Flexitarianism is showing up on restaurant menus and in magazine articles. “Flexitarian” was even voted the most useful word of the year in 2003 by the American Dialect Society. So, what is flexitarianism, and is it good for your health?
What is a flexitarian diet?
Flexitarianism is sometimes referred to as semi-vegetarianism. A flexitarian diet is primarily plant-based, but it sometimes includes meat.
A plant-based diet that also includes meat sounds a lot like an omnivorous diet, but flexitarianism is a little different – if only philosophically. The idea behind flexitarianism or semi-vegetarianism is that there’s a conscious effort to eat less meat, even though meat is still included in the diet. The diet is mostly plant-based, but does not completely exclude meat.
Some people refer to flexitarianism as vegetarianism with cheating, but this is a negative view. Flexitarianism can be understood as a choice for people who want to eat more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods while also decreasing the amount of meat that they eat.
It’s not a lazy or easy form of vegetarianism, but simply a conscious effort to reduce the amount of meat in a diet for any number of reasons.
Is a flexitarian diet good for you?
A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet isn’t inherently good or bad. Potato chips and cheese pizza are technically vegetarian, but that does not make a healthy diet. The most important thing is that you’re getting the right nutrients, and eating the right portions.
Everyone should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables regardless of whether or not you eat a flexitarian diet. Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients and fiber, and low in fats and calories. Those who eat fruits and vegetables are at a lower risk for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems than those who do not include fruits and vegetables in their diet.
There are many reasons why people might want to limit meat consumption including economic, environmental, ethical, and health reasons. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any type of diet.
Also, remember that diet is only one of many aspects that contribute to your overall health and quality of life. You also need regular physical activity and it’s crucial to make other healthy lifestyle choices as well. Annual wellness visits with your primary care physician are essential to maintaining wellness. Schedule your appointment today!