There is no arguing the potential health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Heart disease risks go down significantly and digestion also improves. You may be thinking to yourself that you would like to see those kinds of health benefits, but you just can’t imagine giving up meat.
We’ve also all heard about the ideal source of protein that meats are. Our bodies can use the nutrition found in meat efficiently to build muscle as well as energy levels. In fact, there are risks within a vegetarian diet for failure to achieve sufficient protein levels. Consider the possibility of the best of both worlds. You can be a vegetarian – most of the time.
Becoming a Flexitarian
Whether it is for health reasons or for some health problem that you already have, a flexitarian diet will improve your chances for healthy living. Choosing more plant foods is a smart choice for better overall health.
To become a flexitarian you will probably just start replacing meat with plant based meat alternatives. Instead of pork stir fry, you’ll make it seasoned tofu stir fry. That isn’t so hard. The plant-based meat alternatives are available in several varieties and can be cooked in many different ways.
What about using cheese and eggs though? Those things are just as full of, and often contain more fat and cholesterol than many cuts of meat. Just because they are not meat doesn’t mean that they are bad for you. The answer could be just to eat animal protein occasionally on your flexitarian diet.
Treating Animal Protein like Dessert
Some meats, especially skinless chicken breasts or nearly any cut of turkey, are low in fat and still contain complete proteins. If you have become a flexitarian for health reasons, you can continue to eat meat occasionally. Because your body can use meat so efficiently and because there are meat options that do not include high amounts of fat or cholesterol, meat is a smart nutrition option.
Avoiding eating meat at every meal, or even every day will suit your flexitarian diet well. If you eat meat on occasion, in the same way that you eat dessert, the benefits could be huge. You could gain all of the nutrition that meat has to offer without flooding your system with the foods that are less healthy for you. By eating your complete proteins as meat instead of other higher fat animal products, you will be enjoying the benefits of a truly balanced and nutritious diet.
Being a flexitarian doesn’t mean that you have to avoid all meat all the time. Meat is still nutritious food. You also may occasionally want to eat meat on special occasions. A few bites of steak every month or two will probably be better for you than avoiding meat all the time. You will receive better nutrition and you will feel less deprived of the meats that you once enjoyed every day.
To get the best health benefits from the world of the vegetarian as well as the world of the non-vegetarian, try being a flexitarian.
To ease into becoming a flexitarian see our comprehensive beginners guide to flexitarian meal planning for families.