What Is The Flexitarian Diet? The Best Of All Worlds
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According to U.S.News & World Report, The Flexitarian Diet is the second easiest diet to follow and is tied for second for the best diet overall. That's great news, but what is The Flexitarian Diet?
As you know, if you eat a balanced, healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans and peas, and stay away from animal products and processed meats, you will tend to look and feel your best.
In addition, you'll experience the health benefits of reduced risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and more weight loss.
Furthermore, a vegetarian diet is a plant-based diet where the followers are not meat eaters and vegan diets where those followers don't eat meat, fish, dairy and eggs.
In other words, these folks eat more plant-based foods as opposed to being meat-eaters.
Not only not that, but there is also a wide range of versions of these diet lifestyles, including semi-vegetarian diets that mix and match food choices.
In this article, we'll explain what The Flexitarian Diet is and how you can eat more get the best of all food worlds.
Then, we'll show you how bone broth is an excellent superfood to add to your way of eating.
Well, let's get going!
The Flexitarian Diet Definition
The Flexitarian Diet was created in 2009 by registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner.
Dawn is a nutrition consultant for the Chicago Cubs, blogs on food and nutrition for Huffington Post and sits on the nutrition advisory board of Shape magazine.
In her book, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way To Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, And Add Years To Your Life, Dawn says the flexitarian way of eating allows you to add food groups to your diet rather than take any away.
In other words, rather than following a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, you can eat a plant-based diet most of the time and occasionally add in your favorite cuts of meat, fish or eggs.
What that means is you are able to get the nutritional benefits of these foods, without making them the focus of each meal.
So if you've been thinking about reducing your meat and poultry consumption, you can use these popular steps to transition into a more plant-based, vegan or vegetarian way of eating.
By the way, when you do have meat or fish, aim to have 3-5 ounces.
If you already a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, then simply adding in meat and fish here and there will allow you to get healthy nutritional benefits and diversify your food choices.
Flexitarian Diet Benefits
As we mentioned, The Flexitarian Diet marries the best of two food worlds--vegetarian/vegan and meat, fish and eggs.
For reference, this article mentions there is emerging information that The Flexitarian Diet can help you reduce body weight, improve overall metabolic health, keep blood pressure in check and reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
In addition, there may also be improvements in symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease for example.
Eating mostly plant-based foods with some meat or fish added 1-3 times a week may provide the following health and other benefits:
- Weight Loss
- Lessen the chance of heart disease
- Avoid diabetes
- Help prevent cancer
- Environmentally Friendly
Create a Flexitarian Meal Plan
As we mentioned, the bulk of the meals you'll eat on The Flexitarian Diet are plant-based.
However, the flexibility in the diet lets you choose to occasionally add fish, meat or eggs.
As always, we suggest you consult with a health-care provider before starting any new eating plan.
With any vegetarian, vegan or Flexitarian way of eating, it's important to consume important vitamins and minerals that may not be available on a plant-based diet.
For example, vegans or vegetarian eaters may be deficient in the following:
- B12 (only found in meat)
- Iron (best gained from animal sources)
- Zinc (best gained from animal sources)
- Omega-3 fatty acids
If you're interested in a free one-week flexitarian meal plan, click here.
Importantly, there are no calorie or general food restrictions (except for processed foods) on The Flexitarian Diet.
By following this diet, you can expect to consume 300 calories for breakfast, 400 for lunch, 500 for dinner and two 150-calorie snacks. Altogether, that's about 1500 calories per day by using The Flexitarian Diet.
Below are suggestions on what to eat and to avoid when using The Flexitarian Diet.
Foods to Eat
Foods to Avoid
Soybeans, legumes, lentils
Brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots
Peas, corn, sweet potato
Apples, oranges, berries
Almonds, flax seeds, walnuts, peanut butter, avocados, olives, coconut
Unsweetened almond, coconut milk
Reduced-sodium soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, salsa, mustard
Free-range, pasture-raised eggs
Organic, free-range or pasture-raised poultry
Grass-fed, pasture-raised meat
Organic from grass-fed or pastured animals
Bacon, sausage, bologna
White bread, white rice, bagels, croissants
Soda, donuts, cakes, cookies, candy
Fries, burgers, chicken nuggets, milkshakes
How Bone Broth Fits In
One superfood you can add to your Flexitarian Diet eating plan is high-quality bone broth.
Bone broth is generally low in calories, helps fill you up and is a satisfying way to get the benefits of collagen and crucial amino acids.
For more great recipes to follow The Flexitarian Diet, check out Mostly Plants: 101 Delicious Flexitarian Recipes from the Pollan Family.
You'll be able to get useful ideas for interesting, delicious mostly plant-based meals that will keep you and your family wanting more.
Back to bone broth, it contains collagen protein and the following vitamins, minerals and amino acids:
The minerals and vitamins in bone broth help keep your hair looking shiny and healthy, support strong bones and muscles, maintain a well-functioning gut, keep heart arteries open, provide restful sleep, smooth and soft skin and pain-free joints.
Along with these positive effects, many also have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
Don't miss our in-depth review and recommendation on the best bone broth available on the market today.
What is The Flexitarian Diet? It's a flexible way of eating that adds food choices that you can include in your eating plan rather than take some away.
The Flexitarian Diet starts off with a primarily plant-based diet, then occasionally adds in meat, fish and eggs.
In general, by eating less meat (and of course processed foods) you'll also help the environment, hopefully, lose weight, improve heart health and avoid diabetes.
A high-quality bone broth can also go a long way to add in the amino acids, collagen, minerals and vitamins that vegetarians and vegans may miss. It's low in calories, easy to buy, easy to consume, satisfying and delicious.
Overall, The Flexitarian Diet is THE way to get the best of all diet lifestyle choices.