Yes, it's a real term and a flexitarian lifestyle is a great way to manage weight, boost energy and immunity. Updated: Benefits & reference on 6/30/2022
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 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: 2-4 serving each of either blueberries, strawberries, peaches, mango's, blackberries, fresh banana. I also include 1-3 serving of spinach, kale, dairy-tofu desert, plant-based protein powder, coconut water, carrot juice, or almond milk.
On weekends I often eat meat for breakfast or lunch. For dinner I'll have a smoothie 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 exists that increase health risks, this makes it is important to control what we can through our diet. Flexing at its best includes cage-free eggs, organic whole foods and range-free meat. When it comes to animal products, factors such as saturated fat and cholesterol are not our only concern. I have found that scientist are beginning to study the affects of eating stressed animal meat due to inhumane farming practices. Additionally, mass-produced meat could potentially floods our bodies with unnecessary antibiotics that could cause resistance in the treatment of harmful bacteria. These concerns are among many related to producing animal products in mass. To learn more about hazards that are associated with mass factory farming please be sure to read "What is Factory Farming, Everything You Need To Know".
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 creatively enhancing my meal design. An added benefit is that my husband now drinks smoothies and eats better as well! My husband states that my flexitarian lifestyle is the equivalent to being a "cheating vegetarian". Possibly, but it has great benefits and reduces my carbon blueprint.
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
Article: https://www.ecowatch.com/what-is-factory-farming.html, EcoWatch.com, by Rosane,O. 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