Recently I have been asked about my thoughts on the up and coming Flexitarian Diet, I thought this was another great opportunity to share with you guys (who might have similar questions about this new diet term).
“A flexitarian or semi-vegetarian diet (SVD) is one that is primarily vegetarian with the occasional inclusion of meat or fish.1” A flexitarian largely follows a meat-less diet with the use of vegetable proteins as a substitution for the meat in many common recipes and meals. Veganism and Vegetarianism are growing at an enormous rate and becoming more and more to be considered the norm along with those that are less restrictive like the flexitarian or SVD diet. The overwhelming evidence of health benefits associated with the greater consumption of plant-based foods and the negative health effects of overconsumption of red-meat are leading more people to re-evaluate the need for animal products in their diet. As a dietitian who chooses to focus on more foods that I can eat and less on foods that I cant eat, the flexitarian diet is something that I would like to adhere to in my own life and recommend to others who are looking for a healthier diet. 25 studies were done used the National Center for Biotechnology Database showing evidence suggestive of benefits associated with weight loss, improved markers of metabolic health, decreased blood pressure, and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes to those who followed a flexitarian or SVD diet.1
To sum it up, if a vegetarian diet sounds appealing to you but you can’t imagine never eating turkey on thanksgiving or eating bacon for breakfast once in awhile, then the flexitarian diet might be the solution for you. Also, shout out to Dawn Jackson Blanter who is a Registered Dietitian AND the creator of the Flexitarian diet, thanks for helping us dietitians out! – what a breathe of fresh air when an actual nutrition expert creates a diet plan that has shown/proven health benefits and is a diet that people can sustain versus a fad diet involving detox or extreme restrictions. In Blanters book she claims that the Flexitarian diet is not about eliminating food but adding them – I love this statement. We spend too much time restricting ourselves instead of enjoying a variety of foods from all food groups in moderation. I would recommend reading Blanters book for more information on the flexitarian diet and steps to begin transitioning to a “meat-lite” diet.