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What's a Flexitarian Diet?

Updated on March 19, 2013

I bought this book, The Flexitarian Diet, off the shelves in one of the book sales of Kinokuniya. It's written by Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN, a flexitarian cooking instructor and a national media spokeperson for the American Dietetic Association. According to Joy Bauer, author of Joy Bauer's Food Cures, the Flexitarian Diet is "a smart new approach to cooking and eating".

The term flexitarian diet certainly has a ring to it. It's a flexible vegetarian. It's having to be a vegetarian with the perks of eating meats. This is my perfect set-up! As much as I love eating vegetables, beans and nuts, I don't think I can give up meats in my diet.

A flexitarian is someone who (should) eats more of vegetables and less of the meats. It's not about the prohibition of eating meats, as what vegetarians strictly follow. Rather, the flexitarian diet encourages us to eat more of the plant-based foods; and if we want meats, that's ok, too. Note that the emphasis is on the eating of vegetables, not the "not eating" of meats.

I am nearly certain, that I am a flexitarian. I know that vegetables, beans, fruits and nuts are healthy, nutritious foods with anti-oxidants and cancer-fighting agents. I always have them in my plate. I try to eat most of them. However, I don't think I can be fully satisfied without having meats in my diet every now and then. And so, for that reason, I think I may be in a flexitarian diet.

Benefits of a Flexitarian Diet

Blatner mentions several benefits of a flexitarian diet. These life-changing benefits are noteworthy for everyone - vegetable lovers or otherwise. These benefits include:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved heart health
  • Decreased risk of diabetes
  • Longer life expectancy
  • Improved taste and fewer cravings

Let me just add here that you may also save several bucks with a flexitarian diet. And perhaps, even time in preparing your foods.

What's in a Flexitarian Diet?

The flexitarian diet offers the best of both worlds; at least, that's how I take this concept. Since being a flexitarian is nothing more but a flexible vegetarian, it's a yes to both vegetables and meats. Well, actually eating as much vegetables as possible (at least 25% of what you eat, according to the book - it's not a strict rule, just a decent one), with the option of meats when the carnivore in you awakens.

Some meat substitutes that The Flexitarian suggests are:

  • Beans, peas, lentils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs
  • Soy

Most of the time, you should satisfy your hunger and food cravings with - you guessed it! - vegetables! There are dark green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach, kale), orange vegetables (e.g. carrots, squash, pumpkins), legumes (e.g. mostly beans, tofu), starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes, corn, squash) and the all-inclusive general vegetables (e.g. tomatoes, mushrooms, onions).

There are also the grains. The book discusses the benefits of whole-grain products, various options and ways to cook grains. Some of the grains Blatner mentions include brown rice (which I use at home), rolled oats, amaranth (you may have read this in one of my hubs), quinoa and more, more, more.

Dairies such as milk, cheese and yogurts, is another food group in the Flexitarian diet.

The last one as sugar and spices. This group consists of mostly herbs, spices and healthy sugar/sweet options that provides a lot of flavor, less calories and more nutrients into your food.

After reading through the book, I felt more conscious of what I should eat more of. The meat still says in my diet, though. What I can do is to add those meat substitutes at least, to lessen the fatty proteins in my system. Also, I was inspired with using more spices and herbs in cooking. I do love to cook; and I'm not a fan of MSG.

After reading this hub...

Do you think you're a Flexitarian?

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    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Maybe you're a flexitarian, jeannie. The book says that most new vegetarians stop being one because of protein deficiency and well, missing the meats haha!! That's why flexitarian diet is a very good fix.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      That's good nmlady. Having meats isn't that bad; just always take vegetables, too to compensate for the saturated fats.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Thanks flank! You think you're one?

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Thanks for the comment, ms. peggy! I'm a lover of both... hahah!! But, am trying to stay away from a lot of meats.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is an interesting term and I had not heard of it until now. I was once a vegetarian, but I was not getting enough protein. Now I do eat some seafood and some poultry. I suppose I would be considered a flexitarian. Thanks for sharing this information. Voted up!

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 4 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Well, this is a new one to me. We eat meat as a condiment or a flavoring. So, we definitely qualify. We started because of some health issues but very quickly realized that we loved the food selection just fine. We have even given up soft drinks....for health reasons. HOWEVER, we will be having prime rib for Easter.....last time we had this was Christmas! It doesn't take much of a serving to satisfy us be we do enjoy it!!

      Voted up!!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      I never knew what a flexitarian was.. yeah great hub lol :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This would definitely be a healthy approach for those of us who just cannot bear to totally give up meats in our diet. Too eat more vegetables, grains and nuts and cut back on the meat would be good for health...and as you also say...the pocketbook. Up and useful votes and will share.