There's little doubt that eating a vegetarian diet is good for your health. Those who choose to follow this lifestyle usually benefit by weighing 15% less than those who eat meat, typically have a lower rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer and also tend to live longer than meat-eaters. But many of us just can't fathom the idea of completely giving up meat. No turkey at Thanksgiving? No big, juicy steak off the grill? No 4th of July hot dogs at the family barbecue? How could we survive?
Well, here's how you can be a vegetarian, "cheat" a little and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. It's called "flexitarian" and it lets you be a "casual" vegetarian by adding meat to your diet on a limited basis. In the book by Dawn Jackson Blatner, "The Flexitarian Diet" she offers 3 levels: beginner, advanced and expert. At each of these levels you opt for meatless days. For instance, a beginner would only need to have 2 meatless days per week -- that doesn't sound so hard!
The author points out that it is not so much about giving up things in your diet as it is about adding more healthy choices like beans, nuts, whole grains and produce. Her plan is based on about 1500 calories a day which will help you lose weight but can easily be altered up or down -- skip the snacks to lower calories or double up on breakfast to increase calories.
You're protein sources will be from beans, nuts and seeds and since meat is usually the most expensive grocery item you can actually save money eating this way. But, by adding the occasional meat meal it makes it much easier to stay with this plan. Plus you'll find that just adding a small amount of meat to some dishes will satisfy your cravings without adding too many extra calories.
Another benefit to eating this modified vegetarian diet plan is that it can help you "wean" yourself from meat if you decide later to become a "full-fledged" vegetarian. It's really just a matter of re-educating yourself away from the idea of meat as your main course and using it more as a "seasoning" to some of your plant-based dishes.
So, whether or not you choose to follow a strict vegetarian diet plan, most nutrition experts will agree that reducing your intake of meat is definitely a healthier way to eat.
Stay fit and stay healthy by making smart choices. Learn more about this modified vegetarian diet plan and other great tips to stay healthy at Stay Fit Stay Healthy.com