If a plant-based diet appeals to you but you’re looking for a plan that’s less rigid, you might consider joining the approximately 23 million Americans who are flexitarian, meaning they follow a mostly vegetarian lifestyle but also occasionally eat meat.
Over the past 20 years or so, vegetarianism has increased – about 1% of the population were vegetarian in 1997, but by 2016, that number tripled with about 3% of the population following a meatless diet. But perhaps even more interesting is that an entirely new category of diet has emerged: flexitarianism.
There are no strict rules to being a flexitarian other than consciously trying to eat more plant-based foods and less meat. And you can still reap many of the same benefits: For example, one 2016 study published in PLOS Medicine showed that a vegetarian diet can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 34%, while a flexitarian diet can still reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 20%.
Here at CE, we’re big proponents of flexitarianism — adding more healthful plant foods to your diet is better for your body and the planet, plus the flexibility means you’re more likely to stick with it in the long run. We’ve got a full day of meatless meals to provide you with delicious inspiration to do just that.