With the beginning of the new year, many of us are starting diets and trying to reach new health goals. There are so many diets out there with their own set of rules, it can be hard to keep up. Many times, it’s these strict rules which keep us from continuing with our diets.

There is one diet that many people are considering: Flexitarianism. Though it’s been around for a long time, people are beginning to realize that this versatile option can do wonders for your health. But what is the flexitarian diet, and what are its benefits?

What it Is

“Flexitarian” is a combination of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.” It’s exactly what it sounds like– adhering to a vegetarian diet most of the time. It’s ideal for people who want to eat more fruits and vegetables without giving up meat completely. The US News & World Report calls the flexitarian diet one of the top diets for both losing weight and staying healthy.

When Flexitarians do eat meat, they should ensure it is from an ethical source. 100% grass fed beef from a company like Seven Sons is the best choice for this diet. Ethically raised animals are healthier than processed meat and fish.

Will I Lose Weight?

This diet does lead to losing weight. Vegetarians often eat fewer calories, weigh less, and have a lower body mass index, or BMI. The International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders published a six year study of 38,000 adults, which concluded that Flexitarians weigh 3% to 20% less on average than omnivores.

Actively lowering your meat consumption and eating more fruits and veggies is sure to help your weight loss goals along. To effectively lose weight on any diet, you should also exercise regularly.

What are the Benefits?

There are a plethora of benefits to choosing the flexitarian diet.

  1. It’s not restrictive. Cutting back on meat consumption is the only requirement for this diet. You can continue to cook meals just as you would before, just replace meat with the appropriate plant protein.
  2. You can eat out! There is no need to choose a restaurant based on unique restrictions. Checking the menu beforehand for a healthier or meat-free option is very doable.
  3. You won’t feel hungry. Many diets incorporate calorie restrictions, which can leave many of us still feeling hungry even after we’ve finished a meal. With this diet, you can cook as you did before and eat plant-based meals until you are satisfied.
  4. It doesn’t get old. Unlike other diets, you don’t have to eat the same thing every day. This will keep you from getting bored and abandoning your plan.
  5. It’s easy to follow. There are no strict rules to adhere to, so you can feel positively about the progress you make, rather than feel restricted. Many people continue to cut more meat from their diet as they go along the more comfortable they feel with it.

Is This Diet Right For You?

If you’re looking to cut back on meat and improve your health this year, look no further than the flexitarian diet. It combines the familiarity of the vegetarian diet with the satisfaction of still being able to eat meat and other animal products like butter and milk.

The best thing about this diet is you’re able to try things at your own pace. Participating in things like “Meatless Mondays” one day a week can be just the thing to get you started on your journey. You don’t need to feel pressured into dropping meat for good- everyone has different needs!