What Is Flexitarianism And Why Should You Try It?

Time for reading: ~4 minutes Last Updated: October 27, 2022
What Is Flexitarianism And Why Should You Try It?

If you want to eat more vegetables and fruits, lose weight, improve your health and help the planet, flexitarianism can be a good choice. It is not for nothing that this nutrition system has received favor and many favorable reviews.

If you want to eat more vegetables and fruits, lose weight, improve your health and help the planet,  flexitarianism can be a good choice. It is not for nothing that this nutrition system has received favor and many favorable reviews.



What is a flexitarian diet ?

As the name suggests, this food system involves a more flexible approach to a plant-based diet . There are many varieties of plant -based diets : pescetarianism (rejection of meat , but consumption of fish), vegetarianism (rejection of meat and fish, but consumption of animal products such as milk and eggs), lacto-vegetarianism (rejection of all products of animal origin, except for milk), ovo-vegetarianism (rejection of all products of animal origin, except eggs) and veganism (complete rejection of animal products). Flexitarianism is more flexible and diverse.

This system of nutrition has no strict rules, but the basic idea is that the diet consists mainly of plant products, however, from time to time it contains meat and fish. Also, the flexitarian diet advises to avoid processed foods as much as possible, such as candies and sweets, even if they are of plant origin. Instead, you should choose whole foods that have a simple composition.

Also, flexitarians make sure that the meat , fish, and animal products they consume are of very good quality—that means organic meat , poultry, free-range dairy, and eggs, as well as wild-caught fish. , caught in ecological places.

The flexitarian food system does not have strict restrictions, but approximately ⅔ of the diet should be allocated to plant products. In addition, when the menu includes meat or fish, they should not be the dominant ingredient in the dishes. For example, you can cook stewed vegetables with the addition of a small amount of chicken, or a salad of kale with the addition of a couple of slices of bacon, etc.


Why you should try a flexitarian diet


Usually, meat and fish are the most expensive products on the shopping list, especially if you pay attention to high-quality meat . And you better do it, because wild salmon and free-range beef have been proven to have a healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats and contain more nutrients than farm-raised ones. For some reason, it is better to buy a smaller amount of products of animal origin, but of better quality.

On other days, you can prepare a light hearty meal with plant-based sources of protein, such as lentils and beans. Adding more fiber to your meal will also help you feel fuller.

Health benefits

Recently, nutritionists have increasingly emphasized the health benefits of a plant -based diet . Scientists confirm that such a nutritional system helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cognitive disorders and cancer. Research from the Icahn School of Medicine in New York found that people who follow a diet rich in plant products, even if they do not completely give up meat , have a 42% lower tendency to develop heart failure.


Benefits for the environment

Animal husbandry is one of the biggest environmental problems today. According to a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, it is the source of approximately 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 60% of the world's agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. One research review found that even sustainable, low-impact beef production produces 6 times more greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based pea protein production.

Reducing the consumption of meat and animal products, even partially, is an effective way to reduce the negative impact on the environment.


How to eat on a flexitarian diet

Remember that this nutrition system is not so much about restrictions as about flexibility. Many people may find it quite difficult to switch to a plant-based diet at first , especially if you are an avid meat eater, and a plant-based diet can be varied and tasty. Consider the following tips and principles.

  • A vegetarian breakfast, such as granola with yogurt or chia pudding or oatmeal with plant-based milk, made the night before.

  • Make it a habit to cook lunches at home - it is more economical and will also help you avoid the temptation when your colleagues order pizza or burgers. Bowls, salads, porridge with vegetables, or even cream soup in a thermos are excellent, healthy and nutritious options. For those times when you don't feel like cooking, explore nearby or delivery options that offer vegetarian or low- meat options . Given that flexitarianism is not that strict, there are many options to be found.

  • Make a small supply of foods at home that will be the main ingredients for cooking: pasta, legumes, quinoa, cereals, canned beans, etc. Do not forget about frozen or canned vegetables and various spices - this will allow you to quickly prepare vegetarian soups, pastas, casseroles and stews.

  • Pay attention to seasonal products. Plant-based nutrition implies that it is better to cook from vegetables and fruits that are available at one time or another on the shelves of the store and market. In addition, fresh seasonal products will always be more nutritious and useful, and will help to plan the menu. In the fall, cook pumpkin and sweet potato dishes, in the winter potatoes, beets, cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower remain available, in the spring comes the season of peas, asparagus and radishes, and in the summer they are joined by eggplants, zucchini and tomatoes.


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