Flexitarian Diet

The word flexitarian is a combination of the English words “flexible” and “vegetarian”. The flexitarian diet, on the other hand, is a diet designed to allow you to consume your favorite animal foods in moderation while eating a vegetarian diet.

Vegetarians are people who consume plant foods and do not consume animal foods (red meat, chicken, fish, milk and dairy products, eggs) in limited or no amounts. Vegans, on the other hand, do not consume any animal products and only consume plant foods. Because flexitarian adherents consume animal products, they are not considered vegetarian or vegan.

There are no strict rules or recommended calories or macronutrients in the flexitarian diet. Rather than a diet It’s more of a lifestyle.

It is based on the following principles;

  • Mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains should be consumed.

  • Mostly, vegetable proteins should be preferred over animal protein.

  • Meat and animal products should be added to the diet from time to time.

  • Food should be consumed in the least processed and most natural form.

  • Added sugar and sweets should be limited.

Possible Health Benefits

  • Heart health: Diets rich in fiber and healthy fats protect heart health. In a study of 10,797 people on vegetarian, pescatarian and flexitarian diets, it was found that individuals who reduced their meat consumption and followed one of these diets had lower body mass index, total cholesterol and blood pressure than those who ate meat.

  • Weight Management: Flexible eating can also help you manage your weight. This is because flexitarian individuals limit highly processed foods and eat lower-calorie plant foods. Weight loss is not the primary goal of the flexitarian diet. It is more focused on adding more nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, legumes, and vegetables to your daily diet.

  • Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is a global health epidemic. Following a healthy diet, especially a predominantly plant-based diet, can help prevent and manage this disease.

  • Cancer: Eating nutritious plant foods such as fruits, vegetables and legumes reduces the risk of cancer. (especially colorectal cancer)

An Eco-Friendly Diet!

The flexitarian diet can benefit your health and the environment. Reducing meat consumption can help conserve natural resources by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use.

Consuming more plant food will also increase the demand for more land to be devoted to growing fruit and vegetables for humans rather than fodder for livestock.

Disadvantages of Not Consuming Meat and Animal Products

Flexitarian and other plant-based diets can be very healthy when well planned. However, some people may experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies when they cut out meat and other animal products.

For example; Vitamin B12, zinc, iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids

Foods to Eat on the Flexitarian Diet

Foods that can be consumed regularly;

  • Proteins:soybeans, tofu, tempeh, lentils, legumes

  • Non-starchy vegetables:greens, bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, cauliflower

  • Starchy vegetables:winter squash, peas, corn, sweet potatoes

  • Fruits:apple, orange, strawberry, grape, cherry

  • Whole grains:quinoa, teff, buckwheat,

  • Nuts, seeds and other healthy fats:almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, peanut butter, avocado, olives, coconut

  • Plant-based milk alternatives:unsweetened almond, coconut, and soy milk

  • Herbs, spices and seasonings:basil, thyme, mint, thyme, cumin, ginger, turmeric

  • Condiments:reduced sodium soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, mustard, nutritional yeast, no added sugar ketchup

  • Beverages:mineral water, tea, coffee

When including animal products, choose the following whenever possible:

  • Eggs:roaming free

  • Poultry:organic, free-range or pasture-grown

  • The fish:freshly caught

  • Meat:grass-fed or pasture-raised

  • Dairy products:organic from grass-fed or pastured animals

Foods to Limit Consumption in the Flexitarian Diet

Foods to minimize include:

  • Processed meats:bacon, sausage

  • Refined carbohydrates:white bread, white rice, bagel, croissant

  • Added sugar and sweets:donut, cake, cookie, candy

  • Fast food:french fries, hamburger, chicken wings, milkshake

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