Assuming you've already read the article, Have Your 'Steak' and Eat It: 10 Reason Why a Flextitarian Diet is Trending Right Now, and you agree that eating less meat is a good thing, you now feel you want to make some changes. But where to start?
If you’re familiar with the Too Many Foodies website, you will know there are loads of recipes, which are mostly plant-based meals that can be easily adapted with the help of the Flexi Tweaks (suggestions on how to add meat, fish or dairy if it takes your fancy). But it's all very well having a few recipes up your sleeve but exactly how are you going to integrate a Flexitarian diet around your busy life?
Well I've done the thinking for you and have compiled 9 ways to be Flexitarian that are simple and easy ways you can cut down on meat without giving it all up. Everyone’s different so finding what works for you and your family is the key to success. I hope this helps.
1. Meat-Free Monday
Meat-free Monday is a really good start. If you a total meat-head i.e. must eat meat at every meal, but your conscious is catching up with you then Meat Free Mondays is a great choice to kick start a Flexitarian diet. You can gradually try plant-based meals one day a week of your choice - it doesn't have to be Mondays – and you’ll be on your way to loving the plants!
2. Meat-Filled Mondays
Appreciating the good Meat Free Mondays has achieved with raising awareness of the impact that eating meat has on the environment, our health and the animals, we actually need to be eating far less meat than just one day a week. So how about flipping Meat Free Mondays on its head and introducing Meat-filled Mondays instead? In essence, you will eat meat just one day in the week, and plant-based meals the rest of the time. Again, it doesn't have to be a Monday, it could be Meat-filled Fridays. The choice is yours.
3. Day-time Veggie
Some people find they can be more disciplined at work when it comes to eating and diet. You’re working, have a routine and food can often feel like just be fuel to get you through the day. If this is the case with you, as long as you feel satisfied and not hungry, filling your tupperware with plant-based lunches could be a great way to integrate a Flexitarian diet into your life whilst getting you meat-fix in the evening. It's especially good if you love eating a more plant-based diet but the people you live with insist on eating meat so your evening meals need not divide you.
4. Weekday Veggie
If, like many of us, you live for the weekend whilst getting your head down with work, exercise and early nights through the weekdays, then this might be a good one for you. It’s bound to save you money because you’ll be eating mainly beans, pulses and vegetables, which are much cheaper and healthier than cheap meat at a similar cost. Keeping your head down in the week and having a splurge at the weekends are often how us Brits live so this may well be a good one for integrating a Flexiatrian diet into your working week.
5. At-home Veggie
Why not try eating a plant-based diet at home, and meat or fish when you go out to eat? This strategy is quite popular amongst some of my friends. Again, it’s certainly is a money saver and means if you’re invited out to eat or over to a friends you can eat whatever you like.
6. Eat-out Veggie
It's becoming easier and easier to eat vegetarian and vegan when out and about. The popular restaurant chain Carluccios have just launched the biggest plant-based menu out of all the high street chains. One friend has said she cooks meat at home because that’s what she knows how to cook, but when eating out she prefers to eat veggie to take advantage of all the flavours that go into vegetarian cooking, without relying on the flavour of meat.. This again is a great option if your family are meat eaters but you would prefer to eat more plant-based foods.
7. Veganuary or Meat-Free May
Committing to a month or two a year without any meat, fish or diary is another way to be Flexitarian. Veganuary is a great way to get the new year off to a healthy and ethical start. Friends of the Earth also have Meat-Free May, which is also a great healthy start to the Summer. Many vegans start off by making a time-limited pledge like Veganuary by realising how good they feel eating a purely plant-based diet. Others do Veganuary, feel great for it but don’t go the whole (vegan) hog. But what they do take away from the experience is a new love of plants and a shift in attitude towards their diet.
8. Swap dairy for plant-based alternatives
Why not try swapping your regular cows milk for a plant-based variety? There are now so options available in most supermarkets. My personal favourite is cashew nut milk but others that are also delicious are made from soya, oats, almonds, hazel nuts and coconut. Diary is often overlooked when it comes to ethical eating but it does have a high carbon footprint. Even if you don't give up dairy completely. making some swaps is sure to make a positive impact.
9. Give up Beef
We know that when it comes to the meat industry's impact on the environment and our health, cattle agriculture is arguably the main offender. If you're going to give up any kind of animal meat then beef is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint and will also give your digestive system a break. And you know what, if you fancy a steak on your birthday then just do it. After all, you are Flexitarian!