What Is a Flexitarian?

The Flexitarian Diet is a style of eating that encourages mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal
products in moderation. It’s more flexible than fully vegetarian or vegan diets. If you’re looking to add more plant foods to your diet but don’t want to completely cut out meat, going flexitarian may be for you.

Vegetarians eliminate meat and sometimes other animal foods while vegans completely restrict meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and all animal-derived food products. Since flexitarians eat animal products, they’re not considered vegetarians or vegans. The Flexitarian Diet has no clear-cut rules or recommended numbers of calories and macronutrients. In fact, it’s more of a lifestyle than a diet.

The Flexitarian Diet is based on the following principles:
• Eating mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
• Focusing on protein from plants instead of animals.
• Being flexible and incorporating meat and animal products from time to time.
• Eating the least-processed, most-natural form of each food.
• Limiting added sugar and sweets.

Due to its flexible nature and focus on what to include rather than restrict, the Flexitarian Diet is a popular choice for people looking to eat healthier. Flexitarian eating may also be good for the waistline and reducing risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. This is partially because flexitarians limit high-calorie, processed foods and eat more plant foods that are naturally lower in calories.

Cutting back on meat and other animal products may, however, put some people at risk of nutrient deficiencies, depending on the adequacy of their other food choices. Therefore, flexitarians may need to add additional supplements to their diet.

Possible nutrient deficiencies to be aware of on the Flexitarian Diet include:
• Vitamin B12
• Zinc
• Iron
• Calcium
• Omega-3 fatty acids

Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or new health regimen.