There are a lot of myths, legends, lore and flat out lies being told and sold in the diet industry. Our job, instead, is to tell it like it is. On the surface the Flexitarian diet appears to be healthy, so you could stay on it long enough to get results, but is it really? Or, could it be a halfhearted nightmare that has moved off Elm street and onto yours?
We will examine this and a whole lot more below.
Each sub-headline is actually a question. So, be sure to peruse all of them, so that you know you’ve had all of your questions answered, even the ones you didn’t know you had.
Disclaimer: The following is for educational purposes only. We are not advocating a change in dietary, health or exercise protocols. Please seek the advice or council of your nutritionally educated health care practitioner prior to engaging in any dietary or exercise changes.
What Is The Flexitarian Diet?
This is a diet for people who want to be on a vegan diet but also want to eat meat, eggs, cheese and everything else.
If that sounds confusing, well, it is. Flexitarian is a word that really describes someone who wants to commit but can’t or really doesn’t want to bad enough or would like you to believe they are at least trying.
Basically, it’s someone saying that they are vegan but still eat meat, eggs, dairy, fish and poultry whenever they feel like it, which for most of them turns out to be a couple times per day.
Yes, the Flexitarians may not like to hear this, because they likely feel like, hey, we figured out a way to have our cake and eat it too and now you’re raining on our parade.
To their credit, the diet does focus on eating ‘more’ whole plant foods. However, how much ‘more’ exactly is left up to interpretation and in our experience ends up not being too much different than traditional diets.
Now, if a person was to really focus on eating the vast majority of their diet based in or on whole plant foods and truly only have animal products as a side dish once per day or the 3 times per week that you’re really supposed to, then sure, this diet would be better for your health.
The reason being that, cutting down that much on animal products would reduce many of the inflammation causing ingredients in their diets and would be a big step forward. Not perfect, but quite a bit better.
The problem is that, what we see happening in reality is that they are not taking this approach and instead are having let’s say, as an example 3 to 4 servings of animal products per day instead of their typical 4 to 5 servings.
This is just not the type of decrease in animal products that we would be looking for to help increase one’s health.
There are many studies that show consuming just one half of one egg per day is more than enough to set off the markers showing adverse effects in many areas of health for the body.
So, without some definition as to just what more plant foods and less animal products actually means, we’ll have to ere on the side of no, this is likely not a very good diet and is one that most people will simply abuse.
What Foods Can You Eat On A Flexitarian Diet?
That’s the problem, just about anything you want, any time you want. We looked for someone to have a set number of animal products that you could consume per day or per week in their diet system, but to no real avail.
The recommendations were rather vague. Most seemed to center around language such as; a few servings per week with a couple saying 2 to 4 servings per week.
Knowing human nature, we can say without a doubt that most people will turn a few (generally thought of as 3) animal servings per week into 6 to 10 or even more.
So, the foods you can eat are supposed to be; mostly plant based foods such as beans and legumes, fruits and vegetables, tubers and starches and then on top of that you’re supposed to have just a few, roughly 3, servings of animal products.
These animal products can range from red meat to fish, dairy to fowl and pork to crustaceans. There really aren’t any foods that are particularly off limits.
As noted previously, we wouldn’t likely have too much of a problem with this diet if it weren’t for the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a set-in stone number of animal based servings.
The thing most people don’t realize is that, in studies, arthritis symptoms didn’t come to near full dissipation until ALL the monthly (let alone weekly) servings of animal products were removed from the diet.
Near perfect cholesterol levels were not achieved while even consuming 1 hard boiled egg per week. Once that egg was out of the diet, the participants started moving towards and even achieving perfect or near perfect cholesterol levels within weeks or months.
It was not that only a small percentage of the groups saw this shift, it was nearly everyone. In fact, the number of people who shifted was so large that the remaining participants who didn’t shift could be covered in just the acceptable study variances for those who didn’t adhere to the study rules.
This means that just their plus or minus allotments for those who would not adhere to the protocols were large enough to cover all those who DIDN’T see results.
The reason we bring this up is that, the best or perfect diet should by design help to make both you and your family healthier during its usage, not destroy your health.
To any thinking reasonable person this would make perfect sense, right? Then why do so many people go on diets that destroy their health?
One could argue that they just don’t know nay better. But, when you go on an all-meat diet where the meat is just boiled for 1 minute to kill the bacteria and not to cook it and you don’t poop for a week, that should be a sign.
If you’re not pooping at a bare minimum once per day, with 2 or 3 times being better, then you are on the wrong diet.
Any time you’re not eliminating on a daily basis or a several times per day basis, then you’re toxic, guaranteed.
There is no way around it, you’re going to get sick eventually if not in the immediate future.
Is Flexitarian The Same As Vegan Or Vegetarian?
No. Flexitarians eat meat, poultry, and fish whereas vegetarians only eat eggs and dairy products, and vegans eat none of the above. Some vegetarians may attempt to claim that they are flexitarian, but that is just not true. Vegetarians don’t eat anything with a face on it or so is their claim. But, an egg would eventually have a face on it after birth, so??? You decide if that’s legit or not.
Is The Flexitarian Diet Good For Your Health?
Not in our opinion, no. Ok, yes, it would be a step up from the SAD (Standard American Diet) that most people eat, yes, that is true. But only if people did it the way they are supposed to. This diet calls for people to only consume animal products a few times (3 is generally accepted as a few) times per week. The problem is that, they start eating that many servings per day.
People have a real hard time abstaining from things. If not, then priests would not have so many charges and lawsuits, politicians would not have so many scandals and wrist slapping’s and no one would be fat.
The reason we picked on priests and politicians is not that we think they are all bad, but they are elected or appointed to be the best of us, and still they fail.
So, what do you think the majority of the people will do?
Yes, you guessed it, they will eat much more than they should. This is not a pessimistic view, this is our current reality.
This means that if followed it would be at least better than what most people are eating today. Is it ideal? No.
Will most people follow it? You tell us.
Can You Do Keto On A Flexitarian Diet?
Yes, certainly you can. You can do it on a vegan diet too, so flexitarian is just that much easier. If you were following a proper flexitarian diet, then you’d basically eat vegan with 3 servings of animal products per week. Since these products can be virtually all protein with little to no carbs, this would make keto easier for at least 3 feedings.
You, like a vegan would have to rely quite a bit on protein powders. Because the keto diet as espoused in modern day has never existed in nature. It could be said that then you’d need to eat all meat, no dairy.
Yes, that could have been done in nature and most certainly there were times when it was done out of food scarcities.
What Are The Flexitarian Diet Pros And Cons?
First, we’ll cover the cons and second the pros.
Flexitarian Diet Cons
1. Because you’re not abstaining completely from animal products you won’t ever see all of the benefits of veganism or a completely plant-based diet.
This is more of a con than you might initially think. Many might presume that you possibly get the 80/20 rule where you get 80 percent of the benefits. However, studies show the opposite.
They show that with only the consumption of one hard boiled egg per week you negate up to 50 percent of the total benefits of a 100 percent plant diet. The study also had people also abstain from all oils, just to be clear.
You might ask why? Well, oils don’t exist in nature. You can’t just walk up to a canola field, turn a spigot and get oil. The same thing applies to olive trees and avocado trees.
These pure liquid fats just don’t exist in nature in any quantity. They, even though thought to be healthy, do have negative aspects to them.
2. The majority of people won’t just consume 3 servings of animal products per week. So, if by consuming only 3 servings they could reduce the negatives by let’s say 50 percent, most would consume more. Even just 2 more weekly servings depending upon what they are could negate another 30 percent of the potential benefits. Then, you’re at only a 20 percent improvement. 5 or 6 more servings and depending on what they were you could negate all beneficial effects.
Flexitarian Diet Pros
1. If followed correctly, so that you only consume 3 or less servings of animal products per week, it does have the potential to lower chronic inflammation to some degree. Complete abstinence of course works better, but this is a step in the right direction.
2. Any diet that gets people to consume more whole plant foods is a better diet than those that don’t.
The research is beyond clear, eating animals kills you. In most cases it’s a slow painful death of cancer, heart disease (which can also be quick) and all-cause mortality with the underlying root cause being chronic, low grade, systemic inflammation.
So, if followed, this diet helps reduce the amounts of animal products being consumed which then helps to lower to varying degrees the inflammation that we discussed above.
If not followed properly, it doesn’t do much at all.
Would we recommend the flexitarian diet? No. The ease of straying from it for most people is just too great. The only partial abstinence is only marginally effective at lowering the inflammation markers and it fools people into believing they are doing really well with their dietary habit, which is just not the case.