One of the hottest trending topics on diets in the internet is Flexitarianism. It ranks second and third on the list of Best Diets in Google Search and the answers to the Top 6 trending questions on diets from Google Search may just surprise you. You may discover that you’re already a practising Flexitarian.
A flexitarian can eat anything but focuses on a mainly vegetarian diet which occasionally allows meat dishes. The focus is on healthy legumes, proteins, leafy greens, fruits with the occasional, sustainable animal produce. It may be trending now but the word Flexitarian was actually added to the dictionary in 1998, referring to those with a primarily, but not strictly, vegetarian diet.
Flexitarianism is seen as a more manageable and realistic solution as it is essentially less strict than pure Keto, plant-based or veganism, which can be hard to stick to 100% in the long term.
A good definition from Wikipedia says: ”A semi-vegetarian diet (SVD), also called a flexitarian diet, is one that is centred on plant foods with the occasional inclusion of meat.” Combining the words“flexible” and “vegetarian”, the focus is still on vegetables and nutritious plant-based foods; but makes room for some meat.
Nothing. Flexitarianism is more about improving your diet overall for the reasons of health and sustainability. So you can eat anything in moderation with the focus on vegetables and plant-based food. So unlike Vegetarians, meat and dairy are allowed. Although there are no specific rules to how much meat a Flexitarian can eat, Flexitarian nutritionists advocate a few meatless meals a week for beginners leading up to experts who eat at least two vegetarian meals a day up to only one or two meat meals a week. And like meat, dairy and eggs are sparingly consumed with a mainly vegetarian diet and better quality dairy like free range or organic eggs.
Depends! Vegan may be the better option if we’re talking about saving the planet. If it’s about diet, health and do-ability then Flexitarianism may win. It really depends on the individual and of course, you should always consult your medical practitioners before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle and diet.
All well-planned diets can be very healthy depending on the quantities you end up eating and the way your food is prepared. If you are eating tons of fried vegetables with lashings of salty sauce six times a day, then this brand of Vegetarianism cannot be considered a healthy option.
Some benefits of a Flexitarian diet include:
· Decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes
· Ease of maintaining vs a vegan diet
· Weight loss
· Decreased risk of heart disease and even cancer
· Nutrient dense
· Kind to the environment
For an easy entry into a Flexitarian diet, begin with small, gradual changes to your diet for example, reducing one serving of meat each week. Continue doing this until your weekly meat intake is at most five meat meals per week, or one meal a day with meat on weekdays. Because your largest meat meal of the day is usually dinner, try to have veggie dinners as a rule. To get you started, here’s your first three days’ menu:
Breakfast: Omelette with eggs, cheese and selected vegetables as desired (e.g. mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers)
Lunch: Sandwich on wholegrain bread with cottage cheese, lettuce, tomato, grated carrot, cucumber
Dinner: Pasta with vegetarian sauce, or try a ready-made Kebab briyani meal from Arlene
Breakfast: Rolled oats or granola with milk and bananas or berries
Lunch: Sandwich on wholegrain bread with egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato, alfalfa sprouts, beetroot, or try an instant meal option with Arlene’s plant-based readymade Dan Dan Noodles with their spring rolls.
Dinner: Roast vegetables with tofu and couscous or Arlene’s Chili Sin Carne with Rice which comes ready made with veggies, garlic and red chili in a zesty tomato sauce. Delicious!
Breakfast: Wholegrain toast with coconut spread or poached eggs with toast
Lunch: Japanese Ramen with seaweed and mushroom fungus.
Dinner: Spaghetti Carbonara with an alternative meat mince product or plant-based ready-made cuisine like Arlene’s Spaghetti Bolognese.
Fruit, seeds, nuts, fresh veggies, readymade plant-based snacks like Arlene Siew Mai, Gyoza, Kibbehs or Spring Rolls, whole grain crackers and bread with cheese or coconut or sugar-free kaya spreads.
If the flexitarian diet centred on plant foods with the occasional inclusion of animal products isn’t quite you, but a dietary variation around the reduction of meat and dairy or a diet with more focus on the sustainable and ethical sourcing of animal products in particular, then one of these recent additions to the Urban Dictionary maybe what you are actually following:
Reducetarian: Someone who reduces their meat consumption. So if you have been an omnivore all your life and are starting to think about becoming a vegetarian but aren’t quite one yet, and you find you are starting to cut down on meat for reasons of personal taste preference or animal kindness or being planet-friendly you are a reducetarian.
Veggievore: An individual who is not a vegetarian and who does eat meat, but who aspires to ensuring he or she does not eat meat or dairy products which could be considered as harmful to the environment or cause unnecessary suffering to animals.
Sustainatarian: A person who eats a mostly plant-based diet with occasional sustainable meat, meaning that it is locally and humanely raised.
Climatarian: On a similar trend is the climatarian diet – choosing what you eat based on minimising carbon footprint. Simple choices while food shopping can have a huge impact on the environment, and – depending on where you live – selecting produce that has been grown or reared in your own country may be easier than you think. In addition, the climatarian focuses on reducing waste by buying no more than needed and making the most of leftovers.
So, are you a Flexitarian, or one of the above? Let us know if you are trying out a Flexitarian diet and any tips or recipes you may have discovered!
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