The evidence for a herbal diet is pretty convincing. Vegetarians tend to weigh less, have less LDL (or bad cholesterol), and lower the risk of cancer. But giving up meat is daunting, especially if you can not live without burgers, bacon or a juicy rib-eye. However, there is a way you can eat and eat your steak: the flexible diet.
As the name suggests, this amount generally eats vegetarians, but no gore. That means you can order a burger if the desire comes after that. Sounds tempting?
Here's a look if it's right for you.
What is the flexibility diet?
This concept became popular after Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., published The Flexitarian Diet in 2008. The term has even conquered a place in Merriam Webster that defines flexitarianism as someone whose "normally meatless diet occasionally contains meat or fish."
According to Blatner, she coined the term because eating meat caused guilt because she was a vegetarian.
"I have developed this kind of food for people who know that vegetarianism is one of the healthiest and most intelligent ways of eating, but do not want to sit in the corner with an empty bun while grilling," she writes.
Blatner's plan is divided into three phases depending on your current meat intake: beginner, intermediate and expert.
If you can not even understand one meat-free meal a day, you should start with the first level. However, those who already limit the consumption of meat, can switch to advanced.
How much meat can you eat as part of the flexible diet?
In general, you should structure the meals according to your level:
Beginners : You would like to eat about 26 ounces of meat or poultry per week and 2 meatless days.
Advanced : Target 1
Expert : Aspire 9 ounces of meat or poultry per week and 5 meatless days.
Beginners seem to be overwhelming? Build on it, suggests Holly Herrington, R. D. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
"Start with one to two meals [per week]," she says. "Then three meals and then a whole day."
What are the benefits of a flexible diet?
For starters, this plan is not as restrictive as so many other fads.
"I love this diet because I think what makes it so attractive is how feasible it is," says Herrington. There is no need to give up wings, burgers or other foods that you love.
"It's more of a push to bring fruits and vegetables to the store," she says.
Provided that meat is replaced with products such as potato chips, you get a good selection of vitamins and minerals, says Herrington. Guys should consume about 35 grams of fiber per day, but studies have found that only five percent of Americans eat enough of the nutrient.
Aside from the obvious fact that dietary fiber, such as regular bowel movements, lowers cholesterol, it can reduce the risk of heart problems and keep you full longer.
Not impressed? Well. According to an overview of 2016 studies published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition a flexitarian diet is also associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and lower body weight.
Does cutting out meat help with weight loss?
As with any diet, losing weight occurs in what and how much you eat. Eating a whole cheese pizza instead of chicken does not help you lose extra pounds. And it is quite possible to exaggerate healthy foods like avocados.
"You can still gain far too many calories from healthy foods," says Herrington. Take nuts, for example. A serving of almonds 23 nuts, but it's easy to eat twice as much as without a single serving.
"I do not know many people who eat 23 almonds and say, 'Oh, I'm so full,'" says Herrington, "It's not just about cutting out meat."
What is a typical meal? on tofu and salads. A typical flexitarian breakfast could include Greek yogurt with berries and peanut butter toast, eggs with vegetables or tofu scrambled eggs. Whole wheat noodles or veggie burgers make a meat-free lunch easy, and vegetable fritters are great weekday dinners.
Devote half of your plate to vegetables. Then add one-third each for protein and starch.
How to Start
Before you dive in, look at how many meals a meal contains per week. Then develop a plan to slow consumption slowly, advises Nathalie Sessions, RD, at the Houston Methodist Hospital. Herrington recommends starting with a plant-based meal a week if you eat meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you pay attention to portion sizes, you can be sure that you are not eating too much while you are packing enough fruit and vegetables.