If this is you, then you’re a Flexitarian

by Paula Vargas 524 views Supplements

If this is you, then you’re a Flexitarian

If you have partaken in Meatless Mondays or Tofu Tuesdays, you may be part of the Flexitarian party (note: a way of eating, some weird political party you’ve never heard of). Maybe you’re a meat-lover trying to reduce your meat consumption, but not quite committing to fully vegan or vegetarian – a vegetarian with benefits, the polyamorous of diets, if you will. If you’ve thought of yourself as ‘semi-vegetarian’, eating mostly plants but also your occasional share of meat here and there, you’ll be defined as a Flexitarian eater.

Let’s see how this looks with a sample daily meal plan:

  • Breakfast: Overnight oats with a scoop of plant protein, blueberries, chia seeds and almond milk.
  • Lunch: Roast chicken breast with a mixed greens salad, beetroot, caramelised walnuts and feta cheese.
  • Snack: Celery and almond butter.
  • Dinner: Vegetarian style ramen noodles.
  • Dessert: Strawberries with 85% dark chocolate.

As you can see, the focus is on minimisation, not exclusion. A little from column A (plants), a little from column B (meat). What this looks like for you might be different from the next person, and that’s the beauty of it. Depending on how far you want to take it, there are many ‘levels’ of being flexitarian, with no one size fits all. The focus is simply to incorporate more plants and reduce the amount of meat that you eat. 

How can you make Flexitarianism work for you?

Actively choose to increase your vegetable and fruit intake:

Unless you’re a carnivore, you already know and agree with the benefits of eating more plant-based foods. The challenge is, are you doing it? Australian dietary guidelines suggest at least 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit a day. According to the National Health Survey, Australian adults are eating only half or less than that. 
If you’re confident you’re having enough serves, how much variety are you getting? If you’re making the same old stir-fries, there’s probably room for some creativity. Check out what’s available at your local produce store and try something different today!

Reduce meat:

Find plant-based versions of the traditional meat recipes that you love. Make Meatless Mondays a regular event. Otherwise, simply decide certain day/days of the week are to be meat-free, or which meals are going to be completely plant-based. Can’t handle completely saying goodbye to meat in meals yet? Decrease the amount you have on your plate, and fill the rest with veg instead. Follow the recommendations to minimise or leave out processed and red meats, and opt for white meats such as chicken or fish instead. 

Choose quality over quantity:

Now that you’re eating meat less often, you can afford to make the wiser choices – opt for organic, grass-fed, and free-range meats where possible. Choose organic fruit and vegetables wherever you can, to support the highest level of nutrition and purity possible.

Make sure your nutrition is on point:

Collagen by Nature's Best

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Not eating meat doesn’t always mean healthier food choices come naturally – with the bombardment of tasty junk foods everywhere you look, there are tons of ‘vegan’ packaged foods that are far from healthy. Apart from the obvious (eat real food), you need to make sure you either supplement with or find dietary sources of key vitamins and minerals that plant-based eaters may be at higher risk of deficiency of – such as vitamin b12, omega 3s, iodine, iron and zinc.

As a flexitarian, you'll benefit from adding in a source of collagen to your diet, for skin and gut health. You can easily add in a collagen supplement to your morning coffee, smoothies or with water! By using it on a regular basis, your hair, skin and nails will thank you. 

Try a plant-based protein: 

Whether you’re full vego or not, you need adequate amounts of dietary protein every day. The exact amounts are always up for debate, but if you’re looking to make positive changes to your body composition and/or have higher activity levels, it’s generally accepted that you need higher amounts of protein. Maybe you’ve tried whey-based proteins before, and you enjoyed the taste, but they just didn’t agree with your gut. Or perhaps you just feel like going dairy-free would be a healthier option for you – plant-based proteins are fast becoming a popular choice and for a good reason!

More gym-goers are opting for a plant-based protein for animal welfare and health benefits. A new player in the game that you’d want to put the taste and macro-friendly test to is Nature’s Best Plant-Based Protein. Whether you’re training regularly or not, you’re probably looking for a formula that is going to give you the most bang for your buck – a protein that is super low in carbohydrates (especially sugars) and fats, so you get exactly what you’re paying for – a quality, satisfying protein with comprehensive amino acids.

Nature’s Best Plant-Based Protein ticks all the boxes – with 20g protein, only 2g carbohydrates, 0g sugar and 2g fats. A straight forward formula of certified organic, quality pea and brown rice protein with no fluff, so you know exactly what you’re getting. 

Plant-Based Protein by Nature's Best

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Final Thoughts

Warning: Side effects of a flexitarian diet may include more energy, enhanced general health and wellbeing, fat loss and mental clarity.

This way of eating will suit you if you’re to reduce your environmental footprint, and create a healthier you, whilst still having the option to be flexible when you need. You can begin making healthier food choices, without the pressure of going cold turkey (pardon the pun) on your favourite meats. Perhaps you just can’t imagine life without meat, or trying to vego but feeling guilty when you ‘slip up’ and accidentally eat some dairy. Remember, this way of eating isn’t about restrictive rules or dogma – you are in control of your own food choices.

 

Abs.gov.au. 2020. 4364.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 July 2020].

Nutrition Australia. 2020. Australian Dietary Guidelines: Recommended Daily Intakes | Nutrition Australia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 July 2020].


 

Paula Vargas

Fitness & Nutrition

I studied Law and Marketing at University, but my love for fitness and nutrition lead me to become a qualified PT and Precision Nutrition certified coach. 

If I’m not at the gym, you can catch me researching nutrition, supplements and human psychology. Let’s connect on Instagram! 

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