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Flexitarian Diet - What is The Concept of a Semi-vegetarianism?

The flexitarian diet focuses on the frequent consumption of plant foods. Animal foods such as meat, fish and dairy products are consumed less frequently with this form of nutrition. But you can find out how healthy the flexitarian diet really is and how it can be implemented in the long term here.

Flexitarian Diet - What is The Concept of a Semi-vegetarianism

What exactly is a flexitarian?

As the term flexitarians suggests, there is no clear definition of whether and how often certain foods are consumed. One could also call a flexitarian diet "semi-vegetarian". Unlike vegans, who completely abstain from all foods of animal origin, every flexitarians can decide for themselves when to eat vegan, vegetarian or omni. Many humans pay attention besides consciously to the fact that animal food from biological and kind-fair attitude is bought. The quality of the food can therefore also play a role under certain circumstances.

The aim of flexitarians is to design their own diet in such a way that it is free of dogmas and fundamental prohibitions. With a focus on healthy, plant-based foods and the occasional special piece of meat, flexitarians' diet represents a promising approach to long-term healthy nutrition.

The flexitarian diet is characterised by the following points:

  • Vegetable foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes form the basis
  • Fish, meat and dairy products are consumed consciously and flexibly
  • Focus on vegetable protein suppliers
  • The food is often natural and little processed

For flexitarians vegetable food is in the foreground. Animal food is rarely and consciously consumed. Flexitarians can therefore also be described as part-time vegetarians.

Health benefits

How healthy a diet is depends on many factors that influence each other. Since it is in the nature of a flexitarian diet that there are no clearly defined dietary rules and the diet can change constantly, it is not possible to conduct specific studies.

However, vegan and vegetarian studies do allow to investigate the possible benefits of a plant-based diet. The health effects of high meat consumption are also well researched.

Lose weight more easily

First of all, a plant-based diet with a low proportion of animal foods supports the success of the consumer. If in the morning, instead of scrambled eggs and bacon, there is suddenly oatmeal with berries and walnuts, for example, satiating fiber and slow-burning carbohydrates are absorbed. As a result, the feeling of satiety is more pronounced and fewer calories are absorbed during the day (1).

Numerous studies have shown that a plant-based diet is superior to other meat-based diets during a diet. The participants were able to better integrate the diet into their everyday life. They also lost significantly more weight (2).

Preventing heart attack and stroke

People who eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, wholemeal products, nuts and seeds have a much lower risk of developing coronary heart disease or a stroke. This is mainly due to dietary fiber, unsaturated fatty acids and secondary plant substances (3). A real plus for flexitarians.

For example, vegetarians generally have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and consequently better heart health than meat eaters (4).

It is therefore worth giving up meat more often and trying out plant-based alternatives, as is the case with a flexitarian diet.

Would you like to try eating less meat? Here you will find tips for getting started with vegetarianism and our best vegetarian dishes, which are quickly prepared, in a vivid gallery:

Preventing cancer

The plant ingredients from fruit, vegetables and co. are actively involved in protecting against many types of cancer, as a study by the American Society for Cancer Research has confirmed. For example, a vegan diet reduces the general risk of developing cancer. After all, a vegetarian diet with dairy products and eggs could significantly reduce the risk of bowel cancer (5). This is good news for flexitarians and the flexitarian diet, in which animal foods are rarely used.

Dietary fibers are mainly responsible for the protection against cancer. They are essential for a healthy intestinal mucosa and actively prevent the formation of cancer cells. On the other hand, a high consumption of processed meat, such as ham or bacon and red meat (6), is beneficial to cancer. The less often you eat meat and the more often you consume nutritious, plant-based foods, the lower the likelihood of developing bowel cancer one day.

The low-meat and plant-based diet helps you lose weight and protects against cancer, heart attack and stroke.

Critical nutrients for every flexitarians

Far too often, the focus of flexitarians is exclusively on the fact that no more meat is eaten - but which foods should be eaten more often is often neglected in this consideration. If meat and fish leave our diet, then we should think about some nutrients and consume certain foods more frequently. In this way, we can stay fit and healthy in the long term with a flexitarian diet.


First of all the all-clear: protein is by no means a critical nutrient for us in the West. However, for many people, the first thought when giving up meat is: "And where do I get enough protein now?" Nutritional science is certain: if you consume cereal products, pulses and, in a vegetarian diet, occasionally eggs and dairy products, you will consume more than enough protein. This also applies to people who are active in sports.

The healthiest sources of protein in nature are beans, lentils, peas and soy products such as tofu and soy yogurt. Not only do they contain a lot of protein, but they also score points with satiating fiber, complex carbohydrates and plenty of iron and other nutrients.

vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is needed for metabolic processes in the body as well as for cell division and cell growth. Since meat is rich in vitamin B12, flexitarians consume less meat. If you eat meat once a week and also consume dairy products, you are usually sufficiently supplied with vitamin B12. Even if you take in too little B12 over a longer period of time, this is not a problem. This is because the body's B12 stores are sufficient for about three to five years.

You want to ensure your vitamin B12 supply? You can order one at Amazon at a reasonable price. By the way, an overdose is not possible because excess B12 is simply excreted by the body.


Since some soils are naturally low in iodine, plants are not a good source of iodine. However, iodine is immensely important for the production of metabolic hormones.

Anyone who wants to take up enough iodine (the daily requirement is 200 micrograms) should eat fish regularly, use iodized salt or take a supplement. Fish is so rich in iodine because fish eat algae containing iodine. The consequence: the trace element accumulates in the animals.

Of course it is also possible to use the iodine-containing algae directly instead of fish. However, this is not recommended, as too much iodine can be absorbed quickly in this way.

More nutrients

Nutrients such as iron or calcium are also occasionally part of the discussion.

Iron is found especially in beans and lentils and green leafy vegetables. Our tip: Combine these foods with fresh lemon juice, paprika or other vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C promotes the absorption of iron in the intestines (8).

Sufficient calcium can also be easily absorbed in a flexitarian diet through vegetables such as broccoli, vegetable milk and calcium or tofu.

With conscious food selection and needs-oriented supplementation, the supply of vitamin B12, iodine, protein and co. is no problem for flexitarians.

Becoming a flexitarian - how to start

If you are used to eating meat several times a week, it is easiest to replace the meat with vegetarian alternatives on a few days.

There are numerous manufacturers offering meat-like substitutes without animal ingredients. Meat-like products made of seitan, soy or mycoprotein make the changeover much easier. The changeover to a flexitarian diet can be made gradually within a few weeks and the feeling of missing something does not even arise.

First reduce the days on which you eat meat - to two days per week. Once you have got used to this, you can also do without meat, fish or other animal products completely for a week, as you wish. At the same time, your focus should be on the food you can eat and try out now.

Do you enjoy cooking chili con carne or spaghetti bolognese? With the help of tofu, herbs and strong spices, you can now easily replace minced meat as a flexitarian. Chopped kidney beans are also suitable as a vegetable meat substitute and give the sauce or chili the right consistency.

Meanwhile there is a vegetable alternative for almost all animal products. We have listed some examples below:

  • Meat & Fish: Meat substitutes made from plant or mycoprotein
  • Minced meat: Crushed tofu, smoked tofu, kidney beans, milk: vegetable drinks with calcium from almonds, oats, rice and much more
  • Yogurt: Yogurt made from soy or coconut milk
  • Cheese: substitute products from vegetable fats, spreadable creams, yeast flakes, cheese from nuts

Change your diet gradually and try to reduce your meat consumption to two days per week at the beginning. Explore plant-based alternatives and see for yourself their benefits and taste.

Flexitarian nutrition focuses on plant-based food and moderate consumption of meat, fish and other animal products. It can therefore also be described in a certain way as "part-time vegetarian". How often vegan or vegetarian meals are eaten is left up to each flexitarian and varies from person to person. Those who eat a varied and conscious diet can easily supply their body with all nutrients.

A diet rich in wholemeal products, legumes, fruit and vegetables and generally avoiding meat, fish and other animal products protects against numerous diseases. People who eat a vegan or vegetarian diet are less likely to develop cancers such as colon cancer and generally have a lower risk of heart attack or stroke. The renunciation of meat is also noticeable on the scales. A plant-based diet is best suited to get rid of annoying pounds.

Meat substitutes and tasty vegetarian and vegan recipes make the switch to a flexitarian diet .


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