04.02.2020 – 16:43
Less meat, more vegetables: This is how the Flexitarier diet works
Lose weight in a healthy way, without calorie counting, bans or strict dietary plan. With a flexitarian diet, you can achieve your desired weight – and permanently.
Imagine a diet that combines the healthy effects of a vegetarian diet with the flexibility of eating meat: this is the Flexitarian Diet. Instead of abstaining, the focus is on more vegetable food, while the enjoyment is not neglected. And don’t worry: you don’t have to count calories either. We present the Flexitarier Diät in detail.
Flexitarian Diet: Healthy nutrition as a part-time vegetarian
The Flexitarian Diet is one of those diets that are actually not diets at all, but rather long-term diets.
That is why you will not find a strict diet plan, banned list or prescribed calorie quantities in the Flexitarier Diet. In the case of the flexitarian diet there is not even one method. Nevertheless, it can be said that this approach is very similar to a vegetarian diet with many plant-based foods. Flexitarians usually eat meat and fish from time to time, but then mostly in the form of high quality products.
In the USA, on the other hand, the “Flexitarian Diet” is attributed to the dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner. Blatner describes the Flexitarian Diet as a new way of eating in which meat is minimized but not completely eliminated. The aim is to benefit from the health advantages of a vegetarian diet without having to follow the strict rules completely.
This approach was recently endorsed by U.S. News and World Reports was voted one of the best diets of 2020. The approach is considered to be healthy, easy to follow and is designed to support permanent weight loss.
Flexitarian Diet: How does it work?
As I said, there are no precise rules for the flexitarian diet. The basic rule is to include more plant-based foods in the daily diet. If you are now interested in following this plant-surplus approach to nutrition, the following guidelines will help you:
- More vegetables and fruits as well as salad and herbs
- More vegetable protein sources, such as chickpeas, beans, soy, tofu, lentils
- Whole grain cereals and whole grain products
- Nuts, kernels, seeds
- Milk, dairy products and eggs in a healthy measure; alternatively, vegetable milk alternatives such as oat milk, almond milk or soy milk are also available
- Less meat and sausage products, but pay attention to quality and origin
- Less fish and seafood, but pay attention to quality and origin
- In general, more natural foods rather than refined and highly processed products, such as white sugar, sweets, industrial bakery products or meat and sausages from factory farming
Flexible nutrition: The advantages
Meat is not unhealthy in itself, but nowadays it is often consumed in far too large quantities. Around 60 kilograms of meat are eaten per capita per year in Germany. That is over 1 kilo of meat and sausages per week, while the German Society for Nutrition recommends just under half of that.
Too much meat consumption in the long run – especially red and processed meat – is associated with high cholesterol levels, a promotion of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer. A plant-surplus diet, such as the flexitarians’ diet, in turn is considered healthy and figure-friendly: studies show that vegetarians and also flexitarians usually weigh less than excessive meat eaters, which is probably partly due to the fact that vegetarians and flexitarians usually eat more consciously overall.
Since flexitarian nutrition is not based on prohibitions, does not provide for strict rules and allows meat and fish in moderation, it is easily and permanently implementable and can be adapted to your individual needs. Dining out and invitations to friends do not have to be excluded – on the contrary, the social aspect is certainly not neglected here.
Finally, the Flexitarier diet is better for the environment. Since meat and fish are eaten only in small quantities and ideally from sustainable sources, this benefits the animals and the environment.
Get inspired for healthy vegetarian recipes in our picture gallery:
Flexible nutrition: The disadvantages
In order to actually benefit from the health advantages of the plant-surplus Flexitarier diet, its implementation is essential. Simply eating less meat and fish but eating large amounts of cheese and sweets does not result in a healthy diet. It is important to include a lot of vegetables and other plant-based and preferably natural foods in the diet to cover as wide a range of nutrients as possible.
For vegans the Flexitarier Diät is often not sufficient, since animals must suffer thereby further. In the end it is probably a personal question whether and how much meat one would like to eat. But at least a reduced and more conscious consumption of animal products goes, into the correct direction, which concerns handling organisms, as well as the environment.
Conclusion on the Flexitarier Diet
As the Flexitarier diet is usually accompanied by a conscious and balanced choice of food, it is to be considered as an overall healthy diet. In the end, it is similar to other healthy approaches, such as Mediterranean cuisine or the New German Diet.
It is very likely that the pounds will not immediately drop with this plant-surplus diet. However, since the Flexitarier diet is easy to implement permanently and allows flexibility according to your individual needs, long-term weight loss is possible. This also reduces the risk of the dreaded yo-yo effect. But don’t forget to ensure that you get enough exercise.
Last but not least, the trend towards a flexitarian diet can be seen as positive in terms of factory farming, overfishing of the seas and climate.
What are the most popular diets? We have summarized them for you in our video:
On our Vegetarian theme page you will find everything you need to know about a vegetarian diet. You want to lose weight? Then you can also inform yourself on our topic page Diets about various weight loss methods.