Health benefits, environmental preservation and ending world hunger are tempting reasons to go vegetarian. Recently a new diet has been introduced that has given vegetarians a little more freedom to enjoy meals with meat-eaters. Ever heard of the Flexitarian Diet? Author Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD has developed a diet based on vegetarian eating without having to completely eliminate meat. The term flexitarian is basically just what it sounds like, flexible vegetarianism. Since a diet based solely on plant-based food is one of the healthiest ways to eat, the flexitarian way of eating provides the same benefits but without the strict discipline it takes to remove meat from the menu.
What is the Flexitarian Diet?
A combination of two terms “flexible” and “vegetarian” the word flexitarian is exactly what it sounds like, a flexible vegetarian. The benefits of eating strictly vegetarian are well documented, but you don’t have to go completely plant-based to enjoy the benefits. Making the switch from eating meat to becoming a true vegetarian means making changes to your diet that can also have downfalls. Going vegetarian is not an easy task and beginners may suffer nutritional deficiencies. Strict vegetarians may suffer from protein deficiency, and may also lack the daily recommended amounts of vitamins and essential minerals. Recent studies have shown that vegetarians, on average live about 3.6 years longer and weight about 15% less than meat eaters. Author of The Flexitarian Diet Dawn Blatner estimates that an average person could shed up to 30 pounds just by sticking to the flexitarian diet for 6-12 months. Blatner says, “It is perfectly acceptable to pepper in meat and still be able to gain all the health benefits [of a vegetarian diet].”(1)
Watch this short video for an introduction to The Flexitarian Diet with Dawn Blatner:
Want to Try Going Meatless?
The Flexitarian Diet makes it easier to transition your diet to include less meat, and more nutrient-dense foods. Start your flexitarian diet by eliminating meat from meals just a few times a week. On your meatless days, try a protein-rich food like tofu, legumes, Quinoa and your favorite veggies with a low-calorie sauce and a side salad. Try this SkinnyMs Vegetarian Recipes to get started. You might be surprised at how satisfied you are without meat, and how much easier the digestion process can be. A recent release of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans urges Americans to consider eating a plant-based diet for the health benefits. With an emphasis on vegetables, whole grains, beans and fruit this diet is full of nutrients in whole food form, the way nature intended. Plan a few meatless menus that are typically meaty meals, like lasagna or hamburgers and ask yourself if the health benefits are worth forgoing the meat.
Ready to get started on your new flexible eating habits? Get your copy of The Flexitarian Diet here!