Keen to do you bit for the environment but find the idea of going vegan completely overwhelming? The flexitarian diet may be for you. With a flexitarian diet, you will decrease your meat and dairy consumption and increase your intake of plant-based meals, without it being an all or nothing approach, which can lead to self-sabotage and guilt when you give in to 'temptation'.
What Is A Flexitarian Diet?
If you are keen to do your bit for the environment, you may have been tempted by veganism.
However, going to a wholly plant-based diet can be challenging, especially for those foodies who enjoy the occasional steak dinner, barbecue, or sushi roll.
Succumbing to meat and dairy temptations once you have declared your veganism can make you feel inadequate and guilty.
What if you really don't enjoy almond milk in your latte, and you can’t imagine not having chocolate or cheese ever again?
Instead of putting yourself under too much pressure and going cold turkey, think about a flexitarian diet instead.
This will help you to slowly decrease your meat consumption and will allow you to have some wholly plant-based diet days without it all seeming too hard.
Let's take a look at how you can become a flexitarian.
How To Follow A Flexitarian Diet: Take Small Steps
In a nutshell, a flexitarian diet is wholly aligned with the idea of 'everything in moderation' or the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating (eating well 80% of the time and enjoying treat foods 20% of the time).
Don’t think that you have to take a massive leap into a plant-based diet overnight to be successful.
Instead, simply cut down your meat portions by a couple of dinners a week. You can start slowly by introducing meatless Monday's and go from there.
If you struggle with cooking plant-based meals as it isn't something you are used to cooking, you could always take a look into a meal provider service that delivers ingredients in kit form.
Sun Basket Review provides plant-based and vegetarian options right to your front door. This can give you the opportunity to try new meals and experiment with new flavors while cutting your meat consumption at the same time.
Before long, you will be relishing the newfound taste sensations so much so that you won’t be as concerned about accompanying every meal with a chicken breast or fillet steak.
Here are some of my favourite easy plant-based meals to start with:
- 15 Minute Vegan Tomato Cream Sauce with Pasta
- Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Burgers
- BBQ Chickpeas and Veggie Bowl
- Baked Almond Crunch Falafel Bowl
What About The Cost?
Contrary to popular belief, going flexitarian can actually save you pocketfuls of cash.
Meat and fish can be super expensive, especially if you go for those products that are ethically sound.
Fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, even the most exotic ones, are usually cheaper.
Here are some tips for getting the most bang for your buck:
- Head to your local grocers or farmers' markets and discover new and exciting vegetables such as celeriac and artichoke. Find a local CSA box, these can provide great value.
- If you are watching the purse strings a little more, be sure to sit down and work out your budget each week. If you usually eat meat five days a week, cut this down to three days a week to start with.
- You could think about how you could stretch your meat portions a little further. Instead of having the chicken or meat as the main part of the meal and the veggies on the side, flip it around and have 3/4 of the plate filled with veggies and half the amount of meat you would usually have.
- Lentils and grains are great for bulking up a meal, and they are usually quite cheap as well.
- Don’t go for the extremely expensive fillet steak and opt for a rump instead. Forget the organic chicken breasts and go for some free-range chicken thighs instead.
What About The Eco-Credentials of A Flexitarian Diet?
You no doubt have heard the latest buzzwords of sustainable and environmentally friendly being bandied around.
If you haven't done much research, it can be really tricky to see the link between meat consumption and the environment. However, the process of producing meat is damaging to the planet, as are the byproducts of meat, such as dairy products and eggs.
Many people go vegan because of ethical concerns, and they don’t like animals to be killed for human consumption.
Flexitarians eat less meat for a mixture of reasons - those same ethical and environmental concerns, as well as budget and health concerns.
If you are keen to limit your impact on the environment, go for meat, dairy, and eggs that are produced locally. It may cost a little more, but it will have fewer air miles attached to it, making it less damaging to the planet. That added cost also encourages you to buy less and your meat consumption will naturally go down.
If you are keen to cut your meat consumption, follow the tips above, and consider a flexitarian diet.