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The Flexitarian Diet Review

by George Pierce
George Pierce photo Win At Losing Weight
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What Is the Flexitarian Diet?

The Flexitarian Diet is a combination of flexible and vegetarian.  The Flexitarian was written by Dawn Jackson Blatner who says that you do not have to eliminate meat completely in order to enjoy the health benefits that are associate with vegetarianism.

How Does It Work?

Flexitarians claim to weigh less (about 15% less)  than meat eaters, and they also claim to have a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  In addition, flexitarians are supposed to live 3.6 years longer.
In Blatner's Flexitarian Diet, she says that you can be vegetarian much of the time and that it is OK to have red meat once on a while when the urge hits.

The Flexitarian Diet is based on ADDING five new food groups to your diet.
  1. New Meat food group:  add these meat substitutes, peas, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, eggs,and beans.
  2. Fruits and vegetables:  
  3. Whole Grains;
  4. Dairy:
  5. Sugar and spice:

Dr Pam Popper: Flexitarian Eating; Fat Protein & Alzheimer's Disease

There are three levels, you can start at Beginner which eats meat 5 days per week (26 oz.),  Advanced which eats meat 3-4 days per week (18 0z.), or Expert which eats meat 2 days per week (9 oz.).
The diet provides a five week plan with recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  You are allowed to stick closely to the plan or swap recipes, whichever you prefer.  The meal plan is based on 1500 calories/day...300 breakfast, 400 lunch, 500 dinner, and two snacks at 150 calories each.   You can modify the caloric intake to suit your lifestyle (active, less active) and your height and gender.  

Although meat is allowed, the diet focuses on plant based foods.  Examples would be soy milk rather than low fat milk and a veggie burger rather than a real burger.  Blatner allows you to go at your own pace and includes "flex swap" suggestions.  She bases the diet on her philosophy "Eat more plants, and do the best that you can."

Eating out can be a problem for many dieters.  Blatner's tips, such as checking out the restaurant's menu beforehand and focusing on foods that are baked, broiled, poached, roasted, steamed or grilled, rather than fried, breaded, creamy, scalloped, crispy or sauteed are most helpful.  

Alcohol is allowed, one drink per day for women, two for men.  In Blatner's book and on her website, you will find menu plans, detailed recipes, and grocery lists along with help and advice.  

Exercise is strongly recommended, at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week, of moderate exercise along with strenuous exercise for 20 minutes per day for two days per week.

This diet is mostly vegetarian, but allows some meat and dairy and allows you to ease into less meat..  Experts feel that this Flexitarian Diet is healthy and nutritionally sound and is in line with what the US government guidelines.



The following is a sample meal plan:

Breakfast – Apple and almond butter toast
1 slice whole-grain bread
1½ tbsp. almond butter or peanut butter
1 sliced apple

Lunch – Veggie Baja Burger
1 vegetarian burger
1 whole-grain hamburger bun
¼ sliced avocado
¼ cup radish or alfalfa sprouts
2 tbsp. BBQ sauce
1 orange

Snack – Pineapple with candied ginger and pecans
3 no-sugar canned pineapple rings
2 tsp. chopped candied ginger
2 tsp. chopped pecans

cilantro peanut stir fry
               Cilantro peanut stir fry

Dinner – Cilantro peanut stir fry
½ cup extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes
2 tsp. peanut oil
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
Piece of grated ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup pineapple juice
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Dessert – Spiced hot chocolate
1 cup skim or soy milk
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. honey
Pinch of cinnamon

US News and World Report Logo

US News and World Report ranks the Flexitarian Diet as the fourth in Best Overall Diets.

#4 (tie) in Best Diets Overall
 #5 (tie) in Best Weight-Loss Diets
 #4 (tie) in Best Diabetes Diets
 #8 (tie) in Best Diets for Healthy Eating
 #14 (tie) in Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets
 #8 (tie) in Best Heart-Healthy Diets
 #2 in Best Plant-Based Diets
 #5 (tie) in Easiest Diets to Follow


Does It Work?

Yes.  A 1500 calorie per day diet should help most of us to lose weight.  

glass of fresh orange juice

Positives:

Lose weight
No increase in your food bill.
Plenty of delicious recipes
Flexible
Better Health
Fairly easy to follow and stay with.
Eating out is allowed.

Negatives:

You will need to plan and prepare your meals.
If you do not love fruit and  veggies, this may not be for you.
No in person meetings
No packaged foods or meals
Flexible is a plus unless you need more structure.

girl with thumb up

Conclusion:

This diet should be able to help almost anyone to eat less meat and to eat healthier.  This is a good diet to help you add more fruits and veggies to your diet and to do it gradually.  If you are a meat eater and not wanting to change, this diet is not for you.  This diet is healthy, should help you to lose weight, and also provides the flexibility to make it easier to follow and easier to stay with.  I give the Flexitarian Diet two thumbs up and suggest that you consider adding it to your list of diet choices.  

Thank you for reading, my friends, I wish you much success on your weight loss journey.

Kind regards,
George Pierce
Founder Win At Losing Weight

If you are interested in the Flexitarian diet, the following resources may be of help.

The Flexitarian (Recipes page)  https://theflexitarian.co.uk/recipes/
Dawn Jackson Blatner website:   https://dawnjacksonblatner.com/
Damn Delicious:  http://damndelicious.net/

if bacon grew on trees, Homer simpson would be vegetarian joke