Semi vegetarian diet plan

While there are many health benefits to being vegetarian, some of us don’t want to completely cut out meat.

This is the idea behind the flexitarian diet, which reduces meat intake instead of avoiding it altogether.

This article discusses the potential benefits and risks of following a flexitarian diet to help you decide if it’s a good plan for you.

Contents

What Is a Flexitarian Diet?

“Flexitarianism” is essentially what it sounds like: a flexible vegetarian diet.

A person who identifies as flexitarian might eat meat occasionally, but does not include it as a regular part of their normal diet.

Most often, those who prefer not to eat meat do so for health or ethical reasons (or both). The same can be said for flexitarians looking to improve their overall health and lessen their impact on the environment.

Summary: Flexitarianism means eating a flexible vegetarian diet, which reduces meat intake instead of completely cutting it out. This may be a decision based on health or ethical reasons (or both).

Will a Flexitarian Diet Promote Weight Loss and Improve Overall Health?

In short, yes, if we first look at the benefits of a vegetarian diet.

Studies have found that those who eat a vegetarian diet are more likely to have a body mass index (BMI) that falls within the normal range.

This may be because vegetarians are likely to consume more fruit and vegetables, which are low in calories and high in fiber — two major components in promoting weight loss.

Additionally, vegetarians tend to have an increased life expectancy compared with meat-eaters. Several studies have found that people who eat a diet high in fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains have a lower risk of both cardiovascular disease and cancer – two of our biggest killers (1, 2).

This is likely due to the high amount of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals and plant protein found in such foods (3, 4).

Meanwhile, observational studies indicate that eating red meat may lead to an increase risk of cancers, including colorectal cancer. Avoiding or limiting red meat can help reduce this risk (5).

That said, compared to a vegetarian, a flexitarian will benefit from getting important nutrients — such as protein, vitamin B12, and iron — that are highly concentrated in meat.

Interestingly, among diabetics, eating a diet low in red meat has also been shown to improve blood sugar levels (6, 7, 8). But at the same time, a low carb diet can help diabetics too.

So it seems a flexitarian eating pattern can be healthy for a range of people. As you’d expect, those who eat a semi-vegetarian diet tend to have lower BMIs, lower risk of breast cancer and lower blood glucose levels compared to those who eat meat often (9).

Summary: Flexitarians may experience similar benefits as vegetarians, who typically weigh less and have higher life expectancies. Eating a diet low in meat is also linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Health Risks of Flexitarianism

Changing your diet in any way may come with some unexpected risks.

As mentioned above, meat is an excellent source of dietary protein, as well as zinc, iron and vitamins like B1, B2, B3 and B12.

This means flexitarians need to be sure they’re getting these nutrients from other sources when cutting down on meat.

For example, limiting red meat may increase your risk of iron deficiency anemia. Flexitarians may want to increase their intake of plant foods like soybeans, chickpeas, quinoa and lentils — all good sources of iron (9).

You’ll also want to seek out high-protein plant foods, such as nuts, seeds, lentils, tofu and beans. This graph gives you an idea of the protein content of many plant foods:

Image source

Summary: Eating a flexitarian diet may lead to deficiency in iron, as well as other essential nutrients like protein, zinc and B12. Flexitarians need to be sure they’re getting these nutrients from both meat and plant sources.

Who Should (and Shouldn’t) Consider a Flexitarian Diet?

If you are overweight, at increased cardiovascular risk (including those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes or people with a family history of metabolic health issues) or have ethical concerns about eating meat, you may benefit from adopting a flexitarian lifestyle.

However, you should discuss this diet with your doctor or dietitian if you have:

  • Iron deficiency or any other type of anemia
  • Dietary allergies or intolerances that limit your intake of non-meat foods
  • A history of eating disorders or drastically restricting your diet.

Summary: Those who are overweight or at increased cardiovascular risk may benefit from following a flexitarian diet. Anyone with existing health problems should discuss the decision with their doctor or dietitian first.

How to Become Flexitarian

If you currently eat meat, it’s best to make small, gradual changes to your diet.

Consider tracking your meat intake for one week. Write down every portion of meat consumed for seven days.

The following week, aim to reduce meat intake by around one serving (approximately 85 grams or 3 ounces). Continue doing this week by week until your weekly meat intake equates to less than five servings per week.

It’s useful to observe when your largest intake of meat is likely to occur. For most people, this will be dinner. Replace meat in the evening meal with vegetarian options or meat substitutes.

Because the flexitarian diet is, by definition, flexible, you can choose how much meat you wish to consume. Continue to gradually lessen your meat consumption until you reach a point that feels right to you.

See below for ways to incorporate this idea into a meal plan.

Summary: To adopt a flexitarian lifestyle, gradually reduce meat intake by cutting out one serving a week.

2-Day Sample Flexitarian Diet Plan

Day 1

Breakfast: Omelette with eggs, cheese and selected vegetables as desired (e.g. mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers)

Lunch: Sandwich on wholegrain bread with cottage cheese, lettuce, tomato, grated carrot, cucumber

Dinner: Pasta with vegetarian sauce

Snacks: Fruit, nuts, yogurt

Day 2

Breakfast: Rolled oats with milk and berries

Lunch: Sandwich on wholegrain bread with egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato, alfalfa sprouts, beetroot

Dinner: Roast vegetables with tofu and couscous

Snacks: Fruit, nuts, yogurt.

Is a Flexitarian Diet Right for You?

There is no one perfect diet.

In fact , the best diet for you may very well be different to me.

What I like about the flexitarian diet is that it allows for flexibility.

This places the diet among the more sensible and sustainable methods of eating (unlike the ketogenic diet) as it doesn’t require strict dietary restriction.

Overall, reducing meat intake may offer many health benefits, particularly if you are already overweight or experience metabolic health issues. Meat is high in calories so reducing your intake will be beneficial.

To start, try cutting out one serving of meat (about 3 ounces) every week. But note that those with existing health problems, including iron deficiency or other anemias, should talk to their doctor or a dietitian first.

Making these types of slow, gradual changes to your diet will lead to longer lasting changes and hopefully a beautiful relationship with food and your health.

Why You Should Seriously Consider Following a Flexitarian Diet

Westend61/Getty Images

Maybe you’re a vegetarian who craves a burger every now and then (and don’t want to get shade for “cheating”). Or you’re a straight-up carnivore looking to lighten up on your meat-eating ways for health reasons. (After all, vegetarians live 3.5 years longer than meat eaters.) Well, good news, there’s an eating plan for you. It’s called the flexitarian diet plan, a buzzy way of eating that Dawn Jackson Blatner outlined in her book The Flexitarian Diet. (Jackson Blatner also put together the 30-Day Shape Up Your Plate Healthy Eating Meal Plan.) Don’t let the word “diet” throw you off-flexitarianism is more an overall way of eating/lifestyle, and no, it’s not difficult to maintain…hence the flex for flexible.

Essentially, it means you’re a flexible vegetarian. You eat tofu, quinoa, tons of produce, and other vegetarian favorites, but you’re also allowed to occasionally eat meat and fish. Sounds straightforward enough, right? Here, dive into the details including the pros and cons of this way of eating.

So, just how much meat are you allowed to eat?

True to its name, the diet is flexible, but there are some guidelines about how much meat you should eat. According to Blatner’s book, brand-new flexitarians should forgo meat two days a week and divvy up 26 ounces of meat over the remaining five days (for reference, a card-deck-sized portion of meat is about 3 ounces, while a restaurant-sized piece is around 5, says Pam Nisevich Bede, a dietitian with Abbott’s EAS Sports Nutrition). The next tier (advanced flexitarians) follow a vegetarian diet three or four days a week and consume no more than 18 ounces of meat over the remaining days. Finally, an expert-level flexitarian is allowed 9 ounces of meat two days a week and goes meat-free the other five.

Following a flexitarian diet plan isn’t as much about slashing meat consumption as it is about prioritizing veggie-rich dishes. Grains, nuts, dairy, eggs, beans, and produce have a place in the diet, but processed foods and sweets should be avoided. “It’s more than cutting down on the meat, it’s cutting down on the processed food,” says Laura Cipullo, R.D., of Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition in New York.

Benefits of following a flexitarian diet

All of the plus sides to being a vegetarian carry over to this diet. There’s the environmental aspect since cutting down on your meat and fish intake lightens your carbon footprint, and the many health perks. Following a vegetarian diet has been shown to lower your risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, and vegetarians tend to have lower BMIs than meat eaters, according to this Polish study. Plus, since you’ll still be eating some meat, you won’t have to worry quite as much about getting a sufficient amount of protein and nutrients like B vitamins and iron. (That’s also a strength of the pescatarian diet.)

The other major advantage is the diet’s straightforwardness and flexibility. “I love the flexitarian diet because it doesn’t necessarily pigeon hole you into one way of eating or another,” says Bede. “We know that certain diets like vegetarian or vegan sometimes get to be a little bit too restrictive, and the more flexibility that you can introduce while still staying on a regimen is a good thing.” (Check out the most commonly deficient nutrients for vegetarians and vegans.)

Those who are used to counting calories religiously might find the flexibility frustrating, but for everyone else, the open-ended nature may make the flexitarian diet easier to stick to since you’re less likely to feel deprived. Thanksgiving turkey or barbecue on your trip to Austin? Both are fair game here.

Finally, filling your shopping cart with plant-based proteins, like soy, lentils, and beans, could also help you save some money on your grocery bill, too, says Bede.

Downsides to Eating Less Meat

If you’re a big-time carnivore, changing your ways can be tough, especially if you just can’t feel satisfied after a meatless meal. “You’ll get hungry and then start eating tons of carbs and nuts to get the protein you need, so you may take in more calories than you would if you just took in more animal protein,” says Cipullo. To combat those constant hungry feelings, active women should aim for 30 grams of protein at each meal, says Bede. That’s pretty simple for meat eaters, but flexitarians will need to be more strategic and look for protein to come from plant-based sources. “If you’re just eating a spinach salad, there’s no way you’re going to hit it, but if you throw in some lentils, tofu, or a protein shake, you can absolutely get to that target,” says Bede.

You’ll also have to pay closer attention to your levels of B12, vitamin D, iron, and calcium. Look for dairy or nut milks fortified with calcium and vitamin D, says Cipullo. And if you’re already dealing with an iron deficiency, stick to just two or three days a week eating vegetarian rather than pushing it to five, she says.

The Bottom Line

Vegetarians and vegans may view flexitarians as cop-outs who are trying to have their cake and eat it too. But setting out to eat more vegetable-heavy meals rather than refined and processed foods can have a big positive impact on your health. So should you go for it? Both Bede and Cipullo say absolutely. “This is a diet we can all embrace and think about, if nothing else to introduce new variety,” says Bede. Even just giving up meat for one meal or one day is a step in the right nutritional direction. (Start with these 15 vegetarian recipes even meat-eaters will love.)

  • By Moira Lawler

Even if you’ve read up on every last benefit of going vegetarian (it’s better for the planet, better for your health, and, of course, kinder to the animals), the idea of saying good-bye forever to your Grandma’s meatballs or your favorite Thai restaurant’s chicken satay may seem like too much of a sacrifice. But with the Flexitarian diet it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

What is the Flexitarian diet?

The diet emphasizes plant-based foods most of the time, but also leaves wiggle room for the occasional meaty indulgence. “This was inspired by my personal situation,” explains Flexitarian nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D. “As someone who has studied different ways people eat in the world, I know that eating a plant-based diet lowers your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and I was like, ‘um, hi, I want that!’” But Blatner still found herself grabbing a hot dog at a baseball game and eating turkey on Thanksgiving, making her feel like a “bad” vegetarian. “And then I thought,’this isn’t a bad way of being a vegetarian, it’s a flexible way of being a vegetarian. It’s vegetarian-ish,’” she says with a laugh.

Blatner put together the words flexible and vegetarian, and created the mostly (but not entirely) plant-based plan, which she outlined in her 2009 book, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Lifet The diet focuses on foods such as beans, nuts, whole grains, and produce, but, as she says, “it’s not anti-meat.”

How often do flexitarians eat meat?

Depending on your commitment, there is room for up to 28 ounces of lean meat or poultry per week — though as you add more delicious vegetarian meals to your roster, you may drop down to just 3 ounces of meat up to three times a week. For weight loss, Blatner recommends you stick to a Flexitarian diet that provides around 1,500 calories per day.

Is the flexitarian diet healthy?

In the decade since Blatner first introduced the Flexitarian diet, it has taken on a life of its on, with the word “flexitarian” even being added to the venerable Oxford English Dictionary in 2014. It has also consistently ranked near the top of U.S. News & World Report’s best overall diets. Not only is the flexible and forgiving plan easy to follow, but it brings real results: A 2017 review found that people who follow a semi-vegetarian diet had lower body weight than those who regularly ate meat, as well as lower incidence of metabolic disease and lowered risk for type-II diabetes.

Westend61Getty Images

If you’re interested in giving the diet a try, here’s how to get started:

Choose your level:

If you’re a big-time meat eater and simply want to cut down, it’s easy to ease in to the Flexitarian diet, says Blatner. “I recommend three different levels of the diet: Beginner, Advanced, and Expert,” she says.

Beginner: “There are 21 meals a week — you can start by having just 7 meatless meals a week.” That simply means if you need to have bacon or ham with your breakfast, make your lunch or dinner meat-free that day.

Advanced: Aim for up to 14 meatless meals a week, which means you still get to eat your burger or turkey sandwich once a day.

Expert: At this level, you’re only eating meat 6 or less times per week — or going entirely meatless for weeks, only indulging on special occasions. Blatner suggests you save these for “meaningful meat moments” — a family barbecue where everyone is enjoying burgers together, a holiday meal centered around a turkey or goose, a special dinner out at your partner’s favorite steakhouse. “Another big meat moment is travel,” says Blatner. “There’s no better way to experience a different culture then to taste their food, and this diet gives you room to enjoy it.”

Learn to re-portion your plate:

When you do eat meat, consider it a side dish instead of the main, says Blatner. “Instead of having a ginormous piece of meat as the center of the plate — which is the traditional American style — it should just be a quarter of the plate, with another quarter filled with whole grains, and then the remaining 50% vegetables.”

cobraphotoGetty Images

Reinvent old favorites:

There are a few kinds of meat that just can’t be realistically replaced with plants (hello, T-bone steak). But a surprising number of meat-based dishes can be given an easy veggie makeover, says Blatner. “If you love tacos, how about doing bean tacos? If you enjoy a chicken stir-fry, you can replace the chicken with edamame or tofu,” she says, adding that for every 1 ounce of meat, you can swap in ¼ cup of beans. Blatner adds that although plant-based burgers such as Beyond and Impossible have the mouth feel and juiciness of a beef burger, she prefers to swap them out for burgers made with beans, which are lower in saturated fat and calories than the faux-meat ones.

Refresh your recipe list:

Emphasizing that the Flexitarian diet is more about adding delicious new foods to your life than taking things away, Blatner is most enthusiastic about this step: “This is where you’re actually trying new recipes, and it’s where I feel people get some real eye-opening in their lives,” she says. She suggests you try out one new vegetarian recipe each week. You can look them up on blogs, web sites, magazines, cookbooks, and right here. “Not every recipe is going to be a keeper, but if you try 50 new ones in a year, and you love 10 of them, that’s going to make it so much easier to cook vegetarian going forward.”

Good Housekeeping Everyday Vegan: 85+ Plant-Based Recipes amazon.com $16.95

Here are Blatner’s suggestions for your first three days of meals, with options for both meat and veggies:

DAY 1

Breakfast:

Avocado Toast: sprouted whole grain toast, avocado, spinach, and egg

Lunch:

Kale Ranch Bowl: chicken or chickpeas, chopped kale/tomatoes, roasted sweet potato cubes, and ranch dressing

Dinner:

Tacos: seasoned white fish or lentils, corn tortillas, cabbage slaw, guacamole, and salsa

DAY 2

Breakfast:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal: oatmeal, natural peanut butter, and chopped apple

Lunch:

Mexican Bowl: chicken or black beans, chopped romaine/peppers, brown rice, guacamole, and salsa

Mediterranean Plate: chicken or chickpeas, cucumber/tomato/feta salad, and lemon-dill brown rice

DAY 3

Green Belly Smoothie: 2% plain kefir, rolled oats, banana, and spinach

Asian Bowl: chicken or edamame, coleslaw mix, quinoa, and ginger dressing

Burger Night: beef or bean burger, sweet potato fries, and veggie dippers w/ ranch

Marisa Cohen Marisa Cohen Marisa Cohen is a Contributing Editor in the Hearst Health Newsroom, who has covered health, nutrition, parenting, and the arts for dozens of magazines and web sites over the past two decades.

Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.

Mediterranean and vegetarian diets

What is the evidence that plant-based eating patterns are healthy? Much nutrition research has examined plant-based eating patterns such as the Mediterranean diet and a vegetarian diet. The Mediterranean diet has a foundation of plant-based foods; it also includes fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt a few times a week, with meats and sweets less often.

The Mediterranean diet has been shown in both large population studies and randomized clinical trials to reduce risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers (specifically colon, breast, and prostate cancer), depression, and in older adults, a decreased risk of frailty, along with better mental and physical function.

Vegetarian diets have also been shown to support health, including a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and increased longevity.

Plant-based diets offer all the necessary protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health, and are often higher in fiber and phytonutrients. However, some vegans may need to add a supplement (specifically vitamin B12) to ensure they receive all the nutrients required.

Vegetarian diet variety

Vegetarian diets come in lots of shapes and sizes, and you should choose the version that works best for you.

  • Semi-vegetarian or flexitarian includes eggs, dairy foods, and occasionally meat, poultry, fish, and seafood.
  • Pescatarian includes eggs, dairy foods, fish, and seafood, but no meat or poultry.
  • Vegetarian (sometimes referred to as lacto-ovo vegetarian) includes eggs and dairy foods, but no meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.
  • Vegan includes no animal foods.

8 ways to get started with a plant-based diet

Here are some tips to help you get started on a plant-based diet.

  1. Eat lots of vegetables. Fill half your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner. Make sure you include plenty of colors in choosing your vegetables. Enjoy vegetables as a snack with hummus, salsa, or guacamole.
  2. Change the way you think about meat. Have smaller amounts. Use it as a garnish instead of a centerpiece.
  3. Choose good fats. Fats in olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados are particularly healthy choices.
  4. Cook a vegetarian meal at least one night a week. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables.
  5. Include whole grains for breakfast. Start with oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, or barley. Then add some nuts or seeds along with fresh fruit.
  6. Go for greens. Try a variety of green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, and other greens each day. Steam, grill, braise, or stir-fry to preserve their flavor and nutrients.
  7. Build a meal around a salad. Fill a bowl with salad greens such as romaine, spinach, Bibb, or red leafy greens. Add an assortment of other vegetables along with fresh herbs, beans, peas, or tofu.
  8. Eat fruit for dessert. A ripe, juicy peach, a refreshing slice of watermelon, or a crisp apple will satisfy your craving for a sweet bite after a meal.

Inspiration for plant-based eating throughout the day

Over time, eating a plant-based diet will become second nature. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Breakfast:

  • Rolled oats with walnuts, banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Breakfast wrap: Fill a whole-wheat tortilla with scrambled egg, black beans, peppers, onions, Monterey jack cheese, and a splash of hot sauce or salsa.
  • Whole-wheat English muffin topped with fresh tomato and avocado slices, and blueberries.

Lunch:

  • Greek salad: Chopped mixed greens with fresh tomato, Kalamata olives, fresh parsley, crumbled feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Whole-wheat pita on the side, fresh melon for dessert.
  • Tomato basil soup, whole-grain crackers with tabbouleh, and an apple.
  • Vegetarian pizza topped with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, peppers, and mushroom. Fresh strawberries for dessert.

Dinner:

  • Grilled vegetable kabobs with grilled tofu, and a quinoa and spinach salad.
  • Whole-wheat pasta with cannellini beans and peas, and a romaine salad with cherry tomatoes, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Vegetarian chili with a spinach-orzo salad.

The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life

The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life PDF TagsOnline PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Read PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Full PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, All Ebook The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, PDF and EPUB The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, PDF ePub Mobi The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Reading PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Book PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, read online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Dawn Jackson Blatner pdf, by Dawn Jackson Blatner The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, book pdf The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, by Dawn Jackson Blatner pdf The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Dawn Jackson Blatner epub The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, pdf Dawn Jackson Blatner The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, the book The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Dawn Jackson Blatner ebook The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life E-Books, Online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Book, pdf The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life E-Books, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Online , Read Best Book Online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Read Online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Book, Read Online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life E-Books, Read The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Online , Read Best Book The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Online, Pdf Books The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Read The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Books Online , Read The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Full Collection, Read The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Book, Read The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Ebook , The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life PDF read online, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Ebooks, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life pdf read online, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Best Book, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Ebooks , The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life PDF , The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Popular , The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Read , The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Full PDF, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life PDF, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life PDF , The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life PDF Online, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Books Online, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Ebook , The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Book , The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Full Popular PDF, PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Read Book PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Read online PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Popular, PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life , PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Ebook, Best Book The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Collection, PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Full Online, epub The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, ebook The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, ebook The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, epub The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, full book The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, online pdf The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, pdf The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Book, Online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Book, PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, PDF The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Online, pdf The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, read online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Dawn Jackson Blatner pdf, by Dawn Jackson Blatner The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, book pdf The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, by Dawn Jackson Blatner pdf The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Dawn Jackson Blatner epub The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, pdf Dawn Jackson Blatner The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, the book The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, Dawn Jackson Blatner ebook The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life E-Books, Online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Book, pdf The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life E-Books, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life Online , Read Best Book Online The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life

The Flexitarian Diet The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight Be Healthier Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life Dawn Jackson Blatner on Amazon com FREE span class news dt 20 01 2017 span nbsp 0183 32 Price The Flexitarian Diet The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight Be Healthier Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life Dawn Jackson Blatner … Download PDF The Flexitarian Diet The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight Be Healthier Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life For Full Read PDF The Flexitarian Diet The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight Be Healthier Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life Download file PDF …The Flexitarian Diet The Mostly Vegetarian Way To Lose Weight Be add years to your life dawn jackson blatner Be Healthier Prevent Disease And Add PDF Download The Flexitarian Diet The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight Be Healthier The Flexitarian Diet The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight Be Healthier Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life Dawn Jackson Blatner The Flexitarian Diet The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight Be Healthier Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life Ebook Summary Download Download the flexitarian approach or read The Flexitarian Diet The Mostly Vegetarian Way To Lose Weight Be Healthier Prevent Disease And Add Years To Your Life The Flexitarian Diet The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life Dawn Jackson Blatner gives us a smart new approach to

Book Details

Author : Dawn Jackson Blatner

Pages : 304 pages

Publisher : McGraw-Hill Education 2010-06-16

Language : English

Book Synopsis

Title: The Flexitarian Diet( The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight Be Healthier Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life) Binding: Paperback Author: DawnJacksonBlatner Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Recipe pictured above: Vegetable tagine with apricot quinoa

Flexitarianism or ‘casual vegetarianism’ is an increasingly popular, plant-based diet that claims to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health with an eating regime that’s mostly vegetarian yet still allows for the occasional meat dish. The rise of the flexitarian diet is a result of people taking a more environmentally sustainable approach to what they eat by reducing their meat consumption in exchange for alternative protein sources.

We asked dietitian Emer Delaney for her view…

What does ‘flexitarian’ mean?

Following a flexitarian diet highlights an increased intake of plant-based meals without completely eliminating meat. It is about adding new foods to your diet as opposed to excluding any, which can be extremely beneficial for health. These plant-based foods include lentils, beans, peas, nuts and seeds, all excellent sources of protein.

It is also widely accepted that soluble fibre found in lentils and beans helps to reduce high cholesterol as part of a healthy diet, so including these regularly is definitely recommended. Nuts and seeds such as linseed (flaxseed), pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts are high in the heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats which help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and provide essential fatty acids. Research has shown that practicing a flexitarian diet in conjunction with physical activity can promote a lifestyle consistent with recommendations for reducing risks of breast and prostate cancer.

Read more about high fibre diets.

What are the healthiest meats to include?

When people do choose to eat meat, opting for good quality lean meat is best, such as chicken or turkey. I would advise having processed meats such as bacon, sausages, salami, ham and pâtés very occasionally as they are high in both saturated fat and salt and provide very little in the way of vitamins and minerals. Research from the World Health Organisation found that eating 50 grams of processed meat every day may increase the risk of colorectal cancer, so it’s best to limit these foods.

Read more about how much meat is safe to eat.

How can I ensure I’m getting all the nutrients I need from a flexitarian diet?

If you’re thinking about changing to a flexitarian diet, I would advise plant-based foods at every meal, at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and wholegrain foods. It is a good idea to include alternative sources of iron that may be lacking due to a low intake of red meat. Good sources include low sugar, iron-fortified breakfast cereals and dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, kale and broccoli. As vitamin C increases iron absorption, a small glass (150ml) of fruit juice or salad items like sweet peppers, lamb’s lettuce and tomatoes with meals is recommended.

Read more about how to get enough iron as a vegetarian.

Flexitarian recipe suggestions…

Vegetable tagine with apricot quinoa
Double bean & roasted pepper chilli
Indian sweet spotato dhal pies
Spring chicken in a pot
Spicy chicken salad with broccoli

Like this? Read more…

What counts as five-a-day?
What is a balanced diet for vegetarians?
11 things you find out when you start eating 10-a-day

This article was last reviewed on 4th July 2018 by Kerry Torrens.

Emer Delaney BSc (Hons), RD has an honours degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Ulster. She has worked as a dietitian in some of London’s top teaching hospitals and is currently based in Chelsea.

A nutritionist (MBANT) Kerry Torrens is a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food magazine. Kerry is a member of the The Royal Society of Medicine, Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT).

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

Have you tried following a flexitarian diet? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below…

(Picture: Getty)

As part of our ever-growing quest to consume less animal products in a bid to save the planet, you’ve probably come across the term flexitarian.

Our first thought was that it was something to do with eating vegetables while touching our toes, but it turns out it has nothing to do with physical flexibility.

So what does this term mean? Can it actually help you save the planet? And should you be doing it?

We took a deep-dive into the world of flexitarianism.

(Picture: Getty)

Flexitarian essentially means eating a diet that is predominantly plant-based, but allows meat.

It involves making a conscious decision to drastically reduce your meat consumption, but it is much more flexible than veganism or vegetarianism. Hence the name.

Lots of people use the flexitarian diet as a pathway towards a plant-based lifestyle. It acts as a stop-gap between eating too much meat and becoming a full-on vegan.

Advertisement Advertisement

We can see the appeal.

Veganism is tough. It requires sacrifice, careful decision-making and despite a number of major brands offering more vegan options, your choices are still limited.

Being a flexitarian is less rigid and allows you to make your contribution to helping the planet and eating healthier, while still allowing for the odd, drunken Donner kebab.

But there has been some furore over the growth of flexitarianism. Some people have claimed that it’s not really a thing, or it’s just a cynical marketing ploy to pander to guilty meat-eaters.

So what’s the answer? Is it legit? And are there any benefits?

Nutritionist Charlotte De Curtis thinks there are.

‘It’s much less strict and often easier to adhere to than a strict vegan diet,’ Charlotte tells Metro.co.uk.

‘And usually there aren’t any strict measures like counting calories or macros.

‘The biggest potential benefit is the fact that a typical Western diet is red meat, dairy, artificially sweetened and processed foods with minimal plants.

‘A flexitarian approach will likely see an increase in micronutrients being consumed (vitamins and minerals), which is a huge benefit for overall health.’

Tips for becoming a flexitarian

  • Don’t be afraid to try new fruits and veggies.
  • Find ways of eating that you actually enjoy. Prep can be quite time consuming so make it quick, easy and tasty by pre-chopping, adding herbs spices and oils.
  • If fat-loss is your goal, teaming a flexitarian way of eating will only produce this outcome in the confines of a calorie deficit.

Charlotte De Curtis, Nutritionist

Nutritionist and self-proclaimed flexitarian, Rhiannon Lambert, agrees that there are benefits when you cut down on eating meat – but she thinks that it’s really only processed meat you need to be wary of.

Advertisement Advertisement

‘In the largest study of diet and disease ever to be undertaken (and still ongoing), it reported in 2013 that processed meat increased the risk of death, while no effect was seen for unprocessed red meat,’ explains Rhiannon.

‘Unprocessed, properly cooked red meat is actually very healthy. It’s rich with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and loaded with healthy proteins and fats that have profound effects on our health.’

So if you are looking to reduce you meat intake, Rhiannon suggests that not all meat is created equal – and when it comes to health, eating good-quality meat produce can can be good for you.

However that doesn’t address the argument about meat production and the environment.

Rhiannon thinks that a flexitarian approach could be a simple way to get the best of both worlds.

‘Going flexitarian and eating a more plant-based diet may sound like a major dietary adjustment but the benefits that can be seen are impressive,’ she explains.

‘There are countless studies showing vegetarians and vegans live longer and have a lower risk of some serious diseases than meat eaters. Although, these groups are generally more health conscious than meat eaters anyway.

‘We are all unique and what works for one person may not work for the next. But, once you start eliminating whole food groups, you do run the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

‘It’s not that restrictive diets such as raw or vegan can’t be followed, it’s just too easy to get them wrong. It is for this very reason that I didn’t join in on Veganuary, but I do enjoy the odd #MeatFreeMonday, and that’s why I consider myself a flexitarian.’

Advertisement

Recently, Aldi launched flexitarian burgers, which were a combination of meat and beans. And last year Byron launched a flexitarian burger made of 70% British beef and 30% sautéed mushrooms.

If the trend continues, there might soon be more options for those of us who want to occupy the middle ground between carnivore and vegan.

MORE: People are furious that this pub was charging £14 for a vegan cauliflower ‘steak’

MORE: Goat meat is set to go mainstream in 2019

MORE: Pepper sandwiches are now a thing – but we’re not sure why

Advertisement Advertisement

The Fix

The daily lifestyle email from Metro.co.uk.

Find out more

Penn State Hershey Services

Find a Physician

Read More In-Depth Reports

Vitamins

Vegetarian diet

Definition

A vegetarian diet does not include any meat, poultry, or seafood. It is a meal plan made up of foods that come mostly from plants. These include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • May include eggs and/or milk if ovo-lacto vegetarian

A vegetarian diet contains no animal proteins. A semi-vegetarian diet is a meal plan that contains little animal protein, but mostly plant-based foods. Vegetarians DO NOT eat:

  • Fowl
  • Seafood
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Other animal meats, such as bison, or exotic meats like ostrich or alligator

Vegetarians also do not eat products containing gelatin or rennin (an enzyme found in calf’s stomachs that is used to produce many cheeses).

Here are the different types of vegetarian diets:

  • Vegan: Includes only plant-based foods. No animal proteins or animal by-products such as eggs, milk, or honey.
  • Lacto-vegetarian: Includes plant foods plus some or all dairy products.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Includes plant foods, dairy products, and eggs.
  • Semi- or partial vegetarian: Includes plant foods and may include chicken or fish, dairy products, and eggs. It does not include red meat.
  • Pescatarian: Includes plant foods and seafood.

Alternative Names

Lacto-ovovegetarian; Semi-vegetarian; Partial vegetarian; Vegan; Lacto-vegetarian

Function

BENEFITS OF A VEGETARIAN DIET

A well-planned vegetarian diet can meet your nutrition needs. Reducing the amount of meat in your diet may improve your health. Eating a vegetarian diet may help you:

  • Reduce your chance of obesity
  • Reduce your risk for heart disease
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Lower your risk for type 2 diabetes

Compared to non-vegetarians, vegetarians usually eat:

  • Fewer calories from fat (especially saturated fat)
  • Fewer overall calories
  • More fiber, potassium, and vitamin C

Food Sources

PLAN TO GET PLENTY OF NUTRIENTS

If you follow a vegetarian diet, you need to make sure you get proper nutrition. You need to eat a variety of foods to get all the calories and nutrients needed for growth and good health. Certain groups of people may need to plan carefully, such as:

  • Young children and teens
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Older adults
  • People with cancer and some chronic illnesses

Vegetarian diets that include some dairy products and eggs have all the nutrition you need. But the more restrictive your diet, the harder it can be to get certain nutrients.

If you choose to avoid most or all animal foods, pay close attention to make sure you get all of the following nutrients.

Vitamin B12: You need this vitamin to help prevent anemia. Eggs and dairy foods have the most B12, so vegans may have a hard time getting enough. You can get B12 from these foods:

  • Eggs
  • Milk, yogurt, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, and other dairy products
  • Foods that have B12 added to them (fortified), such as cereal and soy products
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Seafood such as clams, salmon, and tuna (this only applies to pescetarians and semi-vegetarians)

Vitamin D: You need this vitamin for bone health. You can get vitamin D from sun exposure. But you should limit sun exposure due to skin cancer concerns. Depending on where you live and other factors, you most likely will not be able to get enough from sun exposure. You can get vitamin D from these foods:

  • Fatty fish, such as sardines, salmon, and mackerel (this only applies to pescetarians and semi-vegetarians)
  • Egg yolks
  • Foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as orange juice, cow’s milk, soy milk, rice milk, and cereals

Zinc: Zinc is important for the immune system and cell growth, especially in teens. Your body does not absorb zinc from plant foods as well as from meat and other animal foods. You can get zinc from these foods:

  • Beans and legumes, such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and baked beans
  • Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, peanuts, and cashews
  • Seafood, such as oysters, crab, and lobster (this only applies to pescetarians and semi-vegetarians)
  • Yogurt and cheese
  • Foods fortified with zinc, such as milk and cereals

Iron: You need iron for your red blood cells. Your body does not absorb the type of iron found from plant foods as well as from the type found in meat and other animal foods. You can get iron from these foods:

  • Beans and legumes, such as white beans, lentils, and kidney beans
  • Green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, kale, and collard greens
  • Dried fruit, such as prunes, raisins, and apricots
  • Whole grains
  • Foods fortified with iron, such as cereals and breads

Eating foods that are high in vitamin C at the same meal as iron-rich foods increase iron absorption. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Foods high in vitamin C include, tomatoes, potatoes, citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries.

Calcium: Foods high in calcium help keep bones strong. Dairy products have the highest amount of calcium. If you do not eat dairy, it can be hard to get enough. Oxalates, a substance found in plant foods inhibits calcium absorption. Foods that are high in both oxalates and calcium are not good sources of calcium. Examples include, spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens.

You can get calcium from these foods:

  • Sardines and canned salmon with bones (this only applies to pescetarians and semi-vegetarians)
  • Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese
  • Green vegetables, such as collard greens, kale, bok choy, and broccoli
  • Oranges and figs
  • Tofu
  • Almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, tahini, and white beans
  • Foods fortified with calcium, such as cereal, orange juice, and soy, almond and rice milk

Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3s are important for your heart and brain health. You can get omega-3s from these foods:

  • Fatty fish, such as halibut, mackerel, salmon, herring, and sardines (this only applies to pescetarians and semi-vegetarians)
  • Nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, ground flaxseed, canola oil, chia seeds
  • Soybeans and soy oil
  • Foods fortified with omega-3s, such as bread, eggs, juice, and milk

Protein: It is easy to get plenty of protein even if you do not eat any animal products. If you eat fish and/or eggs and dairy getting enough protein will not be a concern for most people. You can also get protein from these foods:

  • Soy foods, such as soy nuts, soy milk, tempeh and tofu.
  • Seitan (made of gluten).
  • Vegetarian meat substitutes. Just watch for products that are high in sodium.
  • Legumes, beans, and lentils.
  • Nuts, nut butters, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese.

You do not need to combine these foods at the same meal to get enough protein.

Teens and pregnant women should work with a registered dietitian to make sure they are getting enough protein and other key nutrients.

Recommendations

DIETARY TIPS FOR VEGETARIANS

When following a vegetarian diet, keep in mind the following:

  • Eat different kinds of foods, including vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy and eggs if your diet includes these.
  • Choose fortified foods, such as cereals, breads, soy or almond milk, and fruits juices to get a full range of nutrients.
  • Limit foods that are high in sugar, salt (sodium), and fat.
  • Include a protein source with all meals.
  • If needed, take supplements if your diet lacks certain vitamins and minerals.
  • Learn to read the Nutrition Facts Label on food packages. The label tells you the ingredients and nutrition contents of the food product.
  • If you follow a more restrictive diet, you may want to work with a dietitian to make sure you are getting enough nutrients.

National Institutes of Health website. Office of dietary supplements. Dietary supplement fact sheets. ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all. Accessed October 8, 2018.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. 2015-2020 Dietary guidelines for Americans. health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf. Accessed October 8, 2018.

Review Date: 10/8/2018
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Vegetarian & Vegan Diet

What is the Vegetarian Diet?

Many different cultures around the world, especially in Latin America, the Mediterranean, Africa, India, Japan, and China rely on vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, herbs, and spices to bring great flavors, colors, and sound nutrition to their daily meals. Here’s a quick look at several popular, healthful diets that all focus on increasing the amount of plant foods you eat every day. Which plant-based diet is right for you?

  • Semi-Vegetarian or Flexitarian Includes dairy foods, eggs, and small amounts of meat, poultry, fish, and seafood.
  • Pescatarian Includes dairy foods, eggs, fish and seafood, but no meat or poultry.
  • Vegetarian (also known as Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian) Includes dairy foods and eggs, but no meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.
  • Vegan Includes no animal foods.

How to Get Started

Health professionals encourage everyone to boost consumption of these delicious plant-based foods, and there are a lot of ways to go about doing that. See our recipes, resources, and infographics below to learn how to incorporate more vegetarian and plant-based foods into your life.

10 Small Steps to Healthier Plant-Based Meals

  1. Build your breakfasts around oatmeal, whole grain cereal, or a slice of whole grain bread spread with guacamole or nut butter. Include some fresh fruit, too.
  2. Make a vegetarian meal one night a week. Include beans, whole grains, vegetables, herbs, and spices in a simple sauté or stew. Then try two nights a week, then three…
  3. Fill at least half of your dinner plate with salad greens and cooked or raw vegetables.
  4. Reach for healthy fats: Include small amounts of nuts, peanuts, nut butters, seeds, olives, avocados, and olive oil or other plant oils in your daily meals.
  5. Build a meal around salad. Fill a bowl with delicious salad greens. Add an assortment of chopped fresh or roasted vegetables, nuts, fresh herbs, beans, and sprouts and finish off with flavored vinegar or your favorite dressing.
  6. Include a side of barley, quinoa, brown rice, farro or any other whole grain with dinner. Top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds, chopped nuts, and/or chopped fresh herbs to boost the flavor.
  7. Go for the greens. Find ways to include spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collards, and other greens in daily meals. Steam or stir fry to preserve their tender flavors.
  8. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and reach for water as a beverage with meals.
  9. Eat fresh or dried fruit for dessert.
  10. Sit down with friends or family as often as possible to enjoy a meal together.

Our 4-Week Vegetarian/Vegan Menu Plan

Want a day-by-day, meal-by-meal guide to get you started (or keep you inspired)? We’ve got just the thing to help. Check out our 4-Week Vegetarian/Vegan Menu Plan!

Our “Veg 101” Brochure: Welcome to the Vegetarian and Vegan Diet

If you’re new to a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet, we have the overview that will bring you up to speed quickly. This trifold brochure, available either as a downloadable PDF or in hard copy, includes the 10 simple steps above, plus more – to introduce you to Vegetarian and Vegan Diets.

Download “Welcome to the Vegetarian and Vegan Diet”

To purchase hard copies of this brochure, please visit our Oldways store.

Vegetarian Diets for Good Health

Around the world and throughout the centuries many – if not most – societies have relied heavily on plant foods, with small amounts of animal protein. While these diets grew out of a mix of available foods and cultural patterns, today many people choose a vegetarian diet for its proven health benefits.

Research shows that people following a vegetarian diet (plant foods plus eggs and dairy) or a vegan diet (plants food with no animal products) enjoy many of the following health benefits:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk for coronary heart disease
  • Decreased risk of colon and breast cancers
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Less risk of diabetes

Oldways’ Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Pyramid illustrates a healthy model of vegetarian eating, incorporating foods from many traditional diets around the world. Check out our Health Studies page to learn more about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet.

A plant-based diet can be an excellent source of all the necessary nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and all nine essential amino acids) for optimal health, particularly when a wide variety of foods are eaten each day. Some vegetarians (especially vegans) may need to add supplements (such as B12) to ensure that they are getting all the essential nutrients they require.

Agricultural sustainability is a positive aspect of vegetarian diets. The industrial food production system, heavily focused on meat production (beef, pork, sheep, and poultry, etc.), is not sustainable. Plant crops (including grains, beans, vegetables) require fewer natural resources such as fuel, water, and land area than do livestock and poultry, making them more sustainable.

Oldways’ Development of the Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Pyramid

The original Vegetarian Diet Pyramid, the fourth traditional diet pyramid released by Oldways, was presented at the 1997 International Conference on Vegetarian Diets held in Austin, Texas. In October 2013, Oldways introduced a new version of the pyramid, which for the first time includes vegan guidelines

To create this updated Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Pyramid, Oldways brought together a world-renowned scientific committee to review extensive scientific data on plant-based diets and provide recommendations. Meet our Vegetarian Scientific Advisors.

News on Healthy Eating & Semi-Vegetarian Diets

Is a plant-based diet the same thing as a vegetarian diet?

You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “plant-based diet” used in describing eating habits linked to heart health, cancer prevention and more. Some sources use the term to indicate a vegetarian diet. Yet not all the studies and recommendations about plant-based diets are actually referring to vegetarian eating.

At a recent heart health conference I attended, plant-based diets in their broader sense were the subject of several presentations, including one that received a lot of interest from media reaching health professionals and the public.

Let’s look at this study, which you may see reported somewhat differently by various sources, and see how it fits in the big picture of overall research on healthy eating patterns.

Just as vegetarian diets come in several forms, “plant-based diet” is an even bigger “umbrella” term. Vegetarian diets may include no animal products at all (vegan); other forms avoid meat but include dairy products (lacto-vegetarian), fish (pesco-vegetarian), or other animal foods. Plant-based diets encompass vegetarian diets and eating patterns that include modest amounts of poultry or red meat.

♦ As I use the term, plant-based diet means a diet that is mostly – but not necessarily exclusively – plant foods.

♦ This means the majority of your plate comes from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, “pulses” (dried beans and peas, including soy foods), nuts and seeds.

♦ You might also hear plant-based diets called semi-vegetarian, pro-vegetarian or plant-focused.

♦ In this sense, “diet” does not mean a set of rules and restrictions that you go on and go off. It means the pattern or overall habits that describe your eating over time. In fact, diet originally came from a word that means not just how you eat, but how you live.

The New Plant-Focused Eating Study

The conference I recently attended – the American Heart Association’s EPI/Lifestyle 2015 Scientific Sessions – focused on research in populations or otherwise translated to humans about improving heart health. A study on “pro-vegetarian diets” involved more than 450,000 European adults (in the EPIC cohort study) whose diets were scored to indicate proportion of animal versus plant foods.

A pro-vegetarian (“PVEG”) dietary score was created as the total of 12 components.

  • Plant-based foods: people scored from 1 through 5 points for each of seven food groups: vegetables, fruit, dried beans and peas, grains, potatoes, nuts and olive oil. Each person’s consumption of a food group was compared to that of other people in the study; one point was given to people in the bottom fifth of consumption, and two, three, four or five points as consumption increased.
  • Animal-based foods: people scored from 1 through 5 points for each of five food groups: meats/meat products, fish and other seafood, eggs, animal fats and dairy products. Here, people’s consumption of each group was again compared to that of others in the study, but (as representing a more plant-focused eating pattern), one point was given to the top consumers of a food group, with higher points indicating progressively less consumption.
  • Total PVEG score ranging from 12 to 60 for each person was the sum of points for each of these 12 food groups.
  • People were classified, based on this total score, into categories of how closely their eating habits fit a “pro-vegetarian” pattern: very low (<30), low (30-34), moderate (35-39), high (40-44) or very high (>45).

Results: Over the next 13 years, compared to people whose diets were more animal-food focused, people with more plant-focused eating patterns had fewer deaths from heart disease or stroke.

♦ Compared to people with lowest scores (least plant-focused eating habits), those with “moderately” pro-vegetarian diets had 12% lower risk of cardiovascular death.

♦ People whose diets were “high” or “very high” in PVEG score had 20% lower risk of cardiovascular death.

♦ Beyond a score of 40 – indicating that about 70 percent of foods were plant-based — there was a ceiling effect: Reducing animal-based foods even more was not linked to any further reduction in cardiovascular deaths.

Key Question: Was it the plant- versus animal-focus of eating habits? No single component of the score – such as vegetables or meat – accounted for the association with lower heart-related mortality. Comparisons were made after adjusting for calorie consumption, weight (based on body mass index), physical activity, educational level, and stratified by gender and age. Still, we can’t assume that some other factors weren’t involved, and this new study has not yet undergone the process of peer review for publication in a scientific journal.

Healthy Eating: What You Boost or Reduce?

This study’s PVEG scoring was trying to assess the relative proportion of people’s diets coming from plant foods versus animal-based foods. The findings fit compatibly with those of studies of vegetarian eating patterns, though looking through a different lens. Analysis of seven studies concluded that vegetarians had 29% lower heart disease mortality than those who more frequently ate meat. (Vegetarians included vegans, lacto-ovo-vegetarians and those who ate meat and fish less than once a week). And the Adventist Health Study 2 published after that showed 12% lower deaths from all causes among vegetarians (all types), and a trend not clear enough to be statistically significant for lower heart disease deaths.

When studies link vegetarian diets to lower risk of chronic disease, many people assume that the reason for the association is what is obviously avoided or reduced in vegetarian diets: meat and perhaps dairy products. As a group, however, vegetarians tend to have lifestyles that are healthy in many ways – they tend to exercise more, are less likely to smoke and are less likely to be obese, for example. So good quality studies of vegetarian eating patterns statistically adjust for the influence of factors like this as much as possible.

Yet as a group, vegetarian diets may differ from those of non-vegetarians beyond the avoidance of all or specific animal-based foods. For example, in the Adventist Health Study 2:

♦ Vegetarians didn’t only eat less meat, dairy and eggs; they also consumed less refined grains, sweets, snack foods and sugar-sweetened beverages like soda.

♦ Vegetarians ate more of various plant foods with important nutrients and phytochemicals (natural health-promoting compounds): fruits, vegetables, avocados, non-fried potatoes, whole grains, legumes, soyfoods, nuts and seeds. This resulted in higher intake of dietary fiber among vegetarians.

The new study linking heart health and pro-vegetarian diet score represents a net balance of plant foods and animal foods. Yet it doesn’t show the negative influence of excessive sweets, or protective potential of choosing a wide variety within vegetables selected, for example. Another study presented at the conference found that in the Nurses’ Health Study (after adjusting for obesity, physical activity, and family history of type 2 diabetes), an overall plant-based diet was associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes. However, the association with lower diabetes risk was stronger when the plant-based diet had more of the healthy plant foods and less of plant foods like sweets, French fries, refined grains and sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

Key Question: Healthy Compared to What?

When you see studies linking a particular eating pattern with some aspect of health, be sure to ask: “Healthier than what?” Sadly, the average American diet still is low in vegetables, includes minimal beans and whole grains, and contains sugar well beyond recommended limits. It’s no surprise that a vegetarian diet is linked to better health than that. However, that does not mean that a diet without meat but filled with high-sodium processed foods and sweets is healthy. It also doesn’t mean a vegetarian diet necessarily leads to better health outcomes than a DASH, Mediterranean or other plant-focused eating pattern built around nutrient-rich foods. Perhaps it does, although regardless, it’s essential that an eating pattern is appropriate for individual needs (medical, genetic) and can be realistic and enjoyable as a long-term habit.

Several different scoring systems show eating habits that reflect principles linked in solid research with better health – lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and longer life.

Bottom Line: Multiple Choices Sum to Make Healthy Eating

Another study, this one of nearly 90,000 U.S. men and women that was also presented at the American Heart Association conference, provides an optimistic message: Making eating habits more healthful – as represented by improvement in any of several dietary scoring systems — was linked with significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, both in the short-term and long-term. These researchers concluded that even modest improvement in diet quality over time brings heart health benefits. As you decide how to go from a global “eat healthier” resolution to concrete steps that you are ready to implement, consider the plant- vs. animal-based food balance in your habits (as seen in the pro-vegetarian score). Whether some form of vegetarian diet is right for you, or whether you will simply move the needle to give plant foods a clear dominance, remember that it’s also important to look at the nutrition quality of the choices you make within that overall balance.

Focus on one doable step at a time.

In future Smart Bytes® posts, we’ll look at more of the specific choices you can make to create realistic eating habits that promote your good health. Sign up to receive Smart Bytes® by email so you don’t miss a thing! (Scroll up the sidebar)

Helpful Resources

The study in which plant-focused eating habits (more plant-based foods and fewer animal-based foods identified by PVEG score) was linked with fewer heart disease deaths found the maximal risk reduction reached with a diet that was 70% or more plant foods. Resources are abundant to help you figure out what that means in real food choices.

♦ The American Institute for Cancer Research’s approach to healthful eating, the New American Plate, specifically focuses on making plant foods at least two-thirds of your plate, offering tips and recipes.

♦ The federal MyPlate approach to eating is also an example of plant-focused eating. You’ll find more on each food category and a tracker to monitor how you’re doing.

Key References

Lassale, C. A Pro-Vegetarian Food Pattern and Cardiovascular Mortality in the Epic Study (Abstract 16). March 5, 2015; presentation, American Heart Association meeting, Baltimore, MD.

Huang, T et al. Cardiovascular disease mortality and cancer incidence in vegetarians: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Ann Nutr Metab. 2012; 60(4):233-40.

Orlich, MJ et al. Vegetarian dietary patterns and mortality in Adventist Health Study 2. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Jul 8;173(13):1230-8.

Orlich, MJ et al. Patterns of food consumption among vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Br J Nutr. 2014; 112(10):1644-53.

Rizzo, NS et al. Nutrient profiles of vegetarian and nonvegetarian dietary patterns. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Dec;113(12):1610-9.

Satija, A et al. A Prospective Study of the Association Between Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Incident Type 2 Diabetes in Women (Moderated Poster Abstract 14). Circulation. 2015;131:Suppl 1 AMP14

Sotos-Prieto, M et al. Changes in Diet Quality Scores and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Among Us Men and Women (Abstract 18). March 5, 2015; presentation, American Heart Association meeting, Baltimore, MD.

Photo credit for heart-shaped image:

purchased from www.123rf.com -photo_4342300_fruit-and-vegetable-heart

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *