What does it mean to be a Flexitarian?
Ewan suggested I focus this week's blog on what it means to be a flexitarian. Assuming that because I have stopped eating chicken, and only eat red meat on occasion, he's wanting more information. Wouldn't it be easier to chat about this over dinner than to communicate via blog? I can take a hint!
So Ewan, the word flexitarian has been around for roughly 2 decades. It means to follow a plant-based eating plan while including some animal products occasionally. People who are interested in this diet tend to be concerned with a more sustainable lifestyle (i.e. managing their carbon footprint) while benefiting from the advantages following vegetarian tendencies. There is a greater awareness about the decreased risk of coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, and most cancers associated with eating a plant-based diet. Living longer while staying free from chronic illness is a major driver of choosing a flexitarian diet.
Tom Hunt is an eco chef, food author and co-founder of Poco, a seasonal tapas restaurant in England. He has a following of flexitarians who are seeking more ethical choices and an improved way to live their lives. He suggests that through reducing food waste and consuming smaller portions of high quality foods with meat only once per week. He was featured in the Metro yesterday as he is championing a program called One Planet Plate Dish which helps consumers find and cook affordable, sustainable, and tasty meals. He endorses using lots of fresh herbs and spices to enhance the flavour of veggies. Another one of his tips is to replace 1/2 the meat in a recipe with plant based foods like mushrooms for a similar texture but extra ethics. I'm on board with that!
Eliminating whole food groups from ones diet has a tendency to set them up for failure- especially when it comes to weight loss. Research shows that people have greater success when simply reducing high-risk foods (processed, fried, or rich in saturated fats) while increasing beneficial foods (nutrient dense, fresh, smartly prepared). That's why a flexitarian plan is a wise choice for those who enjoy red meat but have the desire to take care of not only themselves and their family but the environment as well.
I cannot say that I believe that this diet pattern is more advantageous that a pescatarian plan, but it does tick all the boxes for those who'd like to evolve from a diet which includes meat daily.
When planned correctly, the mostly plant-based diet is tremendously healthy. A well-rounded diet of this type can provide enough of all macronutrients and micronutrients. As with most life style changes, proper guidance and consistent monitoring are essential. Contact me if you're ready to make lasting changes.