Flirting with Flexitarianism

The smartest thing you can do to improve your health is to become a vegetarian.

Why? Because switching to a balanced vegetarian diet has been proven to help you lose weight, feel healthier, and live a longer life.

But bacon taste sooo good.

Graham Hill, founder of treehugger.com, has a solution. It’s a compromise for meat eaters who have their heart in the right place, but not their stomachs. He calls it being a “Weekday Veg.”

In Hill’s TedTalk called, “Why I’m a Weekday Vegetarian,” he proposes a very simple solution: No meat, Monday through Friday. On the weekend, feel free to order that bacon cheeseburger. He thinks being a vegetarian doesn’t have to be a binary choice. After all, curbing five days a week of meat consumption is cutting 70% of your meat intake. And that incremental improvement is substantial.

Hill’s philosophy fits into a category of eating called, “Flexitarianism.” That’s right, this is a real word that you can find in the dictionary as noted by this Greatist.com article called, “WTF is the Flexitarian Diet (And Should You Try it).” A Flexitarian is defined as, “one whose normally meatless diet occasionally includes meat or fish.” Simply put, it’s a semi-vegetarian.

The movement gained steam with Dawn Jackson Blatner’s book, “The Flexitarian Diet” and Mark Bittman’s “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health… For Good.” While Hill promotes being a vegetarian on weekdays, Bittman alternatively proposes a strict vegan diet (no meat or dairy) before 6 p.m. While each philosophy has different executions, they all share a flexibility that allows you to eat healthier, without sacrificing the foods you love.

But there are limits to being a proper Flexitarian. First, don’t be too lenient on your flex times – that’s just cheating. Second, maintain proper portion control on all your food intake. Lastly, you still need to make smart food choices by adding more greens, fruits, and grains to your overall diet.

The brilliance of the flexitarian philosophy is the element of compromise. Your diet doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. And while it may not be the end of your journey towards an optimal diet, it’s certainly a good start. 

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