The term Flexitarian has actually been in circulation since the early 1990’s, but has recently become a worldwide movement of people dedicated to getting healthy, eating in a more humane fashion, but still being able to give into their cravings when they need to without the added guilt trip. What is a Flexitarian you ask? Well, one way to look at it is to say that a Flexitarian is a flexible vegetarian. By this I mean, a person who makes a conscious effort to consume less meat without the need to give it up altogether. The movement has grown so rapidly in fact, that Registered Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner has dedicated a book and an entire website to educating people on this movement.
It is estimated that about 30-40% of the population is currently Flexitarian, and doctors everywhere are in favor of this movement. Studies have shown that not only does the average Flexitarian weigh about 15% less than the average frequent meat eater; they also have a much lower risk of developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Now before you go jumping for joy and ordering an extra large meatless pizza swearing you’re on a new health kick, know that there’s more to the diet than just limiting meat. The Flexitarian Diet is a way of limiting foods like meat, eggs and dairy in favor of healthier options such as fresh vegetables, fruit, tofu and nuts. The diet still focuses on healthier options and cautions against the world of fast food.
While the Flexitarian Diet is meant to help walk individuals into the world of vegetarianism, no one is expected to give up meat cold turkey (no pun intended!) A beginner Flexitarian will be advised to incorporate two meatless days a week into their diet. Next is the advanced phase where three to four meatless days are advised. Finally, once you’ve cured your carnivorous cravings, expert flexitarians are asked to shoot for five meatless days per week. Every meal is an option; if a Flexitarian feels that he or she needs to eat meat, eggs or dairy that day, they may do so.
The diet simply offers guidelines and suggestions for individuals to make healthier, meatless choices. While it may seem like an impossible task to switch to vegetables and whole grains, Blatner’s countless meal options and scrumptious recipes such as Avocado and Black Bean Wraps and Chocolate Mouse with Raspberries makes saying goodbye to your nightly grilled chicken or ground beef, a much easier and enjoyable change.
For more information on the Flexitarian Diet, visit Flexitarian Diet