To me, it seems like there's a new must-try "____-arian" diet practically every week. Pescatarian, ovo-lacto-vegetarian, fruitarian… While these may seem like scientific ways to justify your dietary choices of the month, I promise you that the flexitarian diet is much more than just a blip on your radar, and it really is a lifestyle choice that you should stick to. 

What is it?

A flexitarian diet consists primarily of fruits and vegetables, with the occasional inclusion of meat. Quite simply, it's being a flexible vegetarian.

I've found that sticking strictly to a vegan or vegetarian diet is tough due to the demands of being a student. I've also found that being able to adapt my eating choices without feeling guilty is the right diet for me. 

pepper, carrot, tomato, vegetable
Christin Urso

While studies have found that vegetarians are able to better control their body weight and have lower counts of hypertension and diabetes, it was also found that a vegetarian diet may lead to an increased risk of developing osteoporosis due to the challenge of getting proper amounts of protein, iron, vitamin B-12, omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients.

As well, research has indicated that meat contains equal amounts of protein, fewer calories, better iron sources, healthy saturated fats and is a vital source of vitamin B12.

Recent research has indicated that eating strictly vegan or vegetarian may not actually be better for the earth. While committing to a vegetarian diet does mean that less animals are killed for human consumption, on the other hand, the natural cycle of life is inevitable and all animals die at some point.

The debate on the pros and cons of vegetarianism vs. omnivorism is endless, but why choose when you can be flexible? Back to flexitarianism!

What do I need to know?

Here's everything you'll need to start your flexitarian lifestyle. Make sure you're informed about the best vegetarian protein sources, because protein is important for subsiding hunger and providing energy to get through the day.

lentil, pea, vegetable, legume
Christin Urso

If the idea of giving up meat is a scary thought, think about easing into flexitarianism by focusing on eating pescatarian for the first few days or weeks.

Remember, you don't have to go days without meat. Try committing to one meal a week that is fully vegetarian, then slowly start to add more vegetarian meals once you're comfortable. 

Make sure to check out these meals that swap out regular meat for vegetarian options. The upside to the plethora of trendy diets on our radar is that food options have become endless.

There are so many meat substitutes out there that honestly taste like real meat. An even healthier option is to make your own meatless favourites, such as these black bean burgers, vegan curry, spicy chickpea burgers, or veggie chili. That way, you know exactly what’s going into the food you eat.

tea, milk, coffee
Jessie Durand

Take Aways

Flexitarianism means that you don't have to feel guilty about having cheat meals because you miss bacon. You can get bacon made of practically anything! Check out this article about what a meat lover found when he went vegetarian for a week, or this one about how Lissane went vegetarian and fell in love with food again.

If I could suggest one thing that you take away from this article, it’s that you shouldn’t feel pressured to stick to one type of diet. Having to stress over what you’re eating isn’t healthy!

Make dietary choices that are right for you and your lifestyle. For me, that’s flexitarianism. Here's a healthy reminder that I'd like to leave you with: