Unless you’ve stayed inside with no media access for a very long time, you know that the healthy eating culture has exploded in recent years.
This explosion has gone hand in hand with the birth of flexitarians – people who are part-time vegetarians in order to have a healthier diet, but who also consume some meat and/or seafood.
Today, every supermarket stocks vegetarian foods and every food magazine and website offers vegetarian recipes.
But the abundance of information available can be overwhelming for someone who is new to the flexitarian lifestyle.
For all those interested in reducing their meat consumption, here is a list of initial steps to take and resources that may be of help.
– Start gradually.
If you’re used to meat-heavy meals, try eating vegetarian once a week.
Check out Meatless Monday at http://www.meatlessmonday.com.
This is a newbie-friendly site dedicated to lowering consumption of saturated fat.
– Buy a vegetarian cookbook and keep trying new dishes.
Trial and error is the best way to develop your taste and find favourites.
Still want your meat, even that one night?
You could try hybrid foods which combine meat with vegetables or grains.
– Use smaller portions of meat in your meals.
Avoid the misperception that the meal has to be centred on meat.
A balanced diet is based on balanced meals.
Reducing meat portions in favour of other parts of the meal is an easy change that does not require great effort or expertise.
– Look to other areas of the world.
Faced with the immense variety of meatless foods out there, it can be smart to zone in on one region.
If your ancestors were immigrants, try the meatless foods that their region has to offer.
If you have many Italian friends, focus on pizzas and pastas; if they’re middle eastern, try falafel and hummus.
– Make healthy lifestyle choices.
Diet changes are much more effective when accompanied by these.
You are also more likely to stick to such changes when you are already experiencing them on your plate.
Add exercise to your regime and minimize unhealthy habits such as drinking.
– Use resources smartly.
Here are four useful sources for the beginner flexitarian:
The Healthy Hedonist / Myra Kornfeld.
Written especially for flexitarians, this cookbook is an excellent tool with which to start.
Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook.
Vegetarians Times magazine has been the main vegetarian publication for almost 30 years and is well-known for its recipes.
Today, over 70% of its readers are flexitarian.
http://nutrition.about.com and http://vegetarian.about.com.
About.com guides can be overwhelming, but if you use the search function wisely and take your time discovering the site, you can find some true gems.
This is an excellent, simple guide to vegetarian eating.
Use the recipes, books and articles sections to find the right information for you.
– Finally, do what feels right to you.
With popular movements such as healthy eating come guidelines, tendencies and many people eager to share their ideas with you.
Flexitarianism is meant to allow you to choose your own path.
Don’t worry about whether you are up to date on the latest trends.
Moderating your meat consumption is an important step towards limiting your fat intake, preventing heart disease and balancing your diet.
By taking these first few steps, you can be well on your way to a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle.