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You have heard of being a vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and even other forms of vegetarian like an octo-ovo vegetarian. The flexitarian is yet another way to remove meat and animal products from your diet, but not completely. Instead of committing to never eating meat or fish again, you are more flexible with it. Flexitarians do eat much less meat than people who follow a typical diet, but still a little more than a vegetarian or vegan. Here is more information about this type of diet.
You Eat Less Meat and Animal Products
To start with, a flexitarian is close to a vegetarian in that you really don’t eat many animal products. The majority of your diet is made up of whole, plant-based foods, like lots of fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. While you might eat eggs and dairy on a regular basis, other animal products like meat and fish are pretty rare.
Your Diet Consists of Mainly Whole Foods
In addition to eating less meat, you probably have a healthier diet than the standard American diet. This consists of whole, clean foods, and less processed foods in general. That way, you know you are getting a good amount of nutrients, including enough protein and iron that you might have otherwise missed out on by not eating as much fish, poultry, and meat. If you eat too many processed foods, your protein will likely be much too low, and you may start noticing issues.
Most of Your Protein Comes from Plants
You still need protein when you are a flexitarian, but instead of getting your protein from animal sources, you will still get most of your protein from plant-based sources. People on a standard diet without restrictions, often start with their type of meat or poultry as the main protein of their meal. Instead of doing that, you will focus on plant-based types of protein, such as beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Some excellent sources of protein for people who follow the flexitarian lifestyle include:
- Chickpeas and other beans
- Nuts and nut butters
- Greek yogurt
The “Flex” in Flexitarian
As a flexitarian, you might still have some animal products, but far less than what other people eat. Maybe a couple days a week, you want to add chicken to your veggie stir-fry, or you go out to eat and the salmon sounds good. But overall, it is pretty limited and definitely not the bulk of your diet.