Most diets and eating styles mean giving up certain food groups. In the case of flexitarianism, things are quite different. What should you know about this extremely flexible diet?
What is the Flexitarian Diet?
The word Flexitarianism comes from the English word “flexible”, which means flexibility. Unlike other diets, it is not a way of eating based on eliminating specific food groups, or permanently excluding them from the diet. Flexitarians are people who limit their intake of meat and fish, but at the same time allow themselves to eat them occasionally. In this way, they provide the body with the nutrients it needs while also taking care of weight loss. This is not as popular a diet as veganism. However, it is worth looking at the principles on which flexitarianism is based
The basic principle of the flexitarian diet
The flexitarian diet encourages you not to be vegetarian or vegan all the time. It is a good idea to reach for meat every now and then. This includes both white meat and fish. What’s more, the emphasis is on being flexible about how often and how much meat you eat. The basis of the diet is to balance it in such a way as to provide the body with all the necessary nutrients. On a Flexitarian diet, meat can be eaten up to 2-3 times a week, although it is advisable to eat white meat more often than red.
How is flexitarianism different from veganism?
Flexitarianism is not a variation of vegetarianism. First of all, it is not a deliberate renunciation of meat consumption. Flexitarianism is closer to semivegetarianism, which involves excluding red meat and replacing it only with poultry and fish. In contrast to semivegetarianism, flexitarianism encourages the creation of a specific menu that includes products from specific food groups that are, among other things, a substitute for animal protein. It should be noted that a flexitarian can be someone who only goes meat-free once a week, but who tries to limit his or her daily meat consumption.
Five groups of flexitarianism
The flexitarian diet is referred to as an intrameat diet because it allows the consumption of meat. The diet itself emphasizes the need to increase the consumption of legumes. There is even a detailed menu that should accompany flexitarians. Five food groups are listed here:
- “new meat”, as well as legumes – among them are non-meat protein, chickpeas, lentils, broad beans, peas or tofu;
- whole grain products;
- fruits and vegetables;
- dairy products;
- spices, and natural sweeteners.
While it is acceptable to consume sugar, it is recommended to avoid sweets and fast food. Flexitarians are encouraged to eat nuts, plants rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and fat-free processed meats. Flexitarians should follow the rule, “More vegetables, less meat,” although less does not mean none.
Advantages of Flexitarianism
Flexitarianism has several advantages that make it a great option for people who want to limit their consumption of animal products and meat. Flexitarianism:
- provides essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, a deficiency of which is seen in vegan diets;
- reduces the risk of heart disease;
- reduces the risk of developing type two diabetes;
- reduces the risk of certain cancers, which include colon cancer;
- lowers cholesterol levels;
- reduces the calorie content of meals.