The Flexitarian Diet is a type of eating plan which encourages mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat as well as other animal products in moderation. It’s more flexible as opposed to fully vegetarian or vegan diets. If you would like to add more plant foods to your diet but don’t want to completely cut out meat, going flexitarian may be for you.
The word ‘flexitarian’ is simply the combination of the two words ‘flexible’ and ‘vegetarian’, while a diet is just a way of life. The theory underpinning the Flexitarian Diet is a far more flexible approach to vegetarianism, so that you can still reap the benefits of loading up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, without ditching animal products like steak and burgers entirely.
How Does The Flexitarian Diet Work?
Becoming a flexitarian is about including five food groups into your diet – and not taking any away. These are: the “new meat” (non-meat proteins such as beans, peas or eggs); fruits and veggies; whole grains; dairy; as well as sugar and spice.
A five-week meal plan in the Flexitarian Diet provides breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as snack recipes. You are able to follow the plan as it’s outlined, or swap recipes from different weeks in order to meet your preferences.
It’s a three-four-five eating plan:
- Breakfast choices are approximately 300 calories,
- Lunches 400,
- Dinners 500, and
- Snacks are approximately 150 calories each; add two, and your day-to-day total clocks in at 1 500 calories.
Depending on your activity level, gender, height as well as weight, you are able to tweak the plan in order to allow for somewhat greater or fewer calories.
You can follow the Flexitarian Diet at your own pace. Jump in and then try most of the recipes, sticking to the meal plan verbatim for a total of five weeks. Alternatively, take it slowly and test one of the recipes every once in a while.
Possible Health Benefits Of The Flexitarian Diet
Following a Flexitarian Diet may provide several health benefits. However, as there is no clear definition of this diet, it’s quite difficult to assess if – and how – researched benefits of other plant-based diets are applicable to the Flexitarian Diet. Nonetheless, research on vegan as well as vegetarian diets is still useful in highlighting how semi-vegetarian diets might promote health.
It appears to be important to regularly eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and other minimally processed whole foods in order to reap the health benefits of plant-based eating.
Diets which are rich in fibre and healthy fats are very good for heart health.
A study which followed 45 000 adults over 11 years found that vegetarians had a 32% lower risk of heart disease as compared to non-vegetarians.
This is likely owing to the fact that vegetarian diets are often rich in fibre – as well as antioxidants – that may reduce blood pressure and also increase good cholesterol.
Decreasing meat consumption – while continuing to eat refined foods with lots of added sugar and salt – will not lead to the same benefits.
Flexitarian eating could very well be good for your waistline. This is partially as flexitarians limit high calorie, processed foods and eat more plant foods which are naturally lower in calories. Several studies have shown that people who follow a plant-based diet may lose more weight as opposed to those who do not.
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