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Flexitarian Diet 101: Clearing Up Confusion, and Benefits

The Fynd

Fresh content for optimists.

Flexitarian Diet 101: Clearing Up Confusion, Benefits, & Meal Plan

by Carley, Move to Root

The term flexitarian diet” has been used habitually by the health, wellness, and food industries for many years now. We’ve seen it in blog posts and advertisements, on product packaging, and to describe celebrities and socialites. But do we even really know what flexitarian” means?

There seems to be some confusion around the flexitarian definition and we’re here to clear some of that up. We’ll also provide insight into the various benefits of a flexitarian diet as well as a sample flexitarian meal plan. Let’s dive in.

Flexitarian Diet: What is it?

As you likely gathered from its name, a flexitarian diet is a flexible vegetarian diet. A flexitarian may refer to themself as a semi-vegetarian or quasi-vegetarian. Unlike many other eating patterns, a flexitarian diet is described more accurately by what its observers do eat rather than the foods they choose to omit. In general, it can be thought of as a plant-heavy diet that incorporates animal foods in moderation. What is considered moderation,” you may wonder? Well, that depends on who you ask. Most flexitarians consume between 9 and 28 ounces of animal meat per week, and many also choose to limit their intake of dairy as well as other animal products1.

What does a flexitarian food list consist of? 

A typical flexitarian will consume a wide range of foods. This makes the flexitarian diet one of the most appealing and easy-to-follow dietary regimens. Many people are drawn to it because it’s simple, versatile, and encompasses all types of foods to some degree. For these reasons, the flexitarian diet is ranked as the #2 Best Diet Overall on U.S. News’ Best Diet Rankings after the Mediterranean Diet1.

Most flexitarians primarily eat vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, alternative proteins, oils, moderate amounts of eggs and dairy products, and, as we mentioned, a limited amount of meat and ultra-processed products.

Flexitarian Diet: Pros & Cons

There are numerous benefits of a flexitarian style of eating. Most revolve around health, ethics, and accessibility. Let’s explore some of the most significant advantages.

Potential Health Benefits 

For optimal health, dietitians across the globe recommend increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, and fungi like mushrooms or Nature’s Fynd’s Fy Protein™. A flexitarian diet consists precisely of that. A plant (and fungi!)-forward diet such as the flexitarian diet that focuses on reducing meat intake boasts health benefits such as a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and several types of cancers2. And the perks of a flexitarian lifestyle don’t stop at human health. Reduced meat and dairy intake also go hand-in-hand with environmental and animal welfare improvements. 

Environment and Animal Welfare Advantages

It’s no secret that the health of the environment is in jeopardy. There is indisputable evidence illustrating that the Earth is heating up at an alarming rate—a consequence primarily due to human activity3. A significant portion of environmental destruction is due to factory farming to produce animal products. Animal agriculture is responsible for nearly 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions—more than the combined exhaust from all modes of transportation4. A desire to offset these damages is one admirable reason why some individuals choose to transition to a flexitarian diet. Research indicates that adopting a more plant and fungi-focused flexitarian diet could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 52 percent5.

Ease of Compliance

Perhaps the most attractive characteristic of the flexitarian diet is its pliability. Rather than adhere to a strict set of rules, most flexitarians prefer to focus on one overarching goal: to reduce their consumption of animal products. What this means differs widely from flexitarian to flexitarian. Some may consume meat once or twice per week, while others choose only to eat animal products when no other options are available. Contrasted with more rigid diets like vegetarianism and veganism, the distinctive flexibility of the flexitarian diet makes it easy to follow and reduces pressure on its participants.

Sample Flexitarian Meal Plan

We get it—experimenting with a new lifestyle can be intimidating. That’s why we’ve put together this example of a flexitarian meal plan for you! You can use it as a model and swap the different meals out each week. 

Download this printable Flexitarian Meal Plan here and hang it in your kitchen for easy access!

The Takeaway

A flexitarian diet is an easy-to-follow regimen that can help improve your health, the health of the planet, and the welfare of animals. Whether it is your first step towards completely cutting out meat or your end goal, a flexitarian diet is, no doubt, a fantastic choice for you. 

Unsure of where to go from here? Start experimenting with some of our delicious fungi-based, flexitarian-friendly recipes!

1. https://​health​.cleve​land​clin​ic​.org/​w​h​a​t​-​i​s​-​t​h​e​-​f​l​e​x​i​t​a​r​i​a​n​-​diet/

2. https://​www​.heart​.org/​e​n​/​h​e​a​l​t​h​y​-​l​i​v​i​n​g​/​h​e​a​l​t​h​y​-​e​a​t​i​n​g​/​e​a​t​-​s​m​a​r​t​/​n​u​t​r​i​t​i​o​n​-​b​a​s​i​c​s​/​h​o​w​-​d​o​e​s​-​p​l​a​n​t​-​f​o​r​w​a​r​d​-​e​a​t​i​n​g​-​b​e​n​e​f​i​t​-​y​o​u​r​-​h​ealth

3. https://​cli​mate​.nasa​.gov/​e​v​i​d​ence/

4. https://​www​.fao​.org/​3​/​a​0701e/a…


6. https://​health​.cleve​land​clin​ic​.org/​w​h​a​t​-​i​s​-​t​h​e​-​f​l​e​x​i​t​a​r​i​a​n​-​diet/

7. https://​www​.health​line​.com/​n​u​t​r​i​t​i​o​n​/​f​l​e​x​i​t​a​r​i​a​n​-​d​i​e​t​-​g​u​i​d​e​#​w​h​a​t​-​is-it

8. https://​health​.cleve​land​clin​ic​.org/​w​h​a​t​-​i​s​-​t​h​e​-​f​l​e​x​i​t​a​r​i​a​n​-​diet/