The thought of divorcing meat, poultry and seafood is daunting for many. Veganism isn’t quite the answer to losing weight, nor is a fad diet. Perhaps it’s time to give the increasingly popular flexitarian diet a chance. It’s a practice wherein you’re primarily a vegetarian, but include meat and fish in moderation.

What makes it attractive
Given the bird flu scare, because of which people are ‘chickening out’ of consuming the animal, the flexitarian diet offers a middle path. It combines the best of both worlds—vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Ranked as the best diet by the US News & World Report, 2019, it is pretty straightforward to follow too.

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Diet decoded
The emphasis is on locally procured and freshly picked produce. “You don’t have to restrict yourself from any food group, but just include more plant-based foods, consuming meat in moderation. It doesn’t extend fussy rules over your calorific intake. It’s about being inclusive rather than restrictive. The result is a high-fibre intake, limited animal fat consumption, restricted consumption of high-calorie and processed foods,” says Mumbai-based Pooja Bhargava, health coach, holistic nutritionist and fitness expert. It urges dieters to limit sugar and boost the benefits with regular exercise.

Health benefits
It’s a boon for the diabetics. “Being low on the glycemic index and high in fibre, the flexitarian diet consists of healthy fats like monounsaturated and saturated fats, keeping insulin levels under check,” says Dr Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director at Atmantan Wellness Centre, Mulshi, Maharashtra. The diet also guards against breast and prostate cancers, as plant-based, antioxidant-rich foods prevent damage to oxygen levels in your system, according to him.

The diet also eases out pre- and post-menopausal symptoms. “You essentially streamline hormone-induced non-vegetarian food, in addition to sausages and cold cuts rich in saturated fat and salt, thus contributing towards better health parameters,” says Bhargava.

Shilpi Madan for The New Indian Express

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