What's a Flexitarian?

Have you heard of flexitarianism? Are you a flexitarian? What is a flexitarian?

Healthline defines it this way: "The Flexitarian Diet is a style of eating that encourages mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation. It’s more flexible than fully vegetarian or vegan diets." It basically means that you should eat like a vegetarian or vegan most of the time but can incorporate animal products once in a while. Don't rely on meat for protein, eat tofu and beans. Also, focus on the most natural and least processed forms of food possible.

The flexitarian diet was coined by dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, who published a book in 2010 called The Flexitarian Diet. The diet promised to help followers lose weight, increase their energy and boost their immunity. On her website, Jackson says that flexitarians weigh 15% less, have a lower rate of heart disease and live 3.6 years longer than their carnivorous counterparts. Of course, no one is fully a carnivore. Unlike say, lions, it's safe to say that the majority of humans eat plants sometimes, since basically everything that's not meat, animal milk or eggs comes from a plant.

She outlines three different levels of flexitarian. Each is based on 21 meals a week.

Beginner: 6 to 8 meatless meals

Advanced: 9 to 14 meatless meals

Expert: 15+ meatless meals

What are the benefits of being a flexitarian?

While we can't verify Jackson's number of 15%, flexitarians do seem to weigh less, have better heart health and have lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. But eating fewer animal products isn't just good for your health, it's better for the earth.

Last year, The Guardian shared the article "Could Flexitarianism Save The Planet?" It reported on the recent consensus that if humankind ate less meat, the world would be in a much better place because of "the catastrophic damage to the planet" that animal farming has.

Want to eat steak once in a while? Make it grain-fed, organic but don't eat it everyday. Flexitarianism comes down to making conscious choices about the food we eat, reducing animal products and increasing plant-based foods.

Do you consider yourself a flexitarian? Tell us about it!

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