Monday, June 17, 2024

FYI: Flexitarian diet- A shift to plant-based regimen

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According to a survey, 54% of Gen Z and 34% of baby boomers are making active efforts to restrict the amount of meat in their diets by adding more plant-based substitutes. Tanisha Saxena spoke to experts in the field to delve into the new diet plan, i.e, the flexitarian diet.

“Our health is in crisis, and so is our climate. What if there was a way of eating that could help us live healthier lives for longer while also protecting the future of our planet? The good news is that evidence now shows a plant-based diet may offer us exactly the solution,” wrote Simon Hill in his book, The Proof Is in the Plants.

Simon Hill is the founder of the hugely popular Plant Proof podcast and blog of the same name. And rightly so, “flexitarian diet” sums up the thought.Here at The Pioneer, we pen down everything you need to know about the flexitarian diet.

Flexitarians are people who are making efforts to restrict the amount of meat in their diets, even though they may not actively be vegans or vegetarians. Reports suggest that this cohort makes up 42% of the market, and this percentage is constantly on the rise.

Another survey illustrates that 54% of Gen Z and 34% of baby boomers are making active efforts to restrict the amount of meat in their diets by adding more plant-based substitutes.

The Pioneer spoke with Sheetal Bansal, an integrative nutritionist and gut health coach, to delve deeper into this diet plan, and she shares, “A flexitarian diet is a diet that focuses on plant-based foods and beverages. The word flexitarian is a combination of two words flexible and vegetarian. This diet is super flexible in terms of calorie count and macronutrient goals (carbs /fats /proteins).This diet is extremely beneficial to dieters.

The benefits are more than just weight loss, as it reduces the risk of cholesterol and regulates blood sugar levels, making it a diabetic-friendly diet.The plant-based concept helps our body assimilate and absorb nutrients at their best and improves our gut health as it multiplies the good microbiome inside the system. I have seen many people who are not able to follow the fad diets because of limitations, and my clients are not having any limitations as we follow the principle of flaxitarian diet where no food group (fruits/vegetable /grains /dairy/legumes) are eleminated.”

Bansal believes that the flexitarian diet is the sensible diet because it can be maintained for a long time and over a lifetime. Hence, it’s a non-restrictive diet that allows an individual to relish their favourite foods too.

Anushka and Virat’s love to experiment with cuisines around the world is known to everyone. They are ardent animal lovers too and, therefore, have been following a meat-free lifestyle for years. In their journey, they discovered that plant-based meat tastes and feels 100% similar to traditional meat products, that’s exactly when they joined hands with Blue Tribe, a brand working on the mission to reinvent meat-consuming methods. Their wide range of products are made with peas, soybeans, lentils, grains, and other vegetarian ingredients that mechanically extract proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients.

Touching on the details, Sohil Wazir, CCO of Blue Tribe, asserted, “With time, people are becoming aware of the problem of environmental degradation. Efforts are being made all over the world to reduce carbon footprint and promote sustainable development.

Like the way the fashion industry is exploring sustainability as an alternative to mass fashion, which generates tonnes of waste every year, the food sector is evolving drastically. This is demonstrated by the expansion of the alternative food industry and the rise in the number of flexitarians.This has provided a boost to the plant-based meat or mock meat industry, and they have come up with multiple options to cater to this demographic. Innovation and research are the driving forces behind the popularity associated with this sector, and its large market share is thus not surprising.”

Planning your flexitarian meals well is essential to satisfy nutritional deficiencies and reap the most fitness benefits. Food expenses are rising around the world. But greens are commonly less expensive than meat. According to celebrity nutritionist Shweta Shah, switching to a more plant-based diet is not only healthier, but also less expensive. If you want to be a vegetarian because of the numerous health benefits but also enjoy barbecue and burgers, the answer is to become a “bendy vegetarian” — a “flexitarian”.

This diet is being followed by many people around the world. There are certain drawbacks. Shedding light on them, here is what Dr Ruchi Soni, a diet and nutrition expert at ToneOp, said about it: “The main reason for starting this trend might be the increasing awareness against animal cruelty and livestock malpractices. But, on the other end of the spectrum, this trend will lead to ecological imbalance. As a result, demand for crops will increase, leading to an increased rate of deforestation to expand agricultural land, ultimately affecting the ecology negatively.

Also, vitamin B12 deficiency will become a major concern among the population.This diet can be good for people who are looking for weight management, or to manage certain medical conditions like diabetes, as it is high in dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Conclusively, this flexitarian diet is good for health and can be easily incorporated into your routine. Yet this diet has certain environmental setbacks.”

The Pioneer brings a quick recipe by celebrity chef Nishant Choubey for all the flexitarians. Sharing the recipe, Choubey added, “Flexitarian diet is an emerging trend that is in the news and is being effectively followed as well. Interesting and tasty dishes such as a black bean quinoa bowl, vegan coconut curry with chickpeas, chole kulcha hummus, gur ragi ladoo with kaju coconut malai, and so many more can be enjoyed. But for now try Mushroom pakora with watermelon.”


Mushroom: 300 gm
Maida: 100 gm
Cold water: Enough to make the batter
Chilli powder: 1 tsp
Onion seed: 1/2 tsp
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Baking soda: 1 tsp
Watermelon (cut into rounds): 6 pieces
Mint sprig: A few
Sea salt: A bit
Jasmine tea decoction (if there): 1 tsp
Mayonnaise: 1 tbsp
Milkmaid: 1 tsp
Oil: Enough to fry


..The consistency of the batter should be the same as pakora.
.Dust the mushrooms with refined flour and dip it in the batter.
.Deep fry them till it becomes crisp.
.In the meantime cut the watermelon into rounds and marinate with jasmine tea decoction or brew, add mint sprig, and sea salt.
.Mix mayonnaise and milkmaid together.
.Coat the crisp mushrooms with mayonnaise and milkmaid mix
.Serve neatly on top of the marinated watermelon.

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