Looking to curb your meat consumption, but not ready to give up the mouth-watering goodness of burgers for good? Then, a flexitarian diet might be for you. When it comes to meat, we often look at our dietary choices as black and white: either you eat meat, or you are vegetarian.
The stark line between meat eaters and vegetarians probably stems from the fact that many vegetarians were motivated to stop eating meat due to animal cruelty or unsustainable farming practices. However, there are more reasons to curb your meat intake than that.
Red meat has lots of fat that can cause higher cholesterol, clogged arteries, and weight gain if not consumed in moderation. The same goes for pork, particularly fatty cuts like bacon. Certain meat products may be infused with growth hormones due to the medications given to animals farmed for meat.
In short, there are tangible health benefits to cutting back on meat intake. However, meat has good qualities too. After all, it’s a rich source of protein, iron, and essential vitamins like B12.
A flexitarian diet allows you to have the best of both worlds. If you’re interested in exploring a flexitarian diet, keep reading.
What is The Flexitarian Diet?
The flexitarian diet focuses on the moderation of meat consumption combined with working on different sources of nutrition, including legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
Originally created by a dietician named Dawn Jackson Blatner, the flexitarian diet was developed to show people the positive benefits of a plant-based diet without forcing them to forgo meat altogether.
The basic premise of following a flexitarian diet is below:
- Most of the diet should be made up of grains, fruits, veggies, and legumes.
- Focus on plant-based protein, such as beans, spinach, or tofu – as opposed to meat.
- Allow for flexibility to incorporate animal products when you want to (in moderation).
- Choose the least processed food source whenever possible.
- Limit added sugars and sweets.
Generally, the flexitarian diet is a well-rounded diet that focuses on moving away from meat, artificial ingredients, and sugar. This diet plan is healthy for almost anyone.
The flexitarian diet is great for those looking to dabble into vegetarianism without going full throttle. It’s also great for those looking to explore other protein sources outside of meats, which can be fatty and costly.
In short, the flexitarian diet offers a way to reframe what a healthy diet is and curb the overconsumption of meat.