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HOW TO BECOME A FLEXITARIAN: FOR A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY.

The Flexitarian Diet is the answer for those who are not ready to become Vegetarian. In addition to its growing popularity, choosing the Flex Diet is now synonymous with sustainability, longevity and benefits for all.

So, what are you waiting for to switch to the new Flex lifestyle?


Between those who choose to be Vegetarian or even Vegan, there is a 'softer third way' in the middle, which concerns all those who still cannot completely give up meat. A middle way, which winks at the so-called omnivores.

"If we could give each individual the right amount of nutrition and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have the safest way to health."
Hippocrates

We are, of course, talking about the 'Flexitarians', who, let's be clear, are not related to the 'Pleaiadians or Vesuvians' and therefore are not inhabitants of other galaxies (for those who believe in aliens), but are simply a growing number of people (almost terrestrials!), who adopt a certain type of diet based on flexibility in the quantity and quality of food cooked and ingested.

  • What does it mean to be a Flexitarian? And why is it becoming so popular?

Let's find out in this article.


Origin and development of the term Flexitarian



The origin of the name is actually a contraction of the English word 'Flexible', which when combined with the word 'Vegetarian', becomes 'Flexitarian'. The use of this terminology was first used by a food and wine journalist Linda Anthony, who in reference to the Acorn Café in Texas, described the argued place as a: 'flexitarian kitchen: or rather healthy, vegetarian food prepared with a continental twist'. Reported by slowwfood.com, which traces an article in the Denver Post in 2002, the development of 'Flexitarians' stems first and foremost from:


  • concern and consequent shrewdness about the choice of daily food, and in preferring as much as possible, a food supply that is not in any way contaminated by, bacteria, hormones, antibiotics, etc.

Health orientation is ultimately the main choice of all those who are vegetarians 85% of the time at the table, even if they do not occasionally give up meat or fish.

In the following year, 2003, the American Dialect Society voted the word 'Flexitarian' as the most used word of the year, ultimately consecrating an unstoppable trend to this day.


Eat everything but do not overdo it


The typical Flexitarian is the person who chooses to follow such a dietary regime through the peculiarity of the frequency and flexibility of the food selected, primarily for the following reasons, namely to:

  1. To maintain good health;

  2. Not yet feeling ready to make the big leap to a total regime such as vegetarian or vegan;

  3. Deep personal ethical and ecological convictions derived from one's family of origin and the prevailing culture and society.

But along with the list of various choices to be made before becoming a 'Flexitarian', the real strength of the Flexitarian diet comes from two main aspects which are:

  1. The variety or breadth of choice of food to be included in the personal Flex diet;

  2. The actual quantity recommended for effective performance to the daily requirement, and its consequent benefit to the psycho-physical level of an individual's general health.

Therefore, those who approach the Flexitariana diet tend to make a conscious choice, in which the experimentation of a new relationship with food is favoured, which derives from a focus on the selection of the raw material, passing through the cooking phase, up to the introduction of the cooked food, which is associated with the mentis operandi of Mindful Eating, (already argued in Jomosophy in a previous article) and where the various benefits are set out and practical advice is given to approach this true philosophy of life.


According to the American nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner, who wrote the best seller 'The Flexitarian Diet', it is a 'conscious' diet that derives from the conscious choices of the person and that in practice provides a standard daily calorie intake of about 1500 kcal, to be divided into five meals:

  • 300 calories for breakfast, 400 for lunch, 150 for two snacks a day and finally 500 for dinner. Although vegetables, fruit, pulses, whole grains and seeds are the main protagonists, meat and fish are not excluded. The former should be reduced to a maximum of 700 grams with a total abstention from meat on at least two days a week, while there is no limit to its consumption for fish.

The Flex Diet, erroneously called 'semi-vegetarian' by some (which does not accept red meat unlike the Flex Diet) is also suitable for

  1. cook food in a more natural way;

  2. limiting the amount of sugar and sweets in general (reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes);

  3. prevent heart disease (circulatory and cardiovascular problems, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, etc.).

  4. facilitate longevity and weight loss.

So, the benefits are manifold. But are there also limits to such a non-diet?



What are the limits of Flexitarians?

"I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to stop eating animals, in the same way that savage tribes stopped eating each other when they came into contact with the more civilized ones."
Henry David Thoreau

The first major limitation of the Flex diet is that it does not look like a diet at all, in the sense that the variety and quantity recommended seem no more than a dispassionate but entirely generic piece of advice that any nutritionist, dietician or doctor can clearly recommend for achieving a longer and healthier life. Nothing new, apparently.


But in the paradox of the 'diet not diet', we find some celebrities who have made the recent Flex Diet a real trend, depopulating in social media, encouraging the idea of moving towards the next plant-based diet, in a definitive sense. We are obviously talking about stars such as Michelle Obama, Leonardo di Caprio, Brad Pitt, Beyoncè and many others, who are real supporters of a campaign for the health and salvation of the entire planet.


There is another question that many people ask when they start a flex diet and that is the following:

  • even if I can eat everything, when do you realise what are the unhealthy options that should be eliminated or at least decreased?

The crux stems from an important concept that needs to be understood and assimilated consciously and that is:

"A flexible diet means knowing that you can eat what you want at any time. Which doesn't mean eating pizza every day, but that you can enjoy pizza from time to time and be perfectly healthy. And very happy."
Matt Rosenman - American Nutritionist -

And here is the first secret associated with this diet: since it is still a diet, two elements are essential for the optimal result of weight loss and, above all, the pleasure of continuing to eat anything while remaining fit and happy, which are derived from

  • Calories: which are calculated according to a person's weight, gender and age;

  • Macronutrients: which are calculated after calories and relate to a true breakdown between proteins, carbohydrates and fats that go into the daily control plan, depending on the calories to be attained and specifically the aforementioned desired weight.

If you wish, you can try calculating your own table (in English) to obtain your maintenance calories (otherwise known as TDEE) and macros by entering your own data such as weight, age and gender, for more specific support regarding these two pieces of information combined.



Philosophy of life or passing trend?

I am doing two diets, because with one you eat very little."
Anonymous

Very often it happens that one starts a certain diet that has so little variety and calories that one gives up on it almost immediately. This is in fact the most common explanation of all the people who then decide to switch to the Flex Diet, as it satisfies the lack of pleasure associated with a dish that creates the consequent feeling of frustration and unhappiness, as opposed to those who continue to eat what they want, without guilt and with the aim of optimum health.


Obviously this is the general rule, because there are many variations on the theme, of many people who are instead Flexitarians because they are trending on the various social networks, or because international stars, as we have already mentioned, are convinced spokespersons for this new global lifestyle.


But is it then just an ephemeral trend of yet another inconclusive diet or is it a true new way of life, which linked to Mindful eating (which means 'mindful eating') is the new solution for the millions of people who want to appreciate all the variety of food, such as meat and fish, without forgetting about junk food (i.e. burgers with fries, pizza, donuts, ice cream, etc.). The answer is most likely to be found in the environment, or rather in current and future individual and collective decisions to:

  • reduce the consumption of animal products;

  • the improvement of agricultural practices;

  • the reduction of pollution from meat industry emissions.


Your flexitarian diet helps the Environment

The life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I find that the more helpless a creature is, the more it has the right to be protected by man from the cruelty of other men."
Mahatma Gandhi

The ethical issue for those who choose to become vegetarian or vegan, paradoxically also affects all those who remain Flexitarians, in the sense that the preference of vegetables and fruit over meat and fish is conspicuously skewed towards the former, even if it does not completely exclude the latter, so much so that it probably follows a logic like this:

  • vegetarians 85% and omnivores 15%.

Thus, in the choice of consuming meat or eliminating it completely, the 'middle way' exists and is revealed as a kind of more flexible form of vegetarianism (not recognized, however, by the vegetarian community itself) and also understood by many as a reducter diet.


Furthermore, in a recent study published in the scientific journal Nature, it is clear that the topic of food consumption and its influence on the earth and its inhabitants is now of vital importance, so much so that the article emphasises the importance of choosing a healthy and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, as a truly decisive action both individually and collectively, with global coordination, which in addition to the introduction of the 'Universal Health Diet', (created by an international commission of The Lancet journal) sets the possible goal of halving food loss and waste while concretely reducing the same environmental impacts by up to one sixth (16%). The Flexitariana philosophy, therefore, positively represents an impact on people's health and a real fight against the infamous climate change, which by posing itself as a 'Diet-Non-Diet', also responds to other global problems, such as world hunger and bad eating habits.


But the great challenge of environmental impact, which goes hand in hand with the impact on one's health, is only met if two main rules are harmoniously shared:

  1. there should be a conscious and consistent choice in diet that 'always' respects the environment, choosing as little meat as possible (for example) and preferring zero impact vegetables and fruit and only seasonal ones

  2. there should be no obsession or rigidity about the diet to be followed on a daily basis, but to try to maintain the right orientation on the variety or frequency of food, sometimes even choosing red meat and sensitizing a good physical activity to go with it.


What are you waiting for to switch to the Flexi Diet?

"I can't stand those who don't take food seriously."
Oscar Wilde

Those who wish to become Flexitarians, as we have pointed out, need above all to be in possession of a strong personal motivation and a deep conviction of respect for nature, preferring seasonal fruit and vegetables and a low intake of meat.


But in addition to reasoning about the benefits and limitations of such a diet (not a diet), the new diet path presents a unique feature in which 'you can lose a kilo in as many as 200 different ways'. This is the incipit of the book 'Flex diet: Designing your own weight-loss plan', by WebMD's core expert Dr James Beckerman, who does not intend to offer yet another book on diets, but a true journey of self-exploration and "a new approach for a new man, living his own way." Such an interesting, simple, intuitive and practical book, which is developed in three steps for those who want to lose weight (with "Today, every day, my way") and which fully hits the target of the Flex diet paradigm that is:

  • In reviewing one's way of thinking about health, without ever having to suffer at the table, where with the help of continuous physical exercises that are healthy for both the heart and the entire organism, the Flex Diet has the true power to reorganize one's life, in a more natural and satisfying way, bringing back the pleasure of eating well and healthy, and restoring a smile to the spirit as well as the body.

The text, currently only available in English, is nonetheless extremely easy to follow, with its various recommendations on the journey of rediscovering the pleasure of eating well and loving oneself, as well as accepting oneself as an individual, making those small gradual changes that lead to great permanent results. It is a very recommended book.


For those who want to, there is another text in Italian, which is equally effective, entitled 'Flexitarian diet. La dieta flessibile' (The Flexible Diet) by Lucia Bacciottini, which offers no less than 10 weekly food plans suitable for 10 different lifestyles, proposing the Flex Diet as an updated version of the famous Mediterranean Diet.


Finally, in advising to always consult a doctor before starting any diet, we believe that the Flex Diet is the perfect combination of health and environment, and that it follows each individual's needs for diversity and respect. Therefore, we are once again including the calculator (this time in Italian) to help you calculate your calories and macronutrients, so you can start the diet that improves your health and saves the planet today.


With confidence and optimism, we wonder if we will all become Flexitarians one day?

What do you think about that?




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