Checking In: Last Week’s Introduction to Flexitarianism
Last week we started exploring flexitarianism, which is when vegetarians also include some meat and fish in their diets. I hope I tempted you with the first benefit: weight loss. If you missed it, check out the last posting to get yourself up-to-speed on flexitarianism.
Flexing Your Eating Habits
We’re talking about the flexitarian eating style and, more importantly, why you should eat this way. Let’s get right to my favorite reason:
Benefit #2: You’ll Be Less Likely to Develop Cancer, Diabetes and Heart Disease
I offered up Weight Loss as last week’s benefit, just to draw you in. In my opinion, the biggest benefit of eating in a flex way is decreasing the odds of disease, and better management of existing disease. For this, we can thank the vegetarian aspect of the flex style. Remember, flexitarians are essentially vegetarians who don’t want to give up meat completely. So the basic diet is plant-based, with touches of meat added here and there. The nutrients from vegetables and fruits, along with the reduction of total and saturated fats provide this incredible benefit.
Dawn Jackson-Blatner explores this further in her book The Flexitarian Diet:
- After one study with participants eating a flexitarian diet for only 4 weeks, total cholesterol levels dropped almost 20 points with bad cholesterol dropping 15 points.
- Flexitarians have lower blood pressure readings, with the average systolic pressure (first number) being about 14 points lower and the average diastolic pressure (second number) being about 6 points lower.
- Research has shown that 43 percent of diabetics were able to reduce their diabetes medication after following a plant-based diet for 22 weeks.
- The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that we could reduce the number of cancer cases by 30 – 40 percent by eating a plant-based diet.
Get started with these yummy recipes from Dawn’s book:
Banana Pecan Waffles
2 frozen whole-grain waffles
½ small banana, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Toast waffles. Top with banana, pecans and a drizzle of syrup.
Greek Chopped Pita Salad
3 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
½ ounce feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup canned garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed and drained
½ cucumber, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 whole-grain pita pocket, toasted and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons Universal Lemon-Flax Vinaigrette (see recipe below) or low-fat Italian dressing
Toss all ingredients together.
Flex Swap ½ cup garbanzo beans with 2 ounces cooked, diced chicken breast.
Universal Lemon-Flax Vinaigrette
Makes six 2-tablespoon servings
¼ cup lemon juice (juice from 1 to 2 lemons)
¼ cup flaxseed oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and black pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together. Keeps in the fridge about seven days.
Pineapple with Candied Ginger and Pecans
3 pineapple rings (fresh or canned in own juice)
2 teaspoons chopped pecans
2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
Top pineapple rings with pecans and ginger. For even more sweetness, grill pineapple rings before topping with pecans and ginger.