Would You Try A ‘Flexi-Vegan’ Diet?
"I'd love to lean more vegan, but I can't do tofu," my friend told me over lunch one day. Understandable. I assured her that I do not eat much tofu, actually. Like meat and dairy, it's an occasional option--a treat food, if you will. Yeah, that's right, I said "treat." ;) Just like these Triscuit crackers I'm eating too many of as I write this. What dark, delicious magic do they put in these, anyway?! *Puts box down.*
Let's start with a WAY oversimplified definition of a vegan diet, which is one that doesn't include animal products of any kind--including honey. Some who embrace a vegan diet also don't wear or use any animal products of any kind. That's a different angle outside our scope for this blog. Let's chat only about the diet itself and not the ethical discussions that surround it. Cool.
Am I vegan? No, not exactly. I aim for around 85-90% vegan. Well, I prefer the term whole food, plant-based (WFPB.) Being vegan is not the answer, because you could subsist on potato chips and, well Triscuits, for example and be technically "vegan," but it wouldn't provide the nutrients your body needs.
Since September of last year, I've consumed a *mostly* WFPB vegan diet, but a more accurate term could be Flexi-Vegan. Why did I do this? After delving into all kinds of diet debacles, this seems to be the thing my body likes. It has resulted in a significant drop in my triglycerides, LDL, and blood pressure numbers. In the future, I'd like to talk more about that, as well as the diet coach that helped me so much along the way. Oh yeah, and I've lost about 30 lbs. that I hope I never find again.
The majority of the time that means a diet focused on whole grains, legumes, berries, nuts, seeds, and of course, lots of green and colorful veggies. Occasionally, I will enjoy some wild salmon or organic poultry, etc. Oh, and I try to take it easy on the oil. On special occasions, holidays, and when I really need a bit of honey in my tea, I indulge. It works for me. I also love that there is such variety of food and I don't really ever feel hungry.
Some people wonder if eating becomes boring when you're not eating high-fat animal products at every single meal. As someone who came out of the womb cleaning her plate, I assure you that is NOT the case. It's amazing how many different flavors you didn't realize you were missing when you're including such a wide range of foods you've never had before. I have also found many restaurants more than gracious about creating something amazing that works. Some people enjoy having more animal protein in their diets. That's the thing about a "flexible" approach--it is more of a spectrum than a law book.
So, then this morning I read this article from The Daily Mail website reporting a new study and subsequent recommendations to take a look at this Flexi-Vegan diet and thought "hey, this is similar to what I'm doing, give-or-take a bit."
The article reports that"scientists say you don't have to go vegan to be green as you can have the occasional steak or piece of blue cheese and still do your bit. Just a moderate shift away from red meat, diary and high calorie foods all goes to helping save the planet and our health."
So, even just cutting back on the high-fat, cream-filled, and overly decadent animal foods can be an important first step for your health--and the health of the planet. That's encouraging news--and we could all use a bit more of that. If you read it, let me know. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Now what did I do with my Triscui...salad, salad, I mean. Hmm. Triscuit salad.