With just 28% of Brits claiming to need meat in the majority of their weekly dishes, we’re exploring the latest diet trend – what is a Flexitarian?
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, but hang on, we’ve grown up eating meat, cheese and bread – they were the staples in our diet as a child. Now all of a sudden, they are harming our insides and the environment too? Help!
Twenty 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 allergic to meat and dairy. It simply wasn’t a lifestyle that many of us chose to follow because we didn’t understand it and weren’t aware of the reasons behind the 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…
Nutritionist, Ella Gale who has devoted an entire blog (www.flexvegan.wordpress.com) to her life as a Flexitarian explains. “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, 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 were produced.
5 tips on being a flexitarian
- 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 with friends. This can make awkward questions about what’s in the food at the dinner table, well, less awkward!
- Make the transition 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.
- Be sure to get enough protein in your diet by choosing non-meat sources such as beans, lentils, tofu, peas, seeds and nuts.
- Browse the meat-free aisles of the supermarkets to find healthy and delicious alternatives to your favourite meat dishes.
- Sign up for a weekly recipe box delivery to get healthy and nutritious ingredients along with recipe ideas and inspiration. Check out Hello Fresh.
Is it the age of the Flexitarian? Where do you sit on the veggie spectrum?
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