About Flexitarian Diet
Flexitarian is a combination of two words i.e. flexible and vegetarian. Flexitarian diet is about adding new foods to your diet as opposed to excluding any which can be extremely beneficial for health. It highlights an increases intake of plant-based meals without completely eliminating meat. This plant-based food includes beans, peas, nuts, seeds, lentils, etc. Soluble fiber is found in lentils and beans that help to reduce high cholesterol as part of a healthy diet. Some seeds and nuts such as pine nuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, sesame seeds, linseed (flaxseed) help in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and provide essential fatty acids to your body.
It is shown from research that practicing a flexitarian diet in conjunction with physical activity that can promote the lifestyle with recommendations for reducing risks of diseases like breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc. Flexitarian diet refers to a diet that is a mostly vegetarian and plant-based product that is flexible in nature. Vegetarians restrict meat, egg, dairy and sometimes other animal foods for losing weight.
There no rules and regulations for calories and macronutrients. It is based on the following principles.
a) Use limited sugar and sweets.
b) Mainly you should focus on the protein which comes from plants and animals.
c) Make sure that eat the least processed meat and animal products time to time.
d) If you are maintaining a proper diet, you should mostly eat green vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and legumes.
e) Take incorporate meat and animal products time to time.
However, your ultimate aim is to eat more and more amounts of nutrient-rich plant foods and less meat.
How does the Flexitarian Diet work?
To become a flexitarian, you have to add five food groups to your diet. There are some non-proteins (like beans, eggs, and peas), whole grains, veggies, fruits, dairy and sugar, and spice. It is shown from research that vegetarians tend to weigh less than the non-vegetarian people. Plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables are generally rich in nutrition and low in calories. These foods are more important for a heart-healthy diet. Become a vegetarian, it doesn’t mean that you lose your weight. But adding more amount of plant-based food in your diet can help you to maintain your health in various ways.
Follow the points given below;
a) First of all, you have to make a plan for a five-week meal that provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as some snack recipes. You have to follow the plan as it is and swap the items or recipes from different weeks to meet your preferences.
b) It is a plan that includes breakfast choices that are around 300 calories, 400 for lunch and 500 for dinner. And snacks are about 150 calories each. Adding all these, the total amount of diet is 1500 calories.
c) Depending on your daily work or the activity level, height, weight, you can tweak the plan to allow for slightly greater or fewer calories.
d) Follow this particular rule or plan for five weeks or take it slowly test many recipes every once in a while.
What to eat?
There is some compliant food like eggs, plant-based proteins, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat (in moderation), oils, herbs, and spices that you have to eat in your daily diet. There are also some non-compliant foods like added sugar (in excess), meat (in excess), refined carbohydrates (in excess) that you have to avoid.
Apart from all the protein-rich plants, flexitarians can also eat eggs. Eggs are the ultimate way to add additional proteins to your diet.
When you want to eliminate meat from your diet, you can add more vegetarian meals to your diet. Mix those with plant-based proteins like beans, tofu, nuts, seeds, and lentils.
2. Whole grains
Although Whole grains give nutrients and fiber, they are not as much as necessary for the diet. Generally, it involves brown rice and oatmeal. Also you have to add in ancient grains like millet, amaranth, and quinoa.
Vegetables play a vital role in the flexitarian diet. Intake more amount of vegetables by making different recipes with new cooking techniques or by creatively using vegetables.
It offers sweetness along with many nutrients. Try to create new desserts with your favorite fruits, like a baked apple with cinnamon, or frozen banana dipped in dark chocolate.
Dairy helps in strengthening bones by producing calcium and vitamin D in your body. Here, you can add cheese, kefir, milk, or some dairy-alternatives on your plan.
6. Meat (in moderation)
A moderate amount of meat is considered a flexitarian diet. But you will have to cut down the total consumption. The weekly amount of meat based on your personal preferences. And it is recommended that you can take two meatless days per week. Some people also recommend alternatives to full meatless days that eat plant-based breakfasts and lunches but you can enjoy your dinner with a small portion of meat.
7. Oil, herbs, and spices
By using different oils aromatic spices, and flavorful herbs, you can make many things in the kitchen. It helps to add flavor to your food in a nutritious way.
8. Added Sugar (In excess)
Similar to healthy diets, you can minimize the added sugar intake if you are maintaining a flexitarian diet.
9. Meat (In excess)
Maintaining a flexitarian diet means to encourage more amounts of vegetarian meals. Here is the best way to determine if you are being compliant is to analyze whether you’re actively trying to add more vegetarian meals each week.
10. Refined Carbohydrates (in excess)
While a refined carbohydrate is fine, this plan recommends sticking with whole grains.
Advantages of the Flexitarian diet
There are so many advantages of a flexitarian diet available in our daily life. And some of them are explained below;
To maintain a flexitarian diet, you need not require a costly meal or special recipes. You can also choose your meals which are affordable to your pocket.
It is suggested from some studies that semi-vegetarian diets are related to lower body weight. From a clinical study in 2015, it is recommended that menopausal women who followed a semi-vegetarian diet had lower body weight, BMI, and body fat percentage compared to vegetarian women.
Plant-based foods control the total intake of animal-based foods. Since all the foods fit into this diet, it is easy to build meals around foods.
Reduced risk of Diabetes
Maintaining a flexitarian diet may help to reduce the risk of having diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolism, nutrition, etc. It is found that a semi-vegetarian diet was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to non-vegetarians. Similarly, semi-vegetarian women had lower serum levels of glucose and insulin.