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Time to go Flexitarian!

Now, more than ever, food is something we want to look forward to and savour, and if it’s food inspiration that you’re looking for, you might want to give being a Flexitarian a go…

Kind to the planet and our bodies?

That is the joy of the Flexitarian or Planetary Health Diet, a plant-based way of  eating with modest amounts of dairy, eggs, fish and meat.

The Planetary Health Diet was developed in 2019 by Lancet-EAT, a commission of 37 top international scientific experts in public health, agriculture and the environment. This diet aims to balance the nutrition of the people with the sustainability of the earth.

Positively planetary or too good to be true?

Although this is a new diet, the health benefits of plant-based diets and the similarly omnivorous Mediterranean diet have been well documented:

– Plant foods are high in fibre which can aid digestion and alleviate constipation.

– Swapping refined carbohydrates and sugar for wholegrains can help you feel more energetic, fuller for longer and even help you lose weight.

– Oily fish contain large amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which have been linked to both a happy heart and mind.

By consuming plant-based foods alongside small quantities of animal products we get a wide variety of foods from which to glean our essential vitamins and minerals than on a restrictive or limited diet. However, there is still a risk of deficiency, particularly in relation to Vitamins D, B12 and calcium.

As it is flexible it may be easier to follow. With this diet you have the freedom to say yes to that slice of lovingly made cake and explore vegan alternatives.

Planetary eating encourages us to think more about the impact of what we eat, so that we mindfully cut down, rather than cut out.

Planetary here we come …

If the idea of a flexitarian, planetary diet excites you then here are some tips to get started.

  1. Seek out someone who will encourage you on your planetary journey, they could boost your motivation and share ideas.
  2. Eat plenty of different coloured fruits and vegetables every day.
  3. Enjoy modest portions of dairy and eggs, fish and meat a few times a week.
  4. Boost your protein with pulses, nuts and seeds, especially chia and linseed which are high in omega 3 fats.
  5. Favour wholegrains instead of refined carbohydrates, like white bread and cut back on sugar.
  6. Check out nut and soya milk alternatives, although be aware that these don’t contain all the same nutrients as dairy.
  7. Try to eat organic or free-range if possible.
  8. Experiment with plant-based recipes to expand your repertoire.
  9. Favour whole rather than processed foods (including plant products) containing reams of unfamiliar ingredients. Processed foods can be high in sugar, unhealthy fats and salt. They are often packed in plastic which is wasteful and can contain BPA which may affect hormones.
  10. Ask your health store about supplements.
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Written by
Laura Higgitt

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