What is the flexitarian weight-reduction plan, precisely? Shavonne Morrison, MS, RD, LD, investigates its advantages and meal plan staples. Plus: Does the trending, semi-vegetarian weight-reduction plan plan get this dietitian’s approval?

In gentle of the ineffectiveness and restrictiveness of many different diets, the Flexitarian Diet is surging in recognition.

But is that this weight-reduction plan actually distinctive? And past that, is it best for you? Read on to search out out.

First, what’s the flexitarian weight-reduction plan?

The Flexitarian Diet rethinks vegetarianism by together with choices that aren’t historically thought of vegetarian—therefore the “flexible” and “vegetarian” phrase mixture.

According to The Flexitarian Diet creator, DJ Blatner, RDN, the purpose is to attenuate meat consumption and give attention to meals that may be added to the weight-reduction plan, somewhat than taken away. The driving concept is to forestall dieters from adopting a restrictive mindset, which is usually a significant contributing issue to unsuccessful weight-reduction plan. (For occasion, so-called flexitarians can eat meat sometimes.)

Conversely, increasing the number of your weight-reduction plan can pave the best way for achievement by providing you with a way of freedom and making the transition to following the weight-reduction plan extra manageable.

In sum, this weight-reduction plan incorporates parts of mindfulness to take care of a wholesome relationship with meals. It’s all about discovering a steadiness that’s best for you.

Woman unpacking her grocery bags with Flexitarian Diet staples like veggies and plant-based protein

Benefits of the Flexitarian Diet

Now let’s get to the half you’re most likely interested by: What are the supposed advantages of the Flexitarian Diet?

In her e-book, Blatner states that the Flexitarian Diet’s purpose is to:

  • assist you to lose 15 p.c of your physique weight
  • keep coronary heart (and normal) well being
  • promote longevity + enhance vitality

No matter your well being objectives, most individuals can profit from the approach to life modifications outlined on this e-book. After all, who doesn’t wish to have extra vitality and stay longer?

Of course, it’s at all times good to get forward of the sport by making life-style selections that promote general well being and wellness.

What are you able to eat on the Flexitarian Diet?

The fundamental consuming rules of the Flexitarian Diet come down to some issues:

  • give attention to fruits, greens, legumes, and complete grains
  • embody extra plant-based protein sources
  • incorporate meat + animal merchandise moderately
  • restrict processed meals, added sugars, and sweets

These rules sound so much like what many registered dietitians suggest, and are much like the USDA’s pointers as nicely.

This steadiness additionally units the Flexitarian Diet aside from many others that are likely to remove complete meals teams, which may result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

What can’t you eat on the flexitarian weight-reduction plan?

To start, Blatner suggests reducing again on added sugars. They’re generally present in sweets and drinks corresponding to soda and your morning latte.

Next, since this weight-reduction plan is modifies the normal vegetarian weight-reduction plan, you’re going to chop again on meat— particularly crimson meats like beef, pork, lamb, veal, and goat. You can slowly section these out based on your consolation stage.

When you do go for meat, prioritize lean or white meats (corresponding to rooster and turkey) since they’re thought of extra healthful. Additionally, fish accommodates heart-healthy fat, making it a really perfect choice over crimson meat, too.

Man pouring out mixed nuts to get plant-based proteins on the Flexitarian Diet

What’s on the Flexitarian Diet meal plan?

This semi-vegetarian weight-reduction plan is damaged down into “Five Flex Food Groups” with accompanying rules and recommendations.

1. Plant-Based Protein

Opt for plant-based proteins, corresponding to:

  • lentils
  • quinoa
  • beans
  • nuts

2. Fruits + Veggies

This group contains your major sources of nutritional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as you:

  • emphasize sugar consumption from fruit (somewhat than processed sugars)
  • give attention to consuming a lot of greens

3. Whole-Wheat Grains

Prioritize whole-grain sources amongst:

  • pasta
  • bread
  • popcorn
  • brown rice

4. Low-Fat Dairy

Choose low-fat sources of dairy, together with:

  • fermented dairy (kefir)
  • yogurt

5. Spices + Other Flavorings

This class explores methods so as to add taste to meals whereas minimizing energy, by way of:

  • herbs and spices
  • salad dressings
  • wholesome fat

For a extra thorough Flexitarian Diet meal plan, there’s a “Five Week Flex” define included in Blatner’s e-book. Plus, there are lots accessible on-line as nicely.

However, she emphasizes that you just don’t must rigidly adhere to the designated meal plans and might make modifications at your individual tempo.

Couple at home sharing dinner on the Flexitarian Diet meal plan

Does analysis help the Flexitarian Diet’s claims?

First, there are a lot of research that counsel decreasing your consumption of crimson meat can profit your well being. Red meats are typically cooked or processed in a approach that produces dangerous chemical substances, which can be linked to the event of a number of critical well being circumstances.

Second, a 2017 assessment notes that out of 25 research, there’s vital proof demonstrating that following a Flexitarian Diet improves metabolic well being, blood stress, and lowers the danger of creating gastrointestinal misery.

Lastly, a 2020 research states that the Flexitarian Diet could also be more practical than conventional vegetarian or vegan diets at sustaining coronary heart well being. It additionally investigated younger adults’ motivations for selecting a Flexitarian life-style, discovering that the flexibility to compromise was a significant component. For occasion, contributors might partake in social eating and revel in occasional meals that included meat at their discretion.

Overall, there’s loads of proof that helps rising your fruit and vegetable consumption, decreasing crimson meat consumption, and consuming average quantities of lean meat are helpful to your well being.

A Dietitian’s Flexitarian Diet Review

As a registered dietitian, when it comes recommending explicit diets, I primarily assess that it:

  • doesn’t exclude any main meals teams
  • isn’t overly restrictive or unrealistic
  • is accessible for most individuals

The Flexitarian Diet permits for many selection and doesn’t totally take away anybody meals group. It encourages its followers to mindfully take heed to their physique’s cravings by consuming meat once in a while. It’s additionally extra accessible than different diets due to its wealth of choices and the company it offers to its dieters to make meals selections that finest swimsuit their wants.

I like that this weight-reduction plan empowers individuals as a substitute of asking them to mindlessly abide by guidelines and restrictions. Other diets might assume they must let you know what and how one can eat. Conversely, this weight-reduction plan emphasizes main a plant-based life-style whereas incorporating meat because the dieter sees match.

Above all, the Flexitarian Diet trains you to eat nicely, which implies it’s extra lifestyle-oriented. For this purpose, I really feel assured recommending this weight-reduction plan for individuals in search of pointers to steadiness their dietary consumption.

That mentioned, my solely caveat could be to keep away from long-term weight-reduction plan altogether. Instead, use nutritious diet plans corresponding to this one as “training wheels” you possibly can take off when you’re able to make everlasting dietary modifications.

Father and son preparing veggies for a healthy meal

How to Start a Flexitarian Diet

Before you soar into this weight-reduction plan, listed here are some ideas to assist guarantee your journey is profitable.

Check In with Your “Why”

Assess your motivations to start out this (or some other) weight-reduction plan. Some prompts embody:

  • Do you suppose it’s important to be on a weight-reduction plan to be wholesome?
  • Do you wish to discover new concepts of how one can change your consuming habits for the lengthy haul?
  • Are you trying to find a quick-fix weight reduction resolution?

Take a while to replicate, and be sincere with your self earlier than occurring a weight-reduction plan.

It’s finest to start out with a wholesome headspace, through which you already know that the result of the weight-reduction plan doesn’t outline you or your self-worth. Ideally, you’re seeking to make a long-term change and start a course of that allows loads of house to develop and adapt as you study.

Read the Book

Consider studying The Flexitarian Diet in full so that you higher perceive the reasoning behind the weight-reduction plan and get dietitian-approved meal plans.

Tip: Check your native library and see if they’ve a duplicate accessible. Otherwise, you should purchase a extra reasonably priced e-book model.

Stay Flexible

Diets aren’t for everybody, and each weight-reduction plan isn’t for everybody. Read: Go in with an open thoughts and don’t put an excessive amount of stress on your self.

Changing your life-style habits isn’t straightforward. Further, progress doesn’t occur in a single day. If you don’t see the outcomes you need after giving the Flexitarian Diet an sincere strive, think about taking a break or assembly with a registered dietitian to see what your different choices are.

Consult Your Doctor

Last however not least, you and your physician know your well being historical past higher than anybody else. For that purpose, it’s clever to fulfill together with your doctor any time you contemplating attempting out a brand new weight-reduction plan plan.