December 17, 2020
The numerous diet possibilities out there can sometimes be overwhelming. It can be hard to know what all of them entail or if they’re even right for your goals and lifestyle. When it comes to finding the right diet for you, gather as much information as possible before drastically changing your diet. A great middle-ground stepping stone to another diet is the flexitarian diet.
What is a Flexitarian?
A flexitarian is someone who generally eats plant-based foods but occasionally will eat meat. Since a flexitarian does occasionally ingest meat, the next thing you may be questioning is: How often does a flexitarian eat meat? The answer is simple, as often as you want.
There are no strict do’s or don'ts to follow. Just like its name suggests, this lifestyle is meant to be flexible for those who dislike the strict restrictions of other diets. The diet is often referred to as semi-vegetarianism, as it is plant-based but doesn’t ban meat products altogether.
Flexitarian vs. Other Diet Lifestyles
Flexitarianism is similar to other diet lifestyles familiar to most people but has key differences. The closest relative to the flexitarian is the vegetarian. The main difference between the two is that a vegetarian will not indulge in any meat products at all and is solely plant-based. Flexitarianism allows for sparing meat consumption.
Veganism is a step further than vegetarianism. This diet does not allow for the consumption of meat or any animal products including, but not limited to, dairy or eggs. This is for the disciplined who wish to cut out the animal products because of the believed health benefits, for the environmental benefits, or for those who find the way many animal products are obtained inhumane.
A diet that could easily be confused with flexitarianism is pescetarianism. This one is very similar in the fact that it is plant-based but does allow for meat in the diet. However, a pescetarian will only consume fish and not any other animal, making it different from a flexitarian who can consume whatever type of animal meat they choose.
Get the Right Nutrients
When it comes to a plant-based diet, it is important to ensure you’re giving your body the proper amount of nutrients needed to stay functioning and healthy. Even though the flexitarian diet allows for variety, it still encourages healthy, balanced eating habits.
To get the things you should avoid out of the way first, here are some foods to try to keep out, or limit, in a flexitarian diet. Even though meat is not seen as taboo, it should not be a regular occurrence. Eating a burger at a family barbeque or a fish at a fancy restaurant is fine, but isn’t something that should be a daily habit.
Refined carbs and added sugars should be avoided as much as possible. Foods containing these in high amounts are often avoided in healthy diets as they tend to be unhealthy or worsen current health conditions, such as diabetes. Cutting down on the intake of red meats will also lower the negative effects on your body.
Now that the negative foods are out of the way, here are some things to consume as a flexitarian. Vegetables, both starchy and not, are a great source of nutrients. Incorporating whole grains can be one source of protein and antioxidants. Beans are also encouraged for flexitarians.
The next thing to consider in your diet isn’t so much a specific food as an overarching need for protein. Finding protein sources, as well as other nutrients, can be difficult in a mostly plant-based food routine. Natural-based supplements can help ensure a balanced diet.
To feel like you truly have flexibility over your eating habits, trying new recipes will add extra fun to your diet. Just because you’re focused on staying healthy doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to do it that don’t make it feel like a burden. The purpose of a flexitarian diet is to allow for more flexibility, so eat what you want with moderation and with decreased portions to see the best results.
Possible Health Benefits
The benefits that come along with a flexitarian diet are similar to those that come with almost all plant-based diets. The cost of flexitarianism is low as it doesn’t require the purchase of costly replacement ingredients. The most basic levels of the diet can be accomplished by practicing moderation in food portions as well as just buying healthy ingredients for your daily meals.
Weight loss has been linked to flexitarianism as the diet generally cuts down on portion size and things like processed foods. It encourages a healthy intake of all the food groups and cutting back on the types of ingredients and food that generally are linked to weight gain.
Flexitarianism has also been shown to be useful to those with type-2 diabetes. The limitation of sugar is beneficial for those who should not have too much sugar as it is and once again the focus on a balanced diet is something many diabetics strive to do.
Plant diets have been linked to decreasing the likelihood of heart disease and other ailments and flexitarianism is the same. Heart disease and similar issues can be worsened by the excessive eating of red meats. While flexitarianism doesn’t demand the absolute cut off of these meals, although it could be the choice of the practitioner to do so, it does suggest a very limited amount in your diet.
As you explore your options for the right diet lifestyle for you, flexitarianism may be your best option if you’re looking to eat healthier without giving up on your love of meat. As you journey to better health, don’t forget to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need. There may be health supplements that can help you ensure you’re getting those nutrients into your diet. Chlorella offers a selection of supplements to promote a healthier you. Learn more about Sun Chlorella.