Here’s a word I’d like to add to your vocabulary: “flexitarian“. It sounds like “vegetarian”, and while it has roots in vegetarian eating, it makes room for animal products (I can hear the meat-eaters amongst us breathing a sigh of relief!) All this month, we’re going to explore the benefits of eating the flexitarian way.
Checking In: Did you grill this past week?
Last week was our final hurrah to National Grilling Month. Grilling is so easy, you can throw just about anything on a grill and have it taste terrific. Why not get a little more ambitious and try the Grilled Salmon with Cherry Tomato, Corn and Basil Relish recipe from last week? It’s easy to make, will impress your friends and best of all, it tastes amazing.
This Month’s Change: Flexing Your Eating Habits
You’ve probably heard the terms vegan and vegetarian. A vegan is someone who eats only plant-based products, no animal products at all. A vegetarian eats a diet that excludes meat, fish & poultry, but may include eggs, dairy products and honey. Here’s a new term I’d like you to know: flexitarian . Flexitarians enjoy a diet that’s primarily vegetarian but has enough flexibility to include meat, poultry and fish on occasion. Think of us as part-time vegetarians.
I’ve been a flexitarian for years. I eat mostly plant products, dairy and eggs but I’m not willing to completely give up meat. I like poultry, I love fish and I crave red meat once in a while. As a friend once said “I’d be a vegetarian if it wasn’t for bacon.” It’s that kind of sentiment.
What I love is, for lack of a better term, the flexibility of it. I rest easy knowing that I eat mostly in a healthy vegetarian way: breakfast is usually cereal or eggs & vegetables while lunch is some type of vegetable & bean wrap, burrito or burger. Dinner is where things get “flexi”. Not surprisingly, it’s the meal I’m most likely to eat with my husband, who is not a vegetarian. So I’m more likely to prepare fish or meat for dinner. Sure, we have purely vegetarian dinners from time-to-time, but usually I’m making something that is acceptable to both of us. And sometimes that means making a base food (for example, black bean chili) and adding grilled chicken to his plate only. It doesn’t have to be any harder than that.
Why You Should You Be a Flexitarian
All this month we’re going to explore the benefits of eating the flexitarian way. I know that most people won’t jump from eating meat to eating only plants. But I do know that most people are willing to adjust their eating habits to eat a little less meat, once they understand the benefits.
Benefit #1: You Will Lose Weight
Did that get your attention? Thought it might. There have been lots of studies that show people who follow a vegetarian diet weigh about 15% less than those who do not. Moreover, even part-time vegetarians (flexitarians) tend to weigh less than nonvegetarians. Meat tends to be high in saturated fat, making it also high in calories. By eating less meat and eating more vegetables, you automatically consume fewer calories and less fat. As a result, you will lose weight.
Why not try making a flexitarian meal this week? Check out these Great Cookbooks that include recipes that will tempt both the vegetarians and the carnivores in your life:
- The Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley
- The Healthy Hedonist by Myra Kornfeld
The Coming Weeks
Flexitarian Benefits, continued
Easy Flexitarian Tips