This diet is based mainly on plant-based ingredients, but does not exclude the occasional consumption of meat. It is definitely healthier than the most common way of eating, whose most important elements are of animal origin.
The term itself appeared already in the 90s, but did not gain wider acceptance. It was popularized only by an American nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner, who in 2008 published a book describing this diet in detail – The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life. In it, you’ll find recipes for tasty and nutritious meatless meals, calorie information for each ingredient, and ready-made diet plans.
Going back to the origin of the term – it was created on the basis of the English words flexible and vegetarian, which when translated means “flexible vegetarianism”. It can be used interchangeably with semivegetarianism.
Unlike vegetarianism, flexitarianism does not mean the complete exclusion of meat from the diet. Its basis is also vegetables and fruits, but occasional consumption of animal products is allowed. It does not involve too restrictive a rigor or rules – except that the basis of the meal is to be plants. “More vegetables, less meat” is the simplest definition, and the motto, of flexitarianism. What this “less” means is up to each individual to determine for themselves. If you are on such a diet, you can eat meat only once or twice a week, or give it up once or twice a week. This way you can adjust the diet to yourself and yourself to the diet.
The change of eating habits will not be sudden, but it will be easier and you will surely feel its positive effects. The transition to such a diet is gradual, many people also treat it as a transition stage on the way to vegetarianism or veganism. Flexitarianism is not expensive and is based on ingredients that are freely available. These include dairy, vegetables, fruits, natural sweeteners and spices, and whole grain products.
Most important, however, are peas, eggs, beans, nuts, lentils, chickpeas, seeds and tofu, which are eaten instead of meat. Add more and more vegetables and fruits to your meals for the first few weeks, and gradually reduce the addition of meat in the following weeks. Concentrate mainly on excluding red meat from your diet.
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If you cannot afford to buy meat from non-industrial farms and other products from local vendors every time, you can do it even once a week. The taste, nutritional value and health benefits will certainly reward you for this “extra” expense.
Meat production is a process that has a very negative impact on the environment. It is responsible for producing a large portion of greenhouse gases and carbon footprint. Therefore, it is advisable to limit your meat consumption also for ethical reasons. And don’t forget that by buying meat from verified sources, you are improving the conditions in which animals are raised for slaughter.
Reducing your meat intake and maintaining the right balance between meat and plants will help protect you from cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Reducing the amount of sodium and fat in your body will lead to lower blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels. It can also contribute to weight loss minus such side effects as yo-yo effect, malnutrition or worse mood. In turn, enriching your meals with pulses and limiting highly processed and refined products will protect you from lifestyle diseases