What Is Flexitarian?

The term flexitarian appeared in American English in about 2002 and was named the ‘Most Useful Word of the Year’ by the American Dialect Society in 2003. A flexitarian is basically a vegetarian who sometimes eats meat.

The Flexitarian Diet Explained

It can be really difficult to maintain a vegetarian diet. Many vegetarians have trouble getting all of their protein from vegetable sources like tofu and nuts. Others find it difficult to resist occasional cravings for meat, and still others feel it’s more polite to eat meat when it’s served to them at another’s home. Eating a flexitarian diet can also be a great option for those who find that vegetarian meals aren’t always available, for instance in restaurants.

There’s no strict limit on how often flexitarians eat meat. Most flexitarians eat meat on special occasions, when they have a hankering for it, or when there are no vegetarian options available. The key to eating a flexitarian diet is proportion. The greater part of your diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, legumes, nuts and whole grains; you should eat meat sparingly.

Doctors, nutritionists and dieticians have been recommending that their patients follow a flexitarian diet for years, since a diet that consists of about 90% vegetables, fruits and dairy and only about 10% meat is closer to the diet that primitive humans ate thousands of years ago. A modern diet containing large amounts of fatty meats damages your health because humans evolved to benefit the most from a mostly vegetarian diet.

Who Becomes Flexitarian and Why

Flexitarian is a popular alternative for those who can’t follow strict vegetarian diets. A vegetarian diet can be difficult to maintain, especially when vegetarian options aren’t available. Many vegetarians also struggle with meat cravings. 

Flexitarians care about preserving their health and don’t want to eat too much meat because it’s unhealthy. They also often care about the environment and don’t want to eat a lot of meat because of the strain that raising animals for consumption places on the Earth’s natural resources. Others object to the cruelty against animals rampant in the agricultural industry. For these reasons, flexitarians try to eat only free range organic meats and dairy.

Benefits of Flexitarianism

Flexitarians, like vegetarians, are on average thinner than their counterparts who eat meat heavily, so flexitarianism is a great option for those seeking a weight loss diet. Flexitarianism can help you maintain a healthy weight more easily, and avoid the many serious ailments that can occur as a result of being overweight or obese. Flexitarianism also reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure.

Becoming Flexitarian

To become a flexitarian, minimize your meat consumption. There are no set rules about how much meat you can eat as a flexitarian, but most flexitarians try to eat meat no more than two or three times a week. Eat meat if you’re forced to by circumstance or if you’d like to indulge yourself. Otherwise, stick to vegetarian fare. 

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