Flexitarian diet : decrease the meat without being vegetarian : For those who follow a vegetarian diet, the potential health benefits are numerous. Indeed, it has been shown that a balanced vegetarian diet lowers body mass index and reduces the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and even cancer .
What’s more, eating too much meat is more than a personal health problem, it also affects our planet. Recent studies show that agriculture and the livestock industry are the third largest producers of greenhouse gases, just behind transport.
What is the flexitarian diet?
The flexitarian regime is a plant-based diet that does not radically exclude meat. It was popularized in 2010 by Dawn Jackson Blatner, an American dietician, with the publication of the book “The Flexitarian Diet”.
Unlike other plant-based diets (vegan, vegetarian, peso-vegetarian, pollo-vegetarian, etc.), this diet does not impose any rules.
Some Flexitarians will have a meal with meat once a week, while others will only eat meat on rare occasions.
This flexible diet is gaining popularity, especially with people who do not want to engage in a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. It gives them flexibility that they can adapt to their lifestyle, their social life or their state of health.
Surprisingly, flexitarians are not just people who want to reduce their meat consumption, but there are also vegetarians or vegans who decide to reintroduce some meat into their diet.
Is flexitarism good for your health?
Studies show rather than yes. Indeed, flexitarians (also known as semi-vegetarians or flexible vegetarians) have not only a lower BMI than large carnivores, but also a lower risk of type 2 diabetes as well as mortality rates. weaker .
In a study conducted by Stanford University in the United States , researchers found that after following a flexible diet for only four weeks, the total cholesterol level of participants dropped by almost 20 points, and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) dropped by almost 15 points. A decrease in BMI and cholesterol means that flexitarians will probably have lower blood pressure and a healthier heart.
In addition, many studies show that a diet rich in red meat increases cancer risk , while a plant-based diet typically reduces the risk of several types of cancer . In fact, plant foods contain less saturated fats, more dietary fiber and more phytochemicals, which could reduce the risk of breast, colon or intestinal cancer.
Better yet: switching from a meat-rich diet to a vegetarian or flexitarian diet could extend the life of a person (up to 13 years!). How is it possible ? What you need to know is that animal products promote inflammation in the body, slowing down the metabolism and weakening the immune system.
But why are not there more people who are flexitarians?
Most often, it is a lack of knowledge of what is really necessary for a healthy diet.
However, the main hurdle is the protein myth : most omnivores do not think they will be able to get enough protein with a meat-free diet in the majority of their meals.
In fact, with the exception of strength sports athletes, most people eat two to three times more protein than they really need per day. In fact, with our modern Western diet, it is almost impossible to have a protein deficiency.
Why switch to semi-vegetarian diet?
You can apply it in or for your family
One of the biggest advantages of the flexitarian dietis that there are no strict and binding rules. It is mainly a change of mentality, from the idea that each meal requires meat, to the idea that we can eat it occasionally.
Instead of fixing on the fact of not eating meat, flexitarianism focuses on how to consume more fruits and vegetables.
You can eat better quality meat
Following a flexitarian diet means enjoying the health benefits of a plant-based diet without losing sight of the nutritional benefits of animal products.
Moreover, instead of buying cheap industrial meat and fish (packed with antibiotics), you can consume from time to time products of better quality (richer in omega-3) such as beef fed to the farm. grass, outdoor chicken, free range eggs and wild salmon.
You will reduce your impact on the environment
We can not say too much: eating less meat is good for the environment. Compared to plants, livestock needs much more food, water, land and energy for growth and subsequent transportation.
How to put on the flexitarian diet?
Nothing easier, right? Just eat less meat and you’ll be healthier, happier, and you’ll save the world!
Eh not so fast!
Technically, a “plant” diet can be made up of junk food, with cereals stuffed with sugar for breakfast, cheese nachos (no meat!) For lunch, and a burger Vegetarian covered with mayonnaise and onion rings at dinner, with a big coke (it’s vegetarian!).
In theory, as proponents of flexitarianism point out, it is not just about eating fewer animal products, but also about making healthier food choices in general. This means that flexitarians will consume much more fresh produce (vegetables and fruits), some foods rich in vegetable protein , some whole grains (no pop honey), and so on.
To begin, try to reduce your consumption of meat in your meals.
- Fill up on green vegetables. To make a filling salad, mix some lettuce, kale or rocket with tons of other vegetables such as carrots, beets, corn, broccoli and onions, accompanied by one or two sources of vegetable protein.
- Replaces chicken, beef or pork with a portion of beans or lentils .
- Consumes legumes, such as white beans and chickpeas.
- For nibbling, prefer nuts or other dried fruits (in moderation).
- Try meat substitutes (tofu, tempeh and other soy products).
- Focus on “low in calories, but high in nutrients” diet. This means that you need to add fiber-rich vegetables and other sources of protein such as those listed above to your meals .
- Do not forget the quinoa , a product with multiple benefits that also contains a good amount of protein.