Author and Registered Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner says that eating primarily a vegetarian diet is a smart way to cut calories. As a matter of fact, a recent study showed that vegetarians tend to weigh less than meat-eaters. But, not everyone is willing to become 100% vegetarian. So, for these people, a new term has been coined, “Flexitarian”. This refers to people who eat a lot less meat than they used to, but don’t give it up completely.
Most people I know strive to eat less red meat (beef) and have gravitated towards more fish and chicken. The reasons are varied; 1) there tends to be less fat in fish and chicken 2) A big chunk of beef can be very hard to digest and stressful for the body to break it down and 3) Too many calories
So, it seems like a natural progression to a flexitarian diet.
How do you eat like a flexitarian? Calories count; whether you are a vegetarian or not. Even if you are eating less meat or even no meat, you have to keep track of portion control and calories.
There are lots of ways to do this; You can do “Meatless Mondays”; that’s where you eat plant-based meals and snacks that day. You can increase it to meatless for 3 or 4 days of the week. Some flexitarians eat a vegetarian diet for 6 days and then eat some fish or chicken, etc. one day a week. Listen to your body and it will tell you what you need.
So, if you have been reading my stuff or you go to boot camp/Special Ops, you know that I tout protein. Our bodies need protein to keep that muscle-building process alive as we train. If you are eating less meat, that may mean less protein. Here are some ways to add back in protein: 1) protein shakes 2) protein bars (Not sugary ones!) 3) lentils 4) Beans
The magic of the flexitarian nutritional plan is the variety. You are not locked into anything and your world abounds with options. Plus, you will soon notice that your waistline is thinner and your wallet is fatter without having to shell out big bucks for meat each week.
Give it a try! It might just be right for you!