What is a Flexitarian and Are There Any Benefits?

Also known as semivegetarianism, the flexitarian diet is all about being a vegetarian who eats meat occasionally. Flexitarians basically follow a vegetarian diet but not most of the time. That is because they also eat chicken, fish, and even red meat from time to time.

Apparently, some enthusiasts adopt the diet due to the dilemma involving the impact of meat eating has on the environment. It is also worth noting that flexitarians love to eat eggs and dairy products on a regular basis.

How Does the Flexitarian Diet Work?

Sure, the term flexitarian may sound like a reference to people who love to eat meat; however, the basic concept it has is totally different. For starters, meat lovers (or simply called omnivores) eat both vegetarian and meat food on a daily basis. Regardless of the combination, they do not follow a certain guideline when it comes to consuming this type of food.

Flexitarians, on the other hand, are those who stick to the basics of a vegetarian diet. They do those most of their days. Their reason for having meat on their diet, however, could vary from one flexitarian to another. For instance, some only allow themselves to eat meat when there is a special occasion like birthdays and/or parties.

Benefits of Flexitarian Diet

If you are seriously considering this diet, you should know first the benefits it offers. That way, you can really determine if this diet suits you and your lifestyle.

Heavily Promotes Weight Loss

Many studies have confirmed that vegetarians weigh about 15 percent less than to those who love to consume meat regularly. Meanwhile, flexitarians are also capable of weighing less when compared to meat lovers. Still, this depends on how often a flexitarian decides to eat meat. Some eat meat like once a week, while others do it on a daily basis but for one meal only.

Improves Heart Health

A flexitarian diet has proven to lower bad cholesterol levels. This eventually results in lower blood pressure and, more importantly, an improved heart health. But like the aforementioned, the efficiency of this diet on an enthusiast’s heart health depends on the frequency of meat eating.

Helps the Environment

It is no secret that the environment greatly benefits from the reduced consumption of meat. This simply results in reduced water usage, fuel dependence, and greenhouse gases. Keep in mind that livestock requires lots of water than plant-based food. In fact, a recent research suggests that around 1,850 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of beef. This is extremely high compared to 39 gallons of water needed to produce one pound of vegetable. Moreover, meat is proven to be one of the culprits behind greenhouse gasses, not to mention it uses fossil energy.

Sustainable and Colorful Diet

Perhaps one of the main reasons people consider flexitarian diet is the kind of eating habit it offers. Not only is it varied, it is also highly sustainable in the long run. It does not restrict you to any major food group or even nutrients. To put it simply, you can reap the health benefits of going vegan while making a few simple tweaks to your weekly menu. The possibilities in this diet are just endless!

How to Maximize This Diet

As mentioned, the flexitarian diet does not have a set rule in terms of what to eat and whatnot. Still, this diet would be best enjoyed if you can cut back on your meat consumption. Try some of the helpful tips below:

  • Try to load up on greens. Go for a salad that can really satisfy you. Try mixing lettuce, arugula, and kale with tons of beets, carrots, and beets.
  • Eat legumes such as lentils, white beans, and chickpeas. If you want some filling snacks, your best bet would be nuts or nut butters.
  • Go for meat substitutes. From tofu to tempeh to other soy-based products, you can find various alternatives for meat. Make sure that you partner these alternatives with loads of veggies, fruits, and whole grains.
  • The “calorie-poor but nutrient-rich” eating. This simply means that you bulk each of your meals with fiber-rich vegetables and lots of protein sources.