Have you ever wanted to go vegan or vegetarian but found yourself struggling to go all the way? The flexitarian diet may be able to help. Recognized as one of the healthiest diets to follow by U.S News & World Report, the flexitarian diet is a hybrid eating style that’s gaining popularity and helping people live healthier, happier lives. Read on to find out if it’s right for you!
What is the Flexitarian Diet?
Flexitarian is less of a true diet and more of an eating philosophy. A combination of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian”, being flexitarian means eating primarily whole, plant-based foods, while still enjoying occasional meat and dairy products. There are no hard and fast rules, but flexitarians eat mainly fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. They also strive to get most of their protein from plant-based sources.
Benefits of a Flexitarian Diet
Since flexitarians eat mostly plant-based foods, they get many of the benefits of veganism. Among these are consuming less calories, getting more fiber, aiding in weight loss, and reducing your risk for cancer and heart disease. But because flexitarians are not exclusively vegan, it can be a little easier for them to get important nutrients like vitamin B-12 and calcium, which are found mostly in animal products such as salmon, eggs, and milk.
Health benefits aside, eating less meat and dairy is also better for the environment as it takes up less land and water while reducing carbon emissions. Additionally, you may find eating flexitarian is more affordable than having meat every day.
Giving yourself the flexibility to eat meat occasionally can save you the stress of trying to be a perfect vegan or vegetarian while still reaping most of the rewards of a plant-based diet. Flexitarianism can also relieve some social tension; you can eat more plant-based on your own but still enjoy favorite foods with friends and family. That way, if you’re visiting your grandmother for Sunday dinner, you don’t have to turn down her famous meatloaf. It’s the best of both worlds!
How to Incorporate a Flexitarian Diet
With the flexitarian diet, there’s no specific amount of meat and dairy you should or shouldn’t eat, so long as you’re eating primarily plant-based products. Since the word “flexible” is right in there, it’s all about finding eating habits that work for you. You can set rules for yourself. For example, maybe breakfast and lunch every day is vegan or vegetarian and you have some meat for dinner. Another good trick is to eat vegetarian at home or during the week and allowing yourself to indulge in some of your favorite meat dishes on the weekends or when you eat out.
Eating Flexitarian with Zero Doubt Club If you think eating a flexitarian diet may be a good fit for you, our Zero Doubt Club meals can get you there! Each menu item is available vegan or with animal products, which means you can have a delicious combination of vegan and non-vegan meals to enjoy during the week. The vegan options are loaded with fruits and vegetables and always include a healthy, wholesome source of protein like beans, lentils, quinoa, tempeh, tofu, or brown rice.
-Jared Kent, Chef Zero Doubt Club