we are flexitarians and didn’t know it!

Today I want to talk to you a little bit about how we have changed our diets here on West Street…..no, wait, it really is how we have changed our mindset when it comes to what we eat.

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{image via Cooking Light}

When we found out about needing to lower cholesterol in our household, it was made very clear {to me} that a change in our diet would not work if we started restricting ourselves from foods that we have known our entire lives.  Instead, we simply have been trying to add in more plant-based, whole-foods {non-processed} meals.

So far, this method has worked for us and we do not feel we are deprived or on a “diet.”

I have already talked about how we have developed more into a plant-based, whole foods household {I am still doing the Shaklee 180 plan, however, for the next six months or so}…..but, we are not vegans and we are not vegetarians.

Yes, we still eat meat.

However, instead of animal-proteins being our only source of protein, we have added in plant-proteins to our meals.

So, if we aren’t full-on meat-eaters, and we aren’t vegans or vegetarians, where does that leave us?  Apparently we are flexitarians.

I only recently came across this term, but apparently is has been around since before 2003.  In fact, in that year, the American Dialect Society selected it as the “Most Useful Word of the Year.”

So what is a flexitarian?  Basically, when someone wants to eat the way a vegetarian does {for all of the wonderful health benefits} but is flexible and includes some red meat, poultry, and fish into their diet, they are a flexitarian.

Eating a plant-based vegetarian diet is hands-down the smartest thing you can do for your health, especially when you need to lower your cholesterol in 90 days.  On average, vegetarians weigh less, have fewer diseases {such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer} and they live to be an average of 3.6 years longer!

But, here on West Street Story {as you all know} we love to enjoy a good bacon steak every now and then.

Basically we have just been flexible with our meal plans and even though we are currently more favored in the plant-protein meal category, we do still enjoy a good rib eye every now and then.

Side note:  I am learning that it is not actually the meat we crave or miss, but rather the umami flavor, the meat “taste”…..more on this to come!

And no, we didn’t go through our fridge and freezer and throw out every piece of meat when we started eating differently.  Again, it wasn’t about restricting ourselves, it was about adding in more plant-based foods…..foods that would be helping us lower cholesterol levels {plant-based foods are lower in saturated fats}.

A flexitarian “diet” is simple but powerful – eat more plants and do the best that you can.  It isn’t a strict plan outlining the good versus bad foods or with rigid rules that tell you to “eat this but not that.”  Instead you just need to keep an open mind {and mouth} when it comes to including more plant-based foods and in trying new things.

Want to give “flexitarian-ism” a try?  Take baby steps!  Start out by replacing one meat-meal a week with a plant-protein.  Our favorite plant-protein is black beans!  We have been using black beans to replace ground beef in recipes.

I look forward to sharing with you some of the recipes we have already tagged as favorites and also sharing with you what we learn as we continue on in the flexitarian world!

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