As a flexitarian, one may find themselves eating more natural, minimally-processed plant-based foods. This can help both planet’s and your overall health and well-being. Thistle makes being a flexitarian both easy and fun with our customizable plant-forward meal and protein options!
With more and more studies shedding light on the health and sustainability benefits of prioritizing whole foods and plant-forward meals, the plant-based movement is growing! Even meat-eaters are rethinking how they fill their plates in order to incorporate a higher volume of delicious plant-based dishes into their diet. However, a complete switch from omnivore to herbivore can be challenging and even unrealistic for many looking to add more plant-based foods to their meals.
At Thistle, we get it — we completely understand the importance of striking the right balance that works best for you. For some, that means going completely plant-based, but for others, that also means eating that occasional chicken burger when you fire up the grill, your favorite fish dish at your neighborhood seafood restaurant, or enjoying some sustainably-raised turkey on Thanksgiving.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you’re looking for ways to consume less meat, eat healthier, and do right by the environment—the flexitarian diet may be your answer. Built on a foundation of plant-based foods but free of major restrictions, a flexitarian diet is a semi-vegetarian diet that can help you balance the best of both worlds.
What Is a Flexitarian Diet?
Coined and created by dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner in her book The Flexitarian Diet, flexitarian = “flexible” + “vegetarian”. This means that the majority of your meals are plant-based but you can also incorporate meat, dairy, and eggs from time to time. The focus here is on what to “include” rather than “exclude”, with the overall goal of eating more plants and less meat. This way of eating prioritizes eating whole foods, while meat and other animal products are added in moderation.
What Do I Eat on a Flexitarian Diet?
Less of a “diet” and more of a lifestyle change, the underlying goal of a flexitarian diet is simple: eat more natural, minimally-processed foods including plants.
Your meal plans should revolve around natural foods from the earth (think whole grains, leafy green veggies, healthy oils, nuts, and tons of produce) along with plant protein and carbs (think: tofu, quinoa, beans, and lentils) while keeping processed foods and added sugars to a minimum.
The beauty of the flexitarian diet is that you have the flexibility to choose when, where, and if you want to eat meat. Whether this means choosing vegetarianism certain days of the week or only eating meat on special occasions, being flexitarian is meant to encourage healthy eating and more sustainable food choices without strict dietary restrictions.
The Health Benefits of a Flexitarian Diet
Limiting processed foods and prioritizing plant-based whole foods comes with a wide variety of perks to support your health and well-being. A research study from 2017 shows that embracing a diet filled with clean, plant-based foods can help to lower your blood pressure, prevent disease, and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating more plant-based foods, whole grains, and healthy fats can also help to keep your cholesterol in check while reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. By incorporating more antioxidant-rich nuts and seeds, you can also potentially lower your risk of cancer. A diet with less meat and more foods like avocados, black beans, brown rice, and chickpeas come packed with some serious health benefits overall.
A Flexitarian Diet Can Lighten Your Carbon Footprint
Practicing flexitarianism can not only improve your health but also improve the health of the planet. A UK study found that a vegan diet requires five times less water than a non-vegetarian diet, and produces 2.5 times fewer carbon emissions. Given that a plant-based diet can lower your food carbon footprint by up to 84%, even reducing your meat consumption by a few times a week can help make big strides for the environment. Eating more plant-forward meals is one of the biggest (and arguably one of the easiest) positive changes that you can make for yourself and for the planet. Educating yourself on the different types more sustainably sourced meat proteins can guide your decisions on what you want to eat.
Flexitarian Made Easy With Thistle Meals
At the end of the day, we’re all human—the most important thing is to find the best meal plan for your needs and long-term goals. If you feel that a flexitarian diet may be right for you, Thistle is here to help.
Thistle features nutritionist-designed meals and globally-inspired recipes that are dairy and gluten-free. We make it easy to embrace the delicious and healthy benefits of a flexitarian lifestyle. We ensure that each recipe is built with crave-worthy food groups while including essential vitamins, minerals, and superfoods. With our lunch and dinner meals, you can choose meals with sustainably sourced meat – chicken, turkey, pork, and seafood. With an emphasis on seasonal and sustainably sourced produce, our rotating menu of over five thousand meals is curated to satisfy your cravings and delight your palate while helping you to eat more plants.
Read the full article on Thistle’s website here.