Flexitarians, Vegans, and Plant-Based Diets
What is The Flexitarian Diet?
You may have heard the term flexitarian thrown around online or by friends, but just what is it? Being a flexitarian means that your diet focuses on plant-based foods and allows for both meat and animal products in moderation. The Flexitarian diet is much more flexible than a vegan or vegetarian diet, which makes it appealing to people who want to eat healthier but just aren’t convinced that they can make the complete change to a diet free of meat or animal products.
Flexitarian, Vegetarian, or Vegan?
Emphasizing plant-based foods for most of your meals allows flexitarians to get the health benefits of vegetarian and vegan living without making too many sacrifices. Not everyone can get used to the idea of saying good-bye to their favorite meals that include meat or animal products forever. With the flexitarian diet, you can have your cake and eat it too! Or, in this case, the occasional meaty indulgence. Plant-based diets like the vegan diet and the vegetarian diet can lower a person’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, making it a beneficial lifestyle choice for many. But rather than feeling down about craving a hotdog and beating yourself up about it, Flexitarian dieting gives people the freedom to reach for lean sources of meat and include them in their diets in moderation.
The vegetarian diet is different from a plant-based Flexitarian diet in that it:
- Excludes meat products, including poultry, fish, and shellfish. Many vegetarians still include dairy and eggs in their diet, unlike vegans. If you are plant-based but choose to include seafood or shellfish in your diet, this is considered a Pescatarian diet.
Veganism is another plant-based diet that sets itself apart from Flexitarians in that it:
- Excludes all meat products as well as all animal-derived products such as honey, dairy, gelatin, and eggs. You can read more about honey and the vegan diet in our blog, “Is Honey Vegan?”
Is The Flexitarian Diet Healthy?
The Flexitarian diet is a forgiving plan that’s easy to follow thanks to how, well, flexible it is! In 2017 a review of flexitarian based literature found that Flexitarian diets provided real results, and those who followed this mostly plant-based diet plan had lower body weight and well as lowered risk for type-II diabetes and metabolic disease.
Not only that, but you can also ease yourself into the diet with different levels of meat indulgence in your diet. Are you a big-time meat lover and trying to cut down for health reasons? Try making seven of your weekly meals meatless. There are about 21 meals in a week, leaving you plenty of room to start finding meatless recipes that you enjoy. Once you get comfortable with your change, you can try moving up to 14 meatless meals a week. This may seem like a lot, but this still allows you to indulge in a turkey sandwich, burger, or sushi lunch for one meal a day. You can also get into more advanced levels of the Flexitarian diet by only including meat in your meals six times or less a week. Save your meaty meals for special occasions like holidays with your family or when you’re out traveling.
The Flexitarian diet focuses on healthy and nutritious plant-based eating, but also allows dieters to be more forgiving with themselves and feel okay about craving and indulging in meat now and again.
At PlantX we welcome eaters of all types, whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, or still a meat-eater trying out new healthy recipes, we want to help you get excited about plant-based eating. Check out our PlantX recipe section to try out fresh and delicious plant-based meals today.