Flexitarianism is on the rise. The drive to eat more plant-based foods comes as no surprise as people increasingly focus on healthier and more sustainable lifestyles.
What is a flexitarian?
We often think of plant-based diets as a black or white topic – you either follow a plant-based diet (vegetarian or vegan) or you don’t (meat eater). Yet, plant-based diets don’t always need to focus exclusively on plant foods.
The term flexitarian emerged around 1998 from the phrase “flexible vegetarian” (1, 2). Much like vegan or vegetarian diets, a flexitarian diet is predominantly plant-based. However, flexitarians may include smaller portions of meat, fish, or dairy in their meals from time to time. Although some may liken flexitarianism to an omnivore diet, flexitarians are considered semi-vegetarians and choose to abstain from eating animal-based foods with most meals.
Benefits of a Flexitarian Diet
There are many reasons people are flocking to a flexitarian lifestyle. And it’s not just for a love of plants!
As concerns over the environmental impact of food production continue to increase, many people are factoring sustainability into their food choices. Plant-based foods often contribute to efficient use of natural resources and a lower carbon footprint (3). Choosing predominantly plant-based foods alongside other ethically sourced options can help reduce environmental footprints while still allowing the most flexibility and choice.
The health benefits of vegetarian diets are well-established, and research suggests that people who choose mostly plant foods enjoy many of the same benefits as those who follow strictly plant-based diets (4). In one analysis, researchers evaluated the results of 25 studies on the health impact of a flexitarian diet. Their analysis found that a flexitarian eating pattern is linked to improvements in metabolic health and lower risk for chronic disease among other benefits (5).
How You Can Add More Plants to Your Diet
Plant-based diets have a reputation for being high maintenance. Yet, eating more fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds has never been easier.
Choose Plant-Based Proteins
Plant-based foods offer an abundant source of protein. Choosing a variety of plant protein foods throughout the day, including whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, provides a complete profile of essential amino acids.
- Legumes and pulses such as black beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas are rich in protein and high in fiber.
- Plant-Based Whole Blend IsaLean® Shake is a smooth and creamy-tasting option that delivers 24 grams of high-quality protein from fava beans, mung beans, and peas.
- Harvest Thins™ are a crunchy snack with 11 grams of nourishing pea protein to keep you feeling satisfied.
Eat a Rainbow
Choosing from a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the week can help you get the most benefit from plant-based nutrition.
- From dark green to red and orange to white, choosing vegetables with a variety of colors delivers the widest variety of nutritional benefits.
- Colorful fruits like bananas, avocados, apples, and berries are just a few options to choose from.
- Isagenix Greens can make it effortless to add more vegetables to your day with two servings of vegetables per scoop along with a blend of superfood ingredients including moringa, turmeric, and spirulina.
Whether you’re looking to eat more sustainably or simply wanting to experiment with a more plant-based diet, there are many benefits to a flexitarian eating plan. It’s possible to enjoy flexibility and choice while remaining focused on plant-based nutrition.
- Oxford English Dictionary. New words notes June 2014. Available from: https://public.oed.com/blog/june-2014-update-new-words-notes/
- Packaged Facts. (2020 October 29). Flexitarianism on the Rise in U.S., Reports Packaged Facts [Press release]. Flexitarianism on the Rise in U.S., Reports Packaged Foods. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/flexitarianism-on-the-rise-in-us-reports-packaged-facts-301154622.html
- Baroni L, Cenci L, Tettamanti M, Berati M. Evaluating the environmental impact of various dietary patterns combined with different food production systems. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007;61(2):279-286. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602522
- McEvoy CT, Temple N, Woodside JV. Vegetarian diets, low-meat diets and health: a review. Public Health Nutr. 2012 Dec;15(12):2287-94.
- Derbyshire EJ. Flexitarian Diets and Health: A Review of the Evidence-Based Literature. Front Nutr. 2017 Jan 6;3:55.