A comprehensive guide on the benefits of a flexitarian diet for a more sustainable planet. Plus, why Earth Hour Day is a perfect opportunity to go semi-vegetarian.
What is Earth Hour Day?
One of the world’s largest movements for our environment, Earth Hour Day is held on the last Saturday of March every year. Millions of people—in more than 190 countries and territories—show their support for the planet by switching off their lights for an hour.
However, the mission of Earth Hour Day goes beyond the symbolic action of turning off lights. It welcomes everyone and anyone to join the movement, and is an excellent platform to unite people to take collective action and protect our planet against looming crisis such as climate change. If you are wondering how to engage your support on this Earth Hour Day, following a flexitarian lifestyle may be an excellent start.
What is a flexitarian diet?
A flexitarian diet involves occasional inclusion of fish or meat, while encouraging the consumption of mostly plant-based meals. It is an alternative approach to vegetarianism that does not call for complete elimination of meat. Thus, it nurtures a positive relationship with food by promoting flexibility and variety in our meals.
The approach is considered more as a lifestyle than a diet. It requires us to limit our meat and dairy consumption as much as we can while eating more fruits, vegetables and other natural foods. Ranked second in the U.S. News and World Report’s best overall diets, the flexitarian diet comprises the following benefits:
For our health
- The flexitarian diet is very rich in fibers, healthy fats and antioxidants that may reduce blood pressure and manage cholesterol levels, which supports heart health.
- Plant-based diets naturally contain less calories and may promote weight loss. The flexitarian diet focuses on adding nutrient-dense foods, like moringa, to your diet that are known to facilitate weight loss.
- Since plant-based diets support weight loss, are rich in fiber and contain less unhealthy fats and added sugar, they may help manage and prevent diabetes.
- A flexitarian diet is high in nutritious foods such as moringa and low in ultra-processed foods, hence, it may reduce the risk of certain cancers such as colorectal cancers.
For our planet
- Limiting our consumption of meat and dairy may minimize our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. This is because the meat and dairy industries are responsible for 60% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane.
- Beef emits 100 times more emissions than legumes. The production of beef is a very carbon-intensive process and requires vast areas of land, fertilizers, feedstock and water, worsening global warming. Plant-based proteins, on the other hand, are substantially less carbon-intensive.
- The requirement of arable land for mass produced meat calls for extensive deforestation. Moreover, additional space for livestock is also created through cutting down of trees. This has a devastating impact on climate change and causes habitat loss for local wildlife.
How can you start a flexitarian lifestyle this Earth Hour Day?
Global warming means a rise in temperature, which further translates to irreversible damage to our planet. Apart from being our biggest provider, nature is also one of the strongest allies against climate change. By following a flexitarian lifestyle, we can step up our support for nature and prevent further devastation. Here’s how you can follow a flexitarian diet this Earth Hour Day:
- Eat natural forms of food and avoid processed foods.
- Incorporate fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains into your diet.
- For a rich protein source, consume leafy greens like moringa.
- Follow a flexible approach and eat meat or other animal products occasionally.
- Limit sweets and sugar.