The Flexitarian Diet: A Beginner’s Guide

The Flexitarian Diet is a type of eating that supports mainly plant-based foods while taking meat and other animal products in moderate amounts. It’s more flexible than vegetarian or vegan diets.

If you’re looking to add more plant foods to your diet but you don’t want to completely cut out meat, going on a flexitarian diet may be a better option.

This article gives a summary of the Flexitarian Diet, its benefits, the foods to eat, and the complications of this diet.

Flexitarian Diet

What Is Flexitarian Diet?

The Flexitarian Diet was founded by a nutritionist named Dawn Jackson Blatner to aid people get the benefits of vegetarian eating while still enjoying animal products in moderation.

That’s why the name of this diet is a blend of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian”.

Vegetarians omit meat and seldom other animal foods, while vegans totally limit meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and all animal food products. Flexitarians not considered vegetarians or vegans.

The Flexitarian diet is based on these policies:

  • Frequently eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Concentrate on plant protein instead of animal protein.
  • Be flexible and include meat and animal products from time to time.
  • Eat more natural food than processed food.
  • Cut down on added sugar and sweets.

What Are The Benefits Of Flexitarian Diet?

1. It Helps In Weight Reduction:

Flexitarian Diet may also be good for weight reduction. This is partly because flexitarians restrict high-calorie, processed foods and eat more plant-based foods that are more moderate in calories.

Several studies have revealed that people who follow a plant-based diet have a liability to lose more weight than those who do not.

Because the Flexitarian Diet is closer to a vegetarian diet than a vegan diet, it may aid weight reduction but probably not as much as a vegan diet would.

2. It Helps Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes [Type 2] is a global health disease. Eating a healthy diet, especially a plant-based one may help prevent and maintain this disease.

This is possible because plant-based diets help weight reduction and contain foods that are high in fiber and low in toxic fats and added sugar.

A study in over 60,000 people discovered that the predominance of diabetes[Type 2] was 1.5% lower in vegetarians or flexitarians compared to non-vegetarians.

3. It’s Good For The Environment

The Flexitarian Diet may benefit your wellness and also the environment. Reducing meat consumption can help save natural resources by lowering greenhouse gas discharges, as well as land and water use.

A summary of the research on the longevity of plant-based diets discovered that changing from the normal diet to a flexitarian diet where meat is partly replaced by plant foods, could decrease greenhouse gas discharges by 7%.

Consuming more plant-based foods will also push the need for more land to be dedicated to planting fruits and vegetables for humans rather than of feed for livestock.

4. It Can Help Prevent Cancer

Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes all have nutrients and antioxidants that may help inhibit cancer.

A 7 year case study on colorectal cancers in 78,000 people discovered that semi-vegetarians were 8% less likely to get colorectal cancer, compared to non-vegetarians.

Hence, incorporating more vegetarian foods by eating a flexitarian diet may reduce cancer risk.

5. Heart Diseases

Diets rich in fiber and healthy fats are good for your heart health. Research following 45,000 adults over 11 years discovered that vegetarians had a 32% lower risk of heart disease, compared to non-vegetarians.

This is due to the fact that vegetarian diets are often abundant in fiber and antioxidants that may decrease blood pressure and boost good cholesterol.

Since these studies studied strictly vegetarian diets, it’s tough to evaluate if the Flexitarian Diet would have the same effect on blood pressure and heart disease risk.

Nevertheless, the flexitarian diet is meant to be based on plant food and will likely have advantages similar to vegetarian diets.

What Kind Of Food Do Flexitarians Eat?

Flexitarians focus on plant proteins and other small processed plant foods while limiting animal products.

Foods to eat regularly include:

  • Proteins: Tofu, Soybeans, tempeh, legumes, lentils.
  • Non-starchy vegetables: Brussels sprouts, Greens, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers.
  • Starchy vegetables: Sweet potato, Winter squash, peas, corn.
  • Fruits: Cherries, Apples, oranges, berries, grapes.
  • Grains: Farro, Quinoa, teff, buckwheat,.
  • Nuts, fats, seeds: Avocados, almonds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, peanut butter, olives, coconut.
    • Plant-based milk options: Soy milk, Unsweetened almond, coconut, and hemp.
    • Herbs and seasonings: Cumin, basil, oregano, ginger, mint, thyme, turmeric.
    • Condiment: Apple cider vinegar, reduced-sodium soy sauce, salsa, mustard, ketchup without added sugar, nutritional yeast.
    • Drinks: Sparkling water, coffee, tea.
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Downside Of The Flexitarian Diet

When flexitarian is well planned, they can be very healthy.

Still, some people may be at risk of nutrient deficiencies when they curb out meat and other animal products depending on the sufficiency of their other food choices.

Possible nutrient deficiencies to be aware of on the Flexitarian eating include:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Keep in mind that eating flexitarian gives you the flexibility to eat varying amounts of meat and animal products. If the diet is well planned and includes a diversity of whole foods, nutritional deficiencies may not be a problem.


The Flexitarian Diet concentrates on healthy plant proteins and other whole, minimally processed plant-based foods but supports meat and animal products in moderate amounts.

Eating flexitarian food may aid weight reduction and lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. It may even be good for the environment.

However, planning your flexitarian food choices well is vital to restrict nutritional deficiencies and get the most health benefits.

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