What is a flexitarian diet and why is it healthier?

What is a flexitarian diet and why is it healthier?

The flexitarian diet is a vegetarian diet with low consumption of animal products.

Today the food options are more and more varied: vegetarians, vegans, raw vegetables… We are concerned about what we eat, how it affects our health and, above all, we try to eat less and less meat.

  • According to last report carried out by the consulting firm Lantern, Spain is already one of the 10 countries where the largest population opts for a Mainly vegetable food.
  • Their data reveals that they are the women those who choose this model the most and whoThe main reason is health, although environmental or animal welfare arguments are also used.

In this upward trend, there has been a new diet: the flexitarian. A dietary proposal that has become one of the the most balanced.

But… what do flexitarians really eat, how is it different from the vegan diet, what health benefits does it bring? The Dr. Sonia Ruiz, dietician-nutritionist at the Teknon Medical Center and the Mi Tres Torres Clinic in Barcelonalet us know.

What is the flexitarian diet

The basis of this dietary proposal is a vegetarian diet with a low consumption of animal products. Dr. Ruiz explains the origin of the term and the reasons for its good acceptance:

  • The flexitarian name it is the result of combining the word “flexible” with “vegetarian”. In other words, it would be a flexible vegetarian diet, as animal products are not completely restricted and those eaten are of organic farming and sustainable fishing.
  • It’s very fashionable because there is a growing awareness and, therefore, a rejection of the massive animal exploitation and environmental impact generated by the consumption of animal parts.

It is a flexible vegetarian diet

  • This is why the flexitarian diet is a good option for those who want reduce meat consumption but what they do not impose it as a ban.
  • It can also be a first step for those who, over time, they want to end up being vegetarian or vegan.

the differences between being flexitarian and vegan

A flexitarian can go two or three whole days without trying an animal-based food, but veganism is so much more than that.

Vegans not only exclude meat, fish or eggs, but all products that involve an animal process, like honey for example.

  • veganism, said Dr. Ruiz, “It’s not just a diet, it’s also It’s a philosophy of life (maximum respect for animals and the environment) which also includes the exclusion of clothing with fabrics of animal origin (leather boots, leather jackets, etc.)“.

The flexitarian diet is not a philosophy of life like the vegan diet is

As in all diets, the figure of the dietician-nutritionist is essential to ensure that there are no nutritional deficiencies, but in the case of veganism it is essential, at a minimum, vitamin B12 supplementation and, if considered by the professional, with another nutrient.

What foods does a flexitarian eat?

The basis of their menus are:

  • Mainly vegetables and greens, which are combined with legumes, sprouts, nuts, whole grains, tubers, seaweed or seeds.
  • He usually also takes eggs and dairy products. Sometimes includes fish, shellfish or meat. And when he eats them, they are in addition to vegetablesnot as the main ingredient of the dish.

In any event, the flexitarian does not blame when, for example, he eats meat for social reasons, which a vegetarian would never do. Merely eat little meat for health reasons among other reasons, but does not imply a violation in your life when you consume it.

The flexitarian prefers foods of organic origin

Obviously, the flexitarian also pays attention to the origin of food: he prefers vegetables from ecological agriculturechoose products from sustainable fishing, Choose organic meat and with animal welfare certificate…

  • Are you worried about what you eat and strives to eat healthy. This is why it also rejects refined flours or pre-cooked foods. Ultimately, run away from the ultra-transformed (To tell if a product is, look at the label: if it contains more than 5 ingredients there is a greater risk that it will be ultra-processed).

Health Benefits of the Flexitarian Diet

Dr. Sonia Ruiz reminds us that when choosing a specific diet and reducing any food from our menus, it is recommended that Let’s go see a nutritionist so that he can make us a correct planning and that we do not lack nutrients. That said, if done right, the flexitarian diet has many health benefits:

  • It has a cardioprotective effect because it is low in saturated fat and rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Its contribution in fiber, antioxidants, preferably integral complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, helps prevent various chronic pathologies and reduces the risk of tumors such as the colon.

And it has a great advantage over the vegan diet: the sporadic consumption of fish and meat provides vitamins which, being a vegan, it is very possible to have a deficiency.

Example of a flexitarian menu for 2 days

1st day

  • Breakfast: Rye bread toast with chickpea pâté. Orange juice. 2 whole grain crackers with no added sugar.
  • Mid-morning: Two plums.
  • Food: Bulgur with arugula, raisins and sun-dried tomatoes. Vegetable burger. Kiwi.
  • To taste: Yogurt with 4 nuts.
  • Having dinner: Baked sea bass with zucchini and potatoes. Infusion.

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Oat flakes with vegetable milk. A slice of turkey. Two tangerines.
  • Mid-morning: Apple.
  • Food: Whole wheat pasta salad with broccoli, a handful of hazelnuts and basil sauce. Plain yogurt.
  • To taste: 2 brown rice cakes. Green tea.
  • Having dinner: Stir-fried vegetables with chia seeds and poached egg. A handful of cherries.


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