Veganuary! This phrase seems to be everywhere we look at the moment, with lots of articles written about it, lots posted on social media, television documentaries made about it and plenty of recipe ideas everywhere to help achieve it! Have you been doing it? Halfway through the month how is it going? I’ve read mixed responses, some people are enjoying it, others have given up! It’s quite a big change cutting meat, fish and dairy out completely and living solely on plant based foods. I’m more an everything in moderation kind of girl!
As an alternative we are going for a flexitarian approach to meals for the family this month, I already try and incorporate vegan and vegetarian meals into our diet and source meat, fish etc from ethical, traceable sources, and local, where possible. However, with the excesses and social events that a busy Christmas brings this has been forgotten somewhat!
So what exactly does a flexitarian diet mean? It’s used to describes a mainly vegetarian diet but with the choice to eat meat sometimes. A flexitarian diet encourages mostly plant based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation. As the name suggests its more flexible than fully Vegetarian or Vegan diets. If like us, you don’t want to cut out meat completely but would like to add more plant based foods into your diet then a flexitarian approach is a good place to start. It is more a lifestyle choice than a diet and can be achieved by making a few simple changes.
The majority of your diet should be made up of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. (Common legumes include beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils and peanuts.)
Investigate getting protein from plant based foods rather than animals.
Choose minimally processed foods, ideally eating food in its most natural form.
When eating meat source good quality meat, local if possible, that is traceable.
Restrict sweets & cut back on added sugars – these are sugars added during the processing of foods.
A flexitarian approach is a good way to increase vegetables in your diet and slowly reduce meat consumption in a less extreme way than either strict Vegetarianism or Veganism, which some families may find unrealistic to keep up in the long term. I’m not sure my four-year-old is ready to give up his roast chicken, Yorkshire puddings and gravy! Taking a more relaxed approach should make this lifestyle change more maintainable and hopefully improve your overall health with the increase in vegetable’s providing less calories and higher fibre intake, both of which we know to help with weight loss.
As a family, for us, it would be unrealistic to try and eat Vegan or Vegetarian meals only in January, instead I see January as a good time to reset our eating habits after the excesses of Christmas. We are eating more seasonal fruit and vegetables, sourcing local produce where available and cutting down on sweets! This should benefit the environment, our waistlines and our pocket too!
Kirsty Wilson Close
Food Styling, Food Writing, Food Lover
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