Ranked by U.S. News & World Report, The Flexitarian Diet placed third in the ‘Best Diet Overall’ and the ‘Best Diets for Diabetes’ category in the 2018 Best Diet Rankings. It also placed second in the ‘Plant-Based Diets’ and ‘Easiest Diets to Follow.’ With all of these high accolades in mind, consider whether you might benefit from the Flexitarian Diet. Learn how it works, and how it can help you achieve your health goals.
What is the Flexitarian Diet?
The term flexitarian came from the combination of two words, flexible and vegetarian. The diet encompasses both of these concepts, wherein followers consume a large quantity of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while still enjoying the occasional animal product. Overall, a follower’s goals should be to actively decrease their consumption of meat.
Founder Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, suggests that beginner participants should initially eat meat no more than five days a week. In total, you should have no more than 26 ounces combined during these days. Remember, as mentioned in our blog post about the Zone Diet, use the hand-eye method. A serving close to the size and thickness of your palm is around 4 ounces.
As you continue, this weekly allowance will decrease to three or four days of meals featuring meat. Do not exceed more than 18 ounces of meat a week during this advanced stage. Finally, as an expert, you will consume meat only two days a week, with a maximum of 9 ounces total. It is recommended that you proceed at your own pace, so that you may adjust to less quantities of meat, and new eating habits.
Approved Flexitarian Diet Items
What can you look forward to on this diet? Use the following list of approved foods to create your own Flexitarian Diet meal plan. If you have difficulty compiling your own, you can find Flexitarian Diet recipes online.
Whole grains: Quinoa, teff, farro, buckwheat
Healthy fats: Almonds, chia seeds, walnuts, cashews, peanut butter, avocados, olives, coconut, flaxseeds, pistachios
Fruits: Berries, grapes, cherries, oranges and apples
Vegetables: Bell peppers, peas, corn, sweet potato, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, greens
Proteins: Soybeans, tofu, tempeh, legumes, lentils
Plant-based alternatives: Unsweetened almond, coconut, hemp and soy milk
Herbs, spices and seasonings: Basil, oregano, mint, thyme, cumin, turmeric, ginger
Condiments: Reduced-sodium soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, salsa, mustard, nutritional yeast, ketchup without added sugar
Beverages: Water, some tea and coffee
Benefits of the Flexitarian Diet
For participants, following the comparatively simple Flexitarian food pyramid, is well worth the benefits. Largely plant-based diets have shown to improve heart health significantly, reducing a person’s risk of heart disease by 32%. This is likely to the increased intake of fiber and healthy fats, which reduce blood pressure and increase good cholesterol. For these same reasons, it may also help prevent or manage diabetes and decrease your risk of cancer.
Outside of your health, the Flexitarian Diet presents benefits for the environment as well. Studies have shown that the reduction of meat consumption will help sustain natural resources, as well as decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In turn, this will allow land to be used to feed humans, rather than the animals that feed us. So, not only can you feel better physically, but you will know you are contributing to something larger.
At Solutions Weight Loss, our team puts the “woo-hoo” back into weight loss. With the proper encouragement and support, you will discover that weight loss does not have to be a struggle. Contact us today to learn more about our program, and the success of our patients.