Yet another type of diet that is not at all a whole new invention, but still not being spoken enough.
A Flexitarian diet or as known as a semi-vegetarian diet is the way of eating mostly vegetarian meals with occasional meat consumption. In another way, it is a not strict vegetarian diet.
Coming from the words flexible and vegetarian makes the diet not all a mystery anymore. The term was indicated back in the ’90s accompanied by one of its most popular books, “The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life,” issued in 2009 by dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner.
Let’s face the truth, some people can’t really always be vegetarian or vegan. This can be due to some health factors such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Anemia, which can make life really really hard to live. Going a mid-way might be an answer here. By eating more plants and less meat, a flexitarian diet is believed to be relatively sustainable and can improve overall health.
Naming it a type of diet must have its own rule. But before going on and categorizing the way you eat, here are some of the things you might want to know about a flexitarian diet.
Benefits of Flexitarian diet
1. Healthy in a sustainable way
By not giving yourself much of a restriction, a flexitarian diet can be easier to follow through in a long run. The diet also embraces all food groups which doesn’t deprive the body of some necessary nutrients. Cutting down animal product consumption and increasing plant-based food, can lead to a lower chance of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
2. Good for the environment
It is known that animal farming is created a huge negative impact on the environment. Following a flexitarian diet may not completely get rid of that factor but it will surely reduce the amount of animal product consumption.
Moreover, studies have found that by being vegan or strictly vegetarian does not guarantee that you are not creating a huge negative environmental impact. Some trending vegan/vegetarian food namely avocado and soy were found to create a great cost to the environment. Also importing off-season and non-local fruits and vegetable is another factor that is harming the environment. Flexitarian promotes a balanced diet that does not require nutrients coming from only one or two food groups.
A Flexitarian diet allows you to source all your nutrients from all the food group, so there are no needs to buy a supplement for some types of vitamin or mineral. There are no special recipes or ingredients replacement required, instead, you can choose a meal that fits your budget. Livestock can sometimes be not as budget-friendly, eating less meat means cutting down spending on meat products.
4. Help with weight loss
Plant-based diets increase fiber consumption and nutrient-dense food, leading to a healthier food choice. Eating more fruits and vegetables is the basic rule of weight loss, and that is what a flexitarian diet is all about. There are some similar diets such as paleo and Mediterranean that are also known to be a great benefit for weight loss. However, some might find it hard to stick through the limitations of some diets. A Flexitarian diet, on the other hand, is one of the least restrictive diets.
Because the flexitarian diet is one of the most flexible diets, it s very convenient when it comes to sourcing ingredients and following the diet on a day-to-day life. All it requires is to focus the diet on incorporating more plant-based food and less meat. You can easily cook the meal you enjoy and still use simple ingredients. By focusing on the principles of this diet, you can still conveniently go to restaurants and enjoy dinner parties.
Generally, you can meet all your nutrient needs on this diet by not cutting any food group out completely. Compare to a strict vegan or vegetarian who often needs a supplement for some type of fat and vitamins such as vitamin B12. You can get all the nutritional needs from a natural source that can provide a better overall balance of nutrients.
Flexitarian diet the proper way
The proper way to go about a flexitarian diet is to be a vegetarian that occasionally eats meat, not a regular meat consumption with increasing fruit and vegetable intake. So basically meat shouldn’t be the main ingredient of your meal or in every meal either. If you were to eat a plate of steak, it would not be wrong but consider having an equal amount of plant-based food with the steak. Also if you come from a non-vegetarian diet background, start slow by having a meatless Monday then gradually scale down your meat consumption.
There are no limitations on how much meat you can eat as a flexitarian to be specified per gram. Instead, 80% of the diet should be plant-based and 20% of meat, poultry, and fish. Also, you can take flexitarian diet benefits to the maximum by minimizing processed meat, food with high saturated fat, and refined sugar/carbohydrates.
A day of following a flexitarian diet can look something like this:
Breakfast: Overnight oats with blueberry snd pecan
Lunch: Chicken salad with chickpea and kale
Snacks: Almond nuts
Dinner: Salt-baked beetroot pasta
If you are looking to start following Flexitarain diet there is a classic book to understand how the diet is written by dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner called The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, that will give you an idea of what this diet is all about.
Or if you are looking for some recipe ideas or want to start a week of flexitarian right, you can find this One Week Flexitarian ebook that you can download on our websites. The recipe collection and meal preparation in this ebook will guide you through a part of a healthy eating lifestyle of a flexitarian diet for one week.