The Flexitarian Diet is based on the book written by author Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD. The idea behind the diet is to encourage people to transition to a more vegetarian lifestyle without having to give up the meat completely.
As a vegetarian myself, I am always looking for new meal plans and “diets” that focus on adding more plant based foods rather than only cutting back on processed foods. I feel like that is what makes this plan so successful. It is following the same principles as a vegetarian diet which is full of vegetables, fruits and other nutritious foods, while allowing you to still have some of that comfort food you’re use to but in small enough moderation that you will still see significant improvements in your weight and overall health.
The Idea Behind the Plan
The term flexitarian comes from two works: Flexible and vegetarian (pretty obvious, huh?) It allows you to be vegetarian most of the time but also gives you the flexibility to sprinkle in meat when the urge really hits you.
How It Works
Practicing the Flexitarian diet is largely about adding new food groups to your diet. Five new groups to be exact, “new meat” (organic non-GMO tofu, beans, peas, nuts, seeds and eggs), fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy and spices.
It includes a five week meal plan that provides you with options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and then snacks. The calorie breakdown is as follows: 300 calories for Breakfast, 400 calories for lunch, 500 calories for dinner and two 150 calorie snacks between your meals. Your total calorie intake for the day should be around 1,500. You can, of course, tweak this a bit depending on your age, gender, activity level, etc.
Is It Effective
The short answer is yes. Many studies have shown that vegetarians, on average, eat fewer calories, weight around 15% percent less and have a lower BMI than our meat eating friends. The point of the diet is to fill your body and tummies with low calorie, high nutrient foods like veggies, fruits and grains. You will feel more full throughout the day without intaking as much processed, sugar high calorie foods. Add a little light to moderate cardio in a few times a week and it’s a no brainer. Your health will improve and your weight will go down. It can also be highly beneficial in helping and preventing heart disease, diabetes and other various illnesses.
There is absolutely no indication or reports of any serious risks or adverse effects of the diet. After all you are just eating more natural, whole foods. However, as with any change in your diet, you should always consult your physician before starting and also let them know if you notice any difference after starting the diet.
How Much Does it Cost?
The diet itself shouldn’t cut into your wallet anymore than your normal diet, although you may find a slight increase in cost at the grocery store due to the larger amount of fresh produce you will be purchasing. In terms of the diet plan itself, there is no joining fee, but to get the meal plan, guidelines, and recipes you will need to purchase the book “The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life.” Long title isn’t it? You can either pick up a copy from your local bookstore or score one over at Amazon for under $15 bucks.
Whether your goal is to be healther or lose weight, this diet is an excellent starting point and more than that an excellent lifestyle choice. As I mentioned before, I have been vegetarian for quite some time now and the difference you will feel is amazing. Increased energy, smaller waist line, more clarity and focus, the list of benefits really is endless. I highly recommend this diet and hope that it encourages and helps you transition to a completely vegetarian diet! Try it out. You can do it!
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