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spring saladDid you know Americans consume more meat than anyone else in the world? While red meat does have some benefits, it’s consumption can also lead to serious health complications. If you’re not willing to give up steak and burgers but want to decrease the amount of meat you eat, consider the flexitarian diet. Created by Dawn Jackson Blatner, this eating plan is mostly plant-based with meat and other animal products in moderation.

How to Be a Flexitarian

Being flexitarian is a lifestyle, rather than a regime. This flexible “diet” allows you to eat healthier without strict rules and limitations. You can continue to eat meat, eggs, dairy and other food products derived from animals, while reaping the benefits of a plant-based diet.

To start, Jackson-Blatner recommends forgoing meat for two days and splitting 26 ounces of meat over the remaining five days. As your body becomes used to the change, continue to reduce this amount. By decreasing meat and increasing plant consumption, the goal is to also avoid sugar and salt from processed foods.

What can you eat on the flexitarian diet?

  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Legumes
  • Cruciferous veggies
  • Greens
  • Berries
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

In moderation, you can incorporate eggs, free-range poultry, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat and organic dairy products. Greatly minimize or completely eliminate processed meats, refined carbohydrates, additives and fast food.

Benefits of Flexitarianism

There are no definitive “rules” to follow on the flexitarian diet, but the following benefits come from a plant-based diet:

  • Improved heart health from fiber-rich foods
  • May reduce blood pressure
  • May increase good cholesterol
  • Could result in weight loss
  • Could prevent or reverse diabetes

Another advantage of the flexitarian diet is convenience. Preparing meals at home is a breeze with a variety of simple recipes to choose from, but you can still eat out at restaurants.

Despite these potential health benefits, cutting out meat and animal products could lead to nutrient deficiencies. Always consult with a doctor before starting a new diet plan.
 
Colony Diner makes it easy to eat out on the flexitarian diet! We have a full menu of gourmet salads, healthy breakfasts, plus vegan and gluten-free options. Visit us in Wallingford today!