Updated: Sep 8, 2018
Yes, it's a real term and a flexitarian lifestyle is a great way to manage weight, boost energy and immunity.
What is it? Living a flexitarian lifestyle simply means having flexibility in your diet. This is a high plant-based/ whole-food lifestyle that allows for other foods you may be accustomed to like meat, dairy, grains, fats and oils in moderation. Check out the vegetable ratio to other food groups below.
Flexitarian Food Pyramid
WHY I BECAME A FLEXITARIAN Hi, this Honey from bubbyandhoneysbuzz.com and I am going to share why I tweaked the way I eat a few years ago. The majority of my life I held a high metabolism that allowed me to avoid being overweight. But this fostered a horrible diet that was loaded with sugar and void of healthy nutrients. Instead of gaining weight over time I gained health ailments, chronic fatigue, dry skin and a fragile immune system. I noticed my health in decline and feared although I looked good on the outside the my internal well-being would result in a poor quality of life. I started conducting research and learned the benefits of healthy eating.
MY FLEXIBILITY This way of eating has lots of flexibility that makes it appealing and keeps it simple. You can be as flexible as you want by adding more vegetables to each meal. With some meals I only eat meat once or twice a day in moderation. I often enjoy a day or two eating strictly vegan or vegetarian before having meat again. When I exclude meat, I eat other protein rich foods.
I enjoy experimenting by adding quinoa, couscous, brown rice, lentils and tofu to veggie dishes. I still eat whole grain breads, hot cereals and my new favorite cooked sushi. Fresh nuts, fruit and veggie snacks have replaced pastries, cookies and cakes. I do admit, I still enjoy sweets on occasion. I prefer to make my own banana, zucchini, blueberry or carrot muffins utilizing wheat, spelt or coconut flour, coconut sugar and honey.
I personally avoid dairy and I incorporate non-dairy every day. During the week I blend smoothies and drink my fruits and veggies for breakfast. I often drink smoothies for dinner as well. I utilize frozen fruit instead of ice and sometimes buy organic fruit and freeze it myself.
Typical Breakfast or Dinner Smoothie: Frozen fruit: blueberries, strawberries, peaches, mango & blackberries (2-4 servings) Fresh banana, spinach or kaleDairy tofu desert or plant-based protein powder Coconut water Carrot juice Almond milk On weekends when I eat meat for breakfast and lunch I have my smoothie for dinner to help aid digestion. I view this as a lifestyle and not a diet and it is best accompanied by increased water consumption.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to help reduce your risk of developing many leading illnesses that currently plaque society. To decrease your chance of becoming a statistic, this diet adds important nutrients and help with weight control. Plant-based diets are high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, phytonutrients and micro/ macro-nutrients which our bodies need for healthy immune function, cellular growth and repair. Staying healthy can be a challenge if factors exist that increase health risks. These factors may be unmanageable making it important to control what we can through our diet. Flexing is simple since it includes meat and other foods.
With this lifestyle I have enjoyed increased energy, improved health and now that my metabolism has slowed down automatic weight management . An added benefit has been finding and visiting farmers markets and enhancing my meal design creativity. The hubby now drinks smoothies and eats better. He refers to my flexitarian lifestyle as a "Cheating Vegetarian."
RESOURCES Article: Center for Disease Control , Put Your Best Fork forward https://www.cdc.gov/features/nutritionmonth/index.html Article: Nurtition.Govhttps://www.nutrition.gov/subject/smart-nutrition-101/healthy-eating Book The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life by McGraw-Hill Education Book The Flexitarian Table: Inspired, Flexible Meals for Vegetarians, Meat Lovers, and Everyone in Between by Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt