The various tags and names we have given the way we eat have become confusing. This article aims to de-bunk some of the misconceptions and this very confusion around the trend towards flexitarian eating and lifestyles.
The trend towards flexitarian lifestyles is prevailing in recent times as people look to find a middle way through what is a maze of extremes. The listicles and how to get healthy advisory articles all insist that you stick to certain foods, while the flexitarian diet allows you to eat all. There is a flexibility to this form of eating and living that has arguably been the main reason for its increase in popularity.
Flexitarianism is a way of eating or a lifestyle that looks to increase the number of vegetables but also eat other foods in moderation and in conjunction with a primarily plant-based diet.
Those who have popularized this lifestyle and way of eating have premised it on the fact that it is proven that increasing vegetables and fruits is a healthy way to eat. This type of diet will also go a long way towards improving health and wellbeing. The principles of flexitarian eating are:-
- Mostly fruit vegetables and whole grains are associated with lowered health risk for all sorts of health issues, not least type 2 diabetes.
- Focus on proteins from plants rather than animals. Pulses, beans, kales, and nuts are all top sources of plant-based proteins that can reduce the dietary dependence on animal-based proteins.
- Less processed food. There is a lot of hype about this, but essentially it is about avoiding highly processed foods, as most of our food is indeed processed in some way.
- Limited added sugars and sweets. The sugars to cut down on are those in fizzy drinks, sodas, candy, and sweets, and it’s about cutting back on these as well as the other sugary drinks, desserts, and sauces with added sugar.
The Other Essentials
Carbohydrates in one form or another are still critical elements of the flexitarian lifestyle, and it’s important to get them from healthy sources.
Knowing how to cook the perfect pasta, especially if it’s whole grain, will be part of most diet and lifestyle choices and, as such, is worth learning.
Meat & Proteins
The flexitarian lifestyle and way of eating aims to eat as much of your protein from vegetable sources, but there is no restriction ‘per se’ on meat and animal proteins. Protein must form a part of the diet, and as such, it is a lifestyle that those who like to eat meat and animal products will feel comfortable in.
Fun & Enjoyment
There must be an element of fun and enjoyment in the way we eat, and creating a healthy lifestyle around how we eat is better than following a strict diet. The flexitarian lifestyle encourages fun eating and generally eating what we enjoy, as long as we continue to follow the guiding principles.
The flexitarians profess no clear rules or set amounts of what to eat and what not to eat, and everything in moderation goes. No wonder it is a lifestyle that has been trending. Being able to follow a set of general principles rather than feeling restricted by a diet is one of the main reasons flexitarianism seems to be working and is so popular.