With just 28% of Brits claiming to need meat in the majority of their weekly meals, we’re exploring the latest diet trend - Flexitarianism
The world is making us confused about our diets – do you feel it too? You can’t leisurely scroll through Instagram these days without a health guru showing off their non-fat, non-dairy, meat-free, and gluten-free dishes. And just when you thought you knew it all, they go and mix it all up again with the choice to be a flexitarian…
Don’t worry – it will all become clear.
Thirty years ago, if you classed yourself as a vegan, you were probably also living in a commune, meditating daily and chanting with dreadlocked hair and stripy trousers – or you were most likely just allergic to dairy.
The point is it simply wasn’t a lifestyle that most of us chose to follow because we didn’t understand much about it then and weren’t aware of any benefits of such a diet choice. But the world has changed dramatically since then and now living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle has become trendy, responsible and a much healthier approach to our diet.
But, interestingly, it’s also a lifestyle that has become socially acceptable to give up for a day if we feel like it – and if we fancy a bacon sandwich on a Saturday morning, it’s ok to eat one. We’re just a Flexitarian.
But what exactly are we talking about here?
Nutritionist, Ella Gale who has devoted an entire blog (www.flexvegan.wordpress.com) to her life as a Flexitarian explains it all in more detail.
“I have considered myself a ‘flexitarian’ for almost 3 years now – my preference is for vegetarian foods but when cooked for by others, eating out or just when I generally have an appetite for it I will allow myself to eat meat. This, for some people, may seem outrageous… ‘Isn’t this a blog about veganism?! She’s talking about eating MEAT!?’ but that is exactly the issue…my belief is that there is a need for a happy in-between; a diet that reduces the negative impact that the meat and dairy industry has in the world but is not so restrictive that it deters omnivores, flexitarians or vegetarians from giving it a try.”
So how exactly do we define ourselves as a flexitarian?
A Brief Guide to Flexitarianism
According to Friends of the Earth (www.foe.co.uk) and flexibristol.org, the word Flexitarian is a merging of two words: Flexible and vegetarian. ‘The term was coined more than a decade ago and can be thought of as a flexible vegetarian.
Most flexitarian diets are mainly plant-based, with the occasional inclusion of meat and dairy and usually with ethical considerations for how these are produced.
Here are our top tips on how to live a flexitarian lifestyle well:
1. Keep it simple
Like Ella Gale, most people follow a meat and dairy-free diet at home and then relax it a little when they go out for a meal in a restaurant or over to a friend’s house.
This can make awkward questions about what’s in the food at the dinner table, well, less awkward!
2. One at a time
Make the transition to a flexitarian diet simpler by cutting down to just one meal a day that has animal products in it at first, and gradually decrease the proportion over time or go meat-free for just one day a week at first while you adjust to the change in diet.
3. Protein rich
On days where you don’t eat meat or dairy (which tend to be the big sources of protein), be sure to get enough protein in your diet from other plant-based sources such as beans, lentils, tofu, peas, seeds, and nuts.
4. Alternative dishes
While you get used to cooking and prepping your meat-free and/or dairy-free meals, be sure to browse the meat-free aisles of the supermarkets to find healthy and delicious alternatives to your favourite meat dishes. And get inspiration for what to cook at home too.
5. Make it easy
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Is it the age of the Flexitarian? Where do you sit on the veggie spectrum? Tell us below!