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Flexitarian Diet: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

  • 5 min read

by Matt Weik

Are you looking to revamp your diet plan in a way that does not involve any strict rules or counting the number of calories involved on a daily basis? Then, it may be time to switch over to a Flexitarian diet.

A “flex” what? If you just said that out loud, you’re not alone. Many people have never heard of a Flexitarian diet, which is what prompted me to write this article in the first place.

With the ineffectiveness of other diets these days, the Flexitarian diet is gaining huge popularity among health-conscious individuals. Now, is this the end all be all of the diets out there? No. I want to be clear, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to weight loss and diets. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. The key is understanding the diets, trying them, and seeing what works best for YOU.

Let’s dig in and find out what a Flexitarian diet is all about and the benefit it offers.

What is a Flexitarian Diet?

A Flexitarian diet is a combination of two words — “flexible” and “vegetarian.” The Flexitarian diet was created by Dawn Jackson Blatner, a dietician, to help people enjoy the benefits of a vegetarian diet while enjoying animal products within a limit.

In short, a Flexitarian diet is a style of eating that encourages the consumption of plant-based food and allows animal-based food in moderation. A Flexitarian diet is more of a lifestyle change that can help you to improve your overall health, boost energy, and prevent diseases.

It is more flexible than vegan and vegetarian diets. But note that flexitarians are not vegans or vegetarians as they can eat all animal-derived food items. So, if you love meat but want to add more plant-based food to your diet, a Flexitarian diet could be exactly what you’re looking for.

A Flexitarian diet is based on the following principles:

  • Focus more on including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the diet.
  • Include more plant-based protein sources as compared to animal-based protein.
  • Incorporate the animal-based food items or meat in moderation.
  • Eat more natural food products and less processed food items, sugar, and sweets.

This balance between animal-based and plant-based food is what sets apart the Flexitarian diet, as the other diets tend to eliminate entire groups, which, in turn, can lead to a deficiency of vitamins and minerals.

A Flexitarian diet can also be called a “semi-vegetarian” diet as it focuses less on meat or animal-based products and more on plant-based products.

 The Benefits of a Flexitarian Diet

 As per studies, following a Flexitarian diet helps to improve overall health. The vegan and vegetarian diet may help in understanding the benefits that a semi-vegetarian diet may offer.

1.      Promote Heart Health

The Flexitarian diet is rich in fiber and healthy fats, which helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases. It is because plant-based items help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol level.

A study on people following a vegetarian, flexitarian, and pescatarian diet show low BMI, cholesterol level, and blood pressure compared to those eating meat.

2.      Support Weight Loss

The Flexitarian diet helps to manage weight as it limits the consumption of high calories and processed food and promotes plant-based food. Studies show that people who follow a plant-based diet lose more weight as compared to people who don’t.

Though the primary goal of a Flexitarian diet is not weight loss but promoting nutrient-dense food intake, it can aid in the weight loss journey.

3.      May Prevent Diabetes

Plant-based diets help to prevent and manage Type-2 diabetes. It is primarily because it promotes high-fiber foods and limits added sugar.

As per a study, participants who followed a diet that emphasized on plant-based foods and were low in animal-based foods showed a 20% reduced risk of diabetes.

4.      Can Reduce the Risk of Cancer

A diet high in plant-based food and low in processed food is associated with a reduced risk of cancer. As per a study on colorectal cancer, people who follow a semi-vegetarian diet are 8% less likely to get this type of cancer as compared to people who follow a non-vegetarian diet.

The Downside of the Flexitarian Diet

Though a Flexitarian diet is very healthy, some people can be at risk of nutrient deficiency when they cut back on the animal products they are used to consuming. As per studies, the possible nutrient deficiency that may occur include vitamin B12, zinc, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

The Flexitarian diet gives you more flexibility in terms of your food choices. Even so, you still need to make sure you plan your diet accordingly to avoid the risk of any sort of nutrient deficiencies.

Thinking About Implementing This Diet?

Less meat, more plants, perfectly sum up a Flexitarian diet. Well, now you may agree that a healthy diet need not be restrictive. You’re essentially getting the best of both worlds without completely eliminating certain types of food from your nutrition plan.

A Flexitarian diet is a new and innovative way to achieve your health and fitness-related goals without sacrificing your favorite dish just because of calories or contents. After all, who wants to give up on their favorite food, right? And a Flexitarian diet takes care of it. You can simply follow your diet and also enjoy your occasional burger.

Ready to take a step to a healthier life? Switch to a Flexitarian diet today and try it out for yourself.