The Victor crew came across the word “flexitarian” and it piqued our curiosity. Here is what we found out about a flexitarian diet.
The flexitarian diet is mainly plant-based while allowing meat and other animal products to be eaten in moderation. It was developed by Dawn Jackson Blatner, a dietitian looking to help people eat more vegetarian and still enjoy animal products.
Vegetarians eliminate meat and some other animal products while still eating some animal products such as butter, dairy, or eggs. Vegans will cut out all animal derived products. Pescatarians will eat only fish as an animal product.
The flexitarian has more flexible choices. You will still eat mainly fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Also other proteins would include peanuts, peanut butter, seeds, and tofu. Meat and fish will be an occasionally in this plan and not a daily thing.
Eating less meat has many benefits. One concern is the environment as there is a push for people to eat less meat. Other benefits are for your own cardio-vascular health, weightloss, risk of diabetes, eating more plants will reduce cancer risk. You will need to make sure you get enough iron, Vitamin B12, Zinc, Calcium, and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Now that summer is almost here, the Victor crew thought it a good idea to revisit the Dirty Dozen guide for this year.
Topping the list this year is strawberries. This means they have more pesticides than any other produce and they should be purchased in organic form. In fact everything on the list should be purchased organic. In order the list is:
Sweet bell peppers
Strawberries are high on the list because of the dozens of pesticides used with some of them including chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive damage. Poisonous gases are also being used in the soil, including nerve gas. Spinach has moved to second place because of a pesticide banned in Europe.
The Clean 15 that you can eat without worrying about pesticides are as follows:
Sweet peas (frozen)
Some sweet corn, papayas, and summer squash are made from GMOs in the U.S.
Find out more from EWG.org (Environmental Working Group.)
Here are some more things to try to stay on track.
Add vegetables into your regular dishes. Try adding spinach or zucchini to pasta or peppers or other vegetables to tacos. Add spinach, peppers, and onions to omelets. Put a handful of baby spinach leaves in your sandwich.
Don’t be afraid to try fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce in season is the best. Frozen would be second best option as there is nothing added. For canned vegetables be aware of the sodium content in them and choose the lower sodium option if you see them. For canned fruit, try fruits with no added sugar, packed in water, or packed with 100% juice (not syrup).
If you pack meals for others in your family, add some cut up fruits and veggies. Keep some fruits and veggies to use as snacks in your refrigerator.
Fruits and vegetables always taste and look better when you can buy them locally. But how can you tell what is in season? Does it matter where you live? The Victor crew set out to find where we can get this information. We found some interesting sites with just this information.
On this page, there is an alphabetical list of fruits and vegetables with the season they can be found. They also have separate links to see lists by season or region. If you click on a vegetable, asparagus for example, it takes us to a page with a list of articles about asparagus, how to cook it, how to trim it, and some recipes.
This site will give a seasonal food of the week along with a list of what is in season now.
The Unites States Department of Agriculture should know! Here you find a list broken down by season. When you click on a food, you get a page with Fact Sheets, recipe sheets, how to cook them from different states and Universities.
This should get you started to eat more local produce.