Do you know what a flexitarian is? You might think it’s someone who likes to flex their muscles a lot in the mirror, or you might think it’s someone who is very flexible. But according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it’s someone who occasionally eats meat.
The diet concept became popular after Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, published her book “The Flexitarian Diet” in 2008. Blatner said she created the concept to help people get over their guilt when eating meat or being the odd ball out at the family barbecue.
So if going straight vegan is a struggle for you then take the stress off yourself and try to reduce the amount of meat in your diet from seven days a week, to five then three then one day. The goal as a flexible vegetarian is to focus more on incorporating whole foods and vegetables in your diet.
While there’s not enough data to suggest the benefits of a flexitarian diet, in 2017 the National Institute of Health said there was emerging evidence suggesting this diet lifestyle could benefit lower body weight, have improved markers of metabolic health, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Flexitarian diets also may have a role to play in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease.
But being flexible doesn’t mean you have a free pass to eat:
- Processed meat: Sausages, bacon, salami, ham, hot dogs
- Fast food: Burgers, fries, milkshakes, fried chicken, pizza
- Refined carbs: Whtie bread, white rice, pasta, pastries, instant oatmeal
- Added sugar: Candy, donuts, cookies, soda, cakes (only if its Southern Roots!)
Tips to get started:
- Reduce meat portions - Try to make 25 percent of your plate meat or poultry, 25 percent whole grains and the remaining half as fruits and veggies.
- Replace meat - Many dishes that you add meat can be easily turned into a vegetarian meal by swapping out the meat for beans, chickpeas or a meat substitute.
- Learn new vegetarian recipes - The internet is plentiful with easy-to-cook vegetarian meals for beginners to foodies. There are no excuses now when you can plug in your ingredients and the net will spit out a meal for you. If only it cooked it for you!
And remember when you want to flex your sweet tooth and don’t feel like making healthy cookies, order some of our crisp and chewy vegan chocolate chip cookies. Shipping is free! To learn more about the flexitarian concept, visit Dawn Jackson Blatner’s website.