The vegetarian lifestyle is appealing to many people. It is more environmentally friendly than a meat-eating diet, it can be better for your health, and it helps to encourage the ethical treatment of animals.
Being a vegetarian is however not something that everyone can adhere or aspire to. This has resulted in the rise of flexitarianism and in this article I’ll be giving you a basic overview of three of the best flexitarian diets and when to follow them.
The Three Best Flexitarian (Semi-Vegetarian) Diets
Flexitarians follow a predominantly plant-based diet with the occasional meat item on the menu. This is not technically considered a “vegetarian” diet, but it is the easiest and most sustainable of all the vegetarian diets to follow. While the number of animal protein allowances vary for each individual flexitarian, the idea is that you eat primarily vegetarian but include fish and seafood, poultry, red meat, dairy or eggs on occasion.
Starting from the easiest to follow and working our way up, the three best flexitarian diets you can model your own flexitarian diet on are as follows:
#1: The Mediterranean Diet with a Flexitarian Twist
The traditional Mediterranean diet is a predominately plant-based diet that closely resembles a pescatarian diet. It is not a flexitarian diet in the strict sense of the word, but it is a good diet to base your transition into a flexitarian lifestyle on. Recipes and books on the diet abound and it is backed by science.
Follow this diet if your primary focus is your taste buds, health is secondary, and being classic vegetarian is last.
#2: The Slow Carb (Low-GL) Flexitarian Diet
Improving your health and losing weight is easier and tastier than you ever imaged with the slow carb flexitarian diet. The original Low-GL diet was develop by Patrick Holford and is backed by science. Holford’s diet is based on the simple principle that when you gain control over your blood sugar level you will seriously improve your health. The slow carb flexitarian diet is easy to follow and gives you the benefits of both the Low-GL and the vegetarian approaches.
Follow the slow carb flexitarian diet if your primary focus is on improving your health, and your taste buds is a very close second.
#3: The Ketotarian Diet
A relatively new plant-based version of the popular ketogenic diet which is a low carbohydrate high fat diet backed by science. Just like flexitarians, ketotarians may eat meat occasionally. Most however follow an ovo vegetarian keto diet. For some folks, the normal keto diet can be difficult to maintain in the long-term. The ketotarian diet can be even more difficult, and unless you have health reasons, it is not the easiest model to start your flexitarian journey with.
Follow the ketotarian diet if your primary focus is on weight loss and your taste buds is secondary. Not that ketotarians don’t eat delicious food, they do.
The Hybrid (Slow Carb + Keto) Flexitarian Diet
Your body is designed to use two types of fuel: carbohydrates and ketones. Each has their benefits. Cycling between the slow carb flexitarian diet and the ketorian diet gives you the best of both, and when combined with intermittent fasting it results in a seriously healthy (and delicious) way of living.
In a sense, the hybrid diet embodies the flexitarian approach to eating: individuality, seasonality, and regionality.
Classic (Official) Vegetarian Diets
The following are all vegetarian diets. (In a sense they are all also flexitarian diets.) I’ve also presented them (more or less) in order of least to most restrictive.
Pescetarians restrict their animal protein consumption to fish and seafood. They do not consume red meat, white meat or fowl but they do consume eggs and diary.
Pollotarians include poultry and fowl, eggs and diary. They do not consume red meat or fish and seafood.
This is the most common type of vegetarian. Lacto-ovo vegetarians do not consume red meat, white meat, fish or fowl. However, lacto-ovo they do consume dairy products and egg products.
Ovo-vegetarians do not eat red or white meat, fish, fowl or dairy products. They do however consume eggs, and egg products.
Lacto-vegetarians do not eat red or white meat, fish, seafood, fowl or eggs. However, lacto-vegetarians do consume dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt.
Vegans do not consume any animal products or by-products. This includes eggs, milk, dairy products, red or white meat, fish, seafood, and fowl.
There are also many products that vegans shun due to the presence of animal ingredients. This makes it a difficult diet to follow. Common foods such as gelatin, cheese, and certain types of sugar are banned by the more strict vegans. Again, some people choose to become vegan for health reasons while others simply want to do their part to avoid the suffering of animal life.
Other Plant-Based Diets
Frutarians choose to eat only fruits that don’t kill the plant when harvested in order to decrease the amount of life that is lost due to an individual’s diet. Some people choose to become fruitarian for dietary reasons, while others feel that it is the right things to do in terms of respecting the life of both plants and animals.