Counterintuitively, the time for the flexitarian diet is now. Of course, dieting might not be the first thing you think about under the current circumstances. Even if you are trying to stay fit or get in shape while sheltering at home, strict Keto or intermittent fasting diets can be difficult to follow, given the lack of resources and, possibly, the stress of. the WFH. It’s times like these that the flexibility inherent in the flexitarian diet makes it a huge draw.
The term “flexitarian diet” has been attributed to famous American dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner. According to Blatner, it is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, with an occasional meal of meat, dairy products and seafood. their most natural forms and the elimination of added sugar. But most of the time, there are no fixed rules and you can customize according to your preferences, likes and dislikes.
Although it has been around for some time, the flexitarian diet is experiencing a resurgence as people become more aware of the negative environmental impact of consuming meat and seafood. But since it’s not easy to give up meat or seafood altogether, a flexitarian diet might be viable.
A Beginner’s Guide to the Flexitarian Diet
Where do you start?
Blatner recommends consuming six to eight meatless meals per week when starting a flexitarian diet, then gradually shifting to predominantly vegetarian meals. While there are no set guidelines for how many non-vegetarian meals allowed per week, the diet suggests making plant-based foods the center of your meals and meat just a side dish.
Benefits of a flexitarian diet
1. SIMPLE AND SUSTAINABLE
Kamna Bhandari, co-founder and lifestyle coach of Intermittent Fasting and Mindful Living says, “A flexitarian diet is more about healthy eating rather than dos and don’ts or strict rules.” “It has general health benefits associated with a healthy diet and keeps you away from processed and refined food products.”
2. REDUCES INFLAMMATION
“Having a majority of your nutrition from plants drastically reduces inflammation in your body because it introduces a lean and clean macro and micronutrient profile,” says Prateek Kumar, Founder of FitCru.
3.IMPROVES HEART HEALTH AND MAINTAIN DIABETES
“This diet has been beneficial for our heart health, as high intake of antioxidants and dietary fiber lowers the risk of heart disease. It can also help in losing weight by preventing unwanted food cravings. Studies have shown that when they follow a flexitarian diet for a period of time there is a reduction in the HbA1c levels of diabetics,” says Aman Puri, founder of Steadfast Nutrition.
“This diet is low in fat and sugar, and high in antioxidants and dietary fiber, which can help people with type 2 diabetes control their condition,” adds Harleen Gulati, health coach and founder of Selfpledge.
Also Read: Importance of Mediterranean Diet
Disadvantages of a flexitarian diet
1. NUTRITIVE DEFICIENCIES
When adhering to a flexitarian diet, it is essential that you replace meat with plant protein sources. Puri adds, “Reducing certain animal products could also mean deficiencies in calcium, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D and zinc that it can help you tailor it to your personal needs.”
“A common mistake made by people to get their protein intake is to start consuming more beans, chickpeas or lentils. It can cause a lot discomfort and gas. The best way to overcome this problem is to gradually increase your tolerance for these foods by consuming smaller amounts initially,” adds Kumar.
Easy to eat meals on a flexitarian diet
If you’re considering adopting a flexitarian diet and want simple yet delicious dishes to get you started, check out the following dishes recommended by experts:
- Kamna Bhandari suggests eating a bowl of avocado quinoa chickpeas with lemon juice dressing while on the flexitarian diet.
- “A great choice to include in your diet is an almond milk smoothie with frozen berries, organic unsweetened nut butter and bananas,” notes Prateek Kumar.
- According to Ruchi Sharma, wellness consultant and founder of Eat Fit Repeat, vegetables cooked with chicken and spices are one of the easiest dishes to cook on the flexitarian diet.
- Aman Puri recommends eating a besan cheela or moong dal.
- “For people on a flexitarian diet, a green juice that includes celery, cucumbers and a few leaves of spinach is my top food recommendation,” says Gulati.
- Blatner recommends a simple bowl of butternut squash vegetables.