If the thought of going vegan or totally vegetarian is too much, you could try one of the latest food trends instead – flexitarianism.
Flexitarians are, as the name suggests, flexible vegetarians. They mainly eat a plant-based diet, but occasionally have meat dishes or other animal products.
Intrigued by the idea? Discover the major benefits of a flexitarian diet below.
The rise in flexitarianism follows the recent boom in veganism, with 34% of Brits now limiting the amount of meat they eat.3 Flexitarians are largely motivated by the desire to eat a healthier diet, concerns about the environment and ethical issues such as animal welfare.4
The flexitarian diet actually encourages you to add new foods to your plate – more vegetables, legumes and plant-based proteins – rather than taking anything away.A typical flexitarian diet5 includes:
A typical day’s meals may be:
There are several major benefits to going flexitarian – for you and the environment.
While there aren’t many studies that just focus on flexitarians, there is a lot of research into the health benefits of going vegetarian or vegan.
Studies have found eating this way can help reduce your risk of:
But being careful about the meat you buy – either organic, free-range or from a local butchers or farm shop where you can find out about the animal’s life – is an important step towards better animal welfare.
A well-balanced flexitarian diet is a very healthy way to eat, but you need to plan your meals properly to avoid missing out on any essential vitamins or minerals.According to the NHS,14 people following a mostly plant-based diet can lack key nutrients that are mainly found in meat or animal products.
If you think you may still be lacking, taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement can help plug any gaps in your diet.
Try this Vegan Mexican-style breakfast recipe to kick off your flexitarian dietShop Vegan Food Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies. Written by Rosalind Ryan on November 15, 2018 Reviewed by Vegan GP Dr Rebecca Jones on November 25, 2018
1. BBC Good Food. What is a flexitarian diet? Available from: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-flexitarian-diet
2. Dawn Jackson Blatner. The Flexitarian Diet. Available from: http://dawnjacksonblatner.com/books/the-flexitarian-diet/
3. Mintel. UK meat-free food markets report 2018. Available from: https://store.mintel.com/uk-meat-free-foods-market-report
4. As above
5. As Source 2
6. Key TJ, et al. Mortality in vegetarians and nonvegetarians: detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/70/3/516s/4714974
7. NHS. Red meat and the risk of bowel cancer. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/red-meat-and-the-risk-of-bowel-cancer/
8. Tonstad S, et al. Type of vegetarian diet, body weight, and prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2671114/
9. Berkow SE, Barnard N. Vegetarian diets and weight status. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16673753
10. Science Daily. To shed weight, go vegan. Available from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150630121807.htm
11. Felicity Carus. The Guardian. UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet
12. Marco Springmann. Nature Research. Options for keeping the food system within planetary limits. Available from: https://sustainabilitycommunity.nature.com/users/181504-marco-springmann/posts/39688-options-for-keeping-the-food-system-within-planetary-limits
13. De Backer X, Hudders L. Meat morals: relationship between meat consumption consumer attitudes towards human and animal welfare and moral behaviour. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0309174014002769
14. NHS. Vegetarian and vegan diets Q&A. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/vegetarian-and-vegan-diets-q-and-a/#do-vegetarians-and-vegans-need-vitamin-supplements
15. Alison Lenton. Faunalytics. Just How Hard Is It To Become Vegan? Available from: https://faunalytics.org/just-how-hard-is-it-to-become-vegn/