Admit it. You have thought about going vegetarian or vegan, whether it be because of the environmental and health benefits, or because you feel overwhelmingly inspired (and disgusted) after watching Food, Inc. on Netflix.

You thought about the meals you would eat in a day and it seems perfect... until you remember that one food you could not bare to give up. Just like that, your veg-diet plan vanishes.

Enter the flexitarian diet. Essentially, it's a vegetarian-most-of-the-time diet. It was created by nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., based on her personal experience.

She was aware of the health benefits of a plant-based diet, but couldn't resist certain foods, such as hot dogs at a baseball game. Hence, the birth of flexitarian, a flexible vegetarian diet.

How Does It Work?

There are three levels of the diet you can follow: beginner, advanced, and expert. Each level allows a different amount of meal allowances per week, assuming that you're eating 21 meals in a week.

Beginner: 7 meatless meals per week

Advanced: 14 meatless meals per week

Expert: maximum of eating meat 6 times per week

The diet also requires portion sizes that are different from what you may be used to. Your plate should ¼ meat, ¼ whole grains, and ½ plant-based foods. This will allow you to follow the diet without compromising the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Is A Flexitarian Diet Good For You?

The flexitarian diet has a number of possible health benefits. Because it's not strictly plant-based and relatively new, however, it's hard to tell if the benefits of a plant-based diet can be directly applied to a semi-vegetarian diet. 

Through an increase in healthy fats and fiber, you can see a reduced risk of heart disease. There is also lower risk for Type II diabetes and cancer through the subtraction of added sugar and addition of nutrients and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.

You may also experience weight loss due to a lack of processed food and lower caloric intake when cutting out meat. Remember that weight loss may not always be healthy, so talk to a registered dietician about how you can follow this diet while maintaining your health goals.

There are also some nutrient deficiencies that can be common when following a flexitarian diet. If you are considering following a plant-based diet, have a plan for incorporating vitamin B-12, zinc, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.

The Flexitarian Diet is a great transition into becoming vegan or vegetarian. It also allows you to follow a diet on your own terms. Think of it as taking Meatless Mondays to another level.

Learn more and order a recipe book straight from the creator of the diet here.