Not another ‘ism’ I hear you say, what sort of selective diet are we trying this time?
Flexitarianism is the latest dieting regime where individuals take a more eco-friendly and sustainable approach to what they eat by consuming a mostly plant-based diet with the occasional meat dish. The new diet claims to reduce your carbon footprint while ensuring that you still acquire the right nutrients and proteins in the process. For those of you thinking that I’ve completely made this up, think of it as being semi-vegetarian. It’s finally a way for those who aren’t game enough to completely eliminate meat from their diet to get the best of both worlds.
What Makes Flexitarianism Different from Other Food-Exclusion Practices?
Unlike vegetarianism and veganism where you’re required to eliminate certain foods, flexitarianism is all about introducing new foods to your diet. For some, not being able to consume meat isn’t an option, particularly those with underlying health conditions such as iron deficiency and multiple scoliosis. However, by choosing to go flexitarian, they can reap the benefits of consuming a plant-based diet with the option of consuming meats on the odd occasion.
What Should I Be Eating as a Flexitarian?
There are no set-in-stone guidelines that a flexitarian is required to follow. Rather, this diet is a lifestyle choice that comes with amazing benefits if you stick to it. A flexitarian diet looks at adding lentils, beans, seeds and nuts to your current diet, with these ingredients working to reduce health risks such as high cholesterol.
While there aren’t particular guidelines as stated prior, Healthline indicates that flexitarianism does follow these principles:
- Eat the least processed, natural form of foods.
- Consume mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrains.
- Incorporate meat and animal products from time to time.
- Focus on plant proteins rather than protein from animals.
- Limit sweets and added sugars.
What’s the Best Meat to Consume?
Although flexitarianism does allow you to consume meat, it is best to stick to low-processed and lean meats to maintain a healthy diet. Processed meats such as salamis, bacon, sausages and ham come with increased health risks such as cancer. Excessive consumption of red meats can also be detrimental to your health, so it’s best to stick to a low consumption.
Alternately, the best meats you could have are white meats such as turkey, chicken and fish. These meats contain vitamins, nutrients and proteins that are essential to your health and will also help balance your diet to ensure you’re giving your body everything it needs to stay healthy and strong.
How does Flexitarianism Benefit the Environment?
Agriculture consumption is a huge contributor to greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. By reducing meat consumption, we’ll be preserving natural resources while decreasing land and water use. The demand for more fruits and vegetables will also contribute to a growth in fruit farming, providing people with more jobs while saving the environment.
While a flexitarian diet does come with health benefits, it’s important that you appropriately plan your meals to ensure that you aren’t missing out on essential vitamins and nutrients. Before making any huge lifestyle change it is important to consult with your doctor or dietitian to see if a semi-vegetarian diet is right for you.
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