Meat is a delicious treat and should be treated as such. Americans, though, and much of the West, view is more as a staple than as a rare indulgence. The average American eats well over 200 pounds of meat a year, which is detrimental to our health and the environment at large. We simply can’t sustain the amount of meat we consume – both our bodies and the world.
The simple fact is that meat is both satisfying and delicious. The dense fat and caloric content lend it this deliciousness. For this reason, it can be difficult for us to give up meat and follow the vegetarian diet, even if we want to. For those of you who may find yourself in this predicament, you may want to consider the flexitarian diet.
The flexitarian diet is defined by a serious reduction in meat consumption. People reduce their meat consumption in a variety of ways on the flexitarian diet, and although there is no defined maximum amount of meat you can consume, meat should be eaten sparingly.
Flexitarianism For Your Health and The Environment
The flexitarian diet offers a number of advantages. The vegetarian diet is, time and time again, proven through studies and research to be healthier than the typical American diet. There are lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, as well as lower rates of early mortality, increased energy levels, and better digestion, to name a few. Meat production and over consumption also leads to environmental degradation – polluting our waterways and aquifers, emitting large amounts of CO2 and methan gases, and inefficiently converting grains into animal products. By following the flexitarian diet, you can share the benefits of increased health and saving the planet.
Ways To Become Flexitarian
The best way to become flexitarian is to set yourself guidelines and rules to follow. By doing so, you won’t have to stress over every meal that involves meat, and you can simply refer to the guidelines you’ve set, rather than racking your brain over every nuanced detail of the meal.
One method is to set one day of the month or week when you will enjoy a meat filled dinner. If Friday is the day you decide to eat meat, you can look forward to it all week with giddy anticipation, which will make the experience of eating meat a special one. You can truly appreciate each bite, as you are not inundated by meat for every meal, and don’t equate it with other staples, such as bread and grains.
One of the best rules you can set for yourself is to eat meat only when it is offered to you. This takes all the stress out of decision making, and you can rest easy knowing that meat will eventually float in your direction in one way or another. If you go over to a friend’s house for dinner and they happen to be serving prime rib, you can feel free to indulge in their generous offering. This method also has the advantage of not being a burden to other people’s dietary habits. Vegetarians often have to reject food at meal time, which, however faultless it is, can feel slightly insulting and make a situation awkward.
You can, of course, just tell yourself to eat less meat, and you probably will. Keeping this in the back of your mind, you’ll order less meat when you’re dining out, and won’t throw it into your grocery cart quite as often. You’ll probably end up eating more meat than if you set yourself firmer rules, but at least you won’t eat quite as much.
The flexitarian diet will certainly increase your health. Hopefully, you’ll replace these absent meat calories with healthy foods, such as whole grains and vegetables. You’ll also be doing a little more to help the planet become a more sustainable place. And, most importantly, you will rediscover just how delicious and special meat is in the human diet.