Embrace a Flex-atarian Lifestyle!

January 29, 2015

Holy Guacamoly! Our time together here is coming to an end, today. Again, it has been an honor and privilege to connect and communicate with you all throughout the month. As we move into the final food strategy, I hope you continue to join me and allow me the pleasure of guiding you on your health and wellness journey throughout the year.

As always, this final strategy rounds out the tools in your toolbox to build a healthy eating lifestyle that will stand the test of time. Continue to incorporate and improve upon the first 4 strategies as you see they all merge together in perfect harmony. But, the beauty of it still remains that you can use these guidelines as strict or loosely as you wish.

By now you know that results are best found with consistent consistency.

  • Drink half your body weight in water ounces, daily.
  • Divide and conquer your meals for maximum results, 3-4 hours starting with breakfast.
  • Eat a fruit or vegetable, or both at every meal and snack.
  • Enjoy just one bread, pasta, or baked good, daily.

To round out this process, I leave you with a strategy to adopt a more flex-atarian lifestyle. The term flex-atarian comes from the combination of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.” This approach to healthy eating offers the benefits of a plant based diet without eliminating beef, poultry, pork, seafood, or dairy, entirely.  But, learning to eat it in a more reduced and responsible manner.

As a registered dietitian, I encourage building meals around nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, nuts and seeds, seafood, and low-fat dairy foods. These foods provide more vitamins and minerals per bite, but fewer calories. On a flex-atarian plan animal sources become a complement to the meal without overpowering it. It’s a win-win, in my book.

Strategy- Limit to one (or none) animal sources per each meal, excluding egg whites, and reduced fat, or fat-free dairy foods due to the low saturated fat content of these exceptions.

Anytime you eliminate processed foods, sugar sweetened beverages, and foods high in trans- and saturated fats you are going to get a variety of health benefits. This strategy approach does just that. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans and peas, and whole grains are literally bursting with life promoting nutrients that most of Americans don’t get nearly enough; let’s change that.

However, animal food sources have their health contributions, too! Muscle building proteins, energy promoting B12, and immune boosting zinc and iron are all jam-packed in our meats, poultry and seafood. Not to mention, that low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurts remain the number one food source of bond building calcium, vitamin D, and heart healthy potassium. But… diets high in saturated fats found in animal products have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. No fear, moderation of animal foods, not necessarily elimination will protect your heart and promote health without worry.

Bottom line, all whole foods are important to generate good health. Adopting a flex-atarian mentality is a smart and healthy way to eat what you want, just not all at once.

Here are a few examples how to rethink your plate.

Egg bacon and cheese biscuit. Swap- Toasted English muffin with turkey bacon, egg whites only, and fat-free cheese slice.

Cheesy Omelet. Swap- 4-6 egg whites and cheese. Or, 1 egg + 4 egg whites and low-fat cheese.

Bacon cheese burger. Swap- Whole grain bun, grilled chicken breast, and no cheese or bacon.

Cobb Salad has bacon, egg, cheese, and chicken. Swap- Salad with grilled meat, low-fat cheese. Or, salad with no meat and real cheese, but still leave off the bacon.

Steak, baked potato with butter, sour cream, and buttered vegetables. Swap- Steak, baked potato with Greek yogurt, and vegetables spritzed with olive oil.

Are you getting the gest how this works? What magic does this bring to the table? Less unhealthy (saturated) fats, less dense calories, and more opportunity for plant based foods on your plate. You can’t imagine the dent in total fat and calories you could make if you would commit to adopt the idea of limiting the amount of animal products consumed.

You must agree with me, majority of Americans eat too much meat, daily!

Need extra convincing? Recent research suggests that if Americans would only replace 1 meal a day with a vegetarian protein (beans, nuts, seeds, peas, or soy) option we could reduce diabetes by 30%! Notice that is a “less “recommendation, not a “none” recommendation. Personally, I will never be convinced that we must be totally meat free to be healthy. You certainly don’t have to consume meat to be healthy, but choosing to enjoy it in a responsible manner isn’t wrong either. The good news is Americans have access to many diverse types of healthy wholesome foods, so our dietary lifestyle is truly up to the individual to create. I choose a flex-atarian approach, and encourage you do, too.

This has been a blast! I hope you learned something throughout this process. For a free download of my 5 strategies for easy reference, click here. Please, connect with me on social media, look forward to my blog’s facelift soon, and you can download my free App today to stay connected on it all. Until then, I would love to hear your thoughts on the strategies. Talk to me!

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Rebecca, Thank you so much for a wonderful month of tips and information as we “BEGIN” a healthy lifestyle; however, I know your tips can be used in all aspects of life – whatever journey we’re embarking on!  Everyone, please take some time to visit our Blogger of the Month, ask questions if desired, and stay connected!  Afterall, that’s what this community is all about!

Renee Young January 29, 2015 at 2:15 pm

loved this month!

thanks for all the great tips rebecca! 🙂

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