to the coronavirus measurements and the closure of the university. Of course, this didn’t stop Vera and her team for long. As soon as everything became a bit more “normal” she moved on and created a project flow that could also be sustained online and is currently in progress. 

The Diet

The documentary has the working title ‘The Diet that could change the world’, –  and aims to inform the audience about a sustainable diet not many people have heard of. The Diet is called ‘The Planetary Health diet’ and was formulated by the non-profit organization EAT. It focuses on fruits and vegetables, which are supposed to take up half the plate (visually speaking), the rest a mix of whole grains, plant-based proteins, a small amount of dairy and meat, unsaturated oils, and starchy vegetables. The diet aims for flexibility and diversity so that it can be adapted and followed by all kinds of adults. The EAT formulated the diet this way as many diets focus on the health of the people, but not the planet. By giving vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains the most “space” on the symbolical plate; then a flexible intake of added fats, dairy products, added sugars, etc…, the diet it aims to provide balanced nutrition to the person, offer a lower carbon footprint and sustainably sourced food, and decrease the excessive intake of foods like meat and sugar to lower the health risks. Important to note: It does not mean to completely eradicate these foods from the diet, but encourages a lower intake of volume. 

The Project 

Vera initiated the documentary project and stumbled upon the diet while working on another X- Honors project called ‘Your sustainability guide’. While reading more about the diet she became intrigued and found that not many people knew about it. It claims to be the most sustainable diet in the world, as well as being able to end world hunger and stop climate change. She is a fan of documentaries and at that time she was thinking about creating one herself. The diet and her drive for another project were therefore perfect to combine.  

As to create a documentary is a rather big project, Vera has created project groups and tasks that need to be done. The groups are Management, filming, research, screenwriting, and editing. In total, the project involves 8 members. As for herself, Vera describes herself as ‘determined and hardworking’ and her leading style as somewhat ‘chaotic’ and ‘democratic’. She appreciates working together with other people a lot and values their input.

Right now, the main focus is on gathering more information, so research, communicating with experts and writing the first screenplay. This year Vera aims to start the filming process. She wants to get a good script, work in a nice team again, and also get some first beautiful shots filmed. 

For her, the project relates to value-driven behavior, but also personal leadership and interdisciplinary collaboration. How the pillars apply to a person can vary from member to member of course. 

Read about the planetary health diet from EAT here yourself (or keep an eye out for the documentary!)


– Written by Emma Thal