Ok…wait…what exactly is a flexitarian diet? I have friends that are pescatarians, vegetarians, keto(tarians), omnivores, paleo(arians?), vegans, carnivores, (yes, they only eat meat), my husband is a pollotarian :), and then there is the flexitarian. Which I like to think of as myself. I am sure there are more labels out there that I am missing, but we do not have all day.
So many titles, but what is the best one? In this post I will touch on the flexitarian because it is what I am learning to become, and the more I research the more I see I am not the only one.
Flexitarian Diet – The Semi Vegetarian
A flexitarian is a person whose diet is mostly plant-based but sometimes includes meat, fish, or poultry. Flexible + Vegetarian = Flexitarian, or The Casual Vegetarian. It is intended on improving your health, as well as, reducing your carbon footprint. Win, win? It seems the world thinks so.
In the 2019 Best Diet Rankings by U.S. News & World Report, the Flexitarian Diet was ranked:
- Third in the Best Diets Overall category, in terms of long-term health and disease prevention
- Second in Best Diets for Diabetes.
- Second in the Best Plant-Based Diets (second to the Mediterranean diet).
- Second in the Easiest Diets to Follow
Why Choose a Flexitarian Diet?
A person would choose a flexitarian diet for several reasons. I broke it down into three:
1. Religious Beliefs
Just yesterday I helped out with a vegan cooking class held at a local Seventh Day Adventist Church. In case you didn’t know…this religion views health as the center of their faith and a little town in California, Loma Linda, (where this religion originated), is famous for being in The Blue Zone. The cooking class speaker announced she was a flexitarian, because even though she mostly practices a vegan lifestyle, she occasionally will eat meat. So religion might be your reason for being a flexitarian.
2. Health Reasons
If you have read the books “The China Study” or “How Not To Die”, their studies have shown that most diet related diseases can be avoided by what you choose to eat. No meat, of course. For me, growing up in the Midwest, means some sort of meat always headlined our dinner plate, it was served with a glass of milk and vegetables an after thought. So being a complete vegan has been challenging for me. I do love a good hamburger.
Which led me to the books, “In Defense of Food” and “Omnivore’s Dilemma”, both written by Michael Pollan. Where he is famous for the phrase, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Which is ultimately what I choose. I figure, we need animals, (i.e. manure), to fertilize plants. Right? So I eat roughly about 75% plant based, 15% animal protein, and 10% whole grains. Another way to put it is 5 days of eating no meat, and two days just a small portion
Lastly, a person may choose the flexitarian diet because of our environment. We grow crops to feed animals, which requires land, water, fossil fuels, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer. To produce meat, we create toxins that pollute our waters. Also, according to Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food at the University of Oxford, “The production of animal products generates the majority of food-related greenhouse-gas emissions,”
So basically, if we all ate less meat the overall, pollution to our environment and the production of greenhouse gases may be reduced. This theory is growing in popularity amongst our peers and through out the world.
Give The Flexitarian Diet A Try
Let’s do this! Why not try the flexitarian diet? When it comes down to it, knowing how meat is produced is gross. If you are unsure of what I am talking about please read Omnivore’s Dilemma. When we reduced the amount of meat in our diets, it will allow us to choose a better quality like pasteur raised. It also gives more room on our plate for vegetables, fruits and whole grains which has been scientifically proven to be healthier for us. I’m in, if you’re in!
Check out a few of our other posts that highlight eating plants instead of meat.