VE­G­AN­ISM! (FOR THE PART TIME MEAT LOVER)

5 flex­i­ble favourites.

Men's Health (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - WORDS BY SCAR­LETT WRENCH PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY MICHAEL HEDGE

Among those who want to reap the ben­e­fits of a plant-based diet while still in­dulging their car­niv­o­rous im­pulses, flex­i­tar­i­an­ism has grown a healthy fol­low­ing. But there’s more to it than sim­ply re­mov­ing the meat from your two veg ev­ery now and then. Here’s how to hit your nu­tri­tional tar­gets, with or with­out the flesh

The prob­lem with di­ets that an­swer to a name is that they tend to have rules. Rules mean de­nial, and at Men’s Health we don’t much like to be de­nied any­thing. Of course, diet is fun­da­men­tally im­por­tant to any healthy life­style. But di­ets are in­vari­ably re­stric­tive and un­sus­tain­able. That ex­tra ‘S’ is sig­nif­i­cant.

Flex­i­tar­i­an­ism – ve­g­an­ism or veg­e­tar­i­an­ism with un­spec­i­fied cheat days – is a spe­cial case. Is it a diet? It’s cer­tainly a fad. Ei­ther way, we like it. It’s the ab­sence of struc­ture or im­prac­ti­cal rules that makes it so ap­peal­ing, so let’s call it an ‘ethos’ in­stead.

And it’s grow­ing pop­u­lar. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey, 44% of us are mak­ing some at­tempt to lower our meat con­sump­tion, and on­line searches for the word ‘ve­gan’ have jumped 100% in the past two years alone. That’s be­cause there’s method in the meat­less. “Bas­ing your diet on plants is un­doubt­edly good for you. Stud­ies link it to an in­creased life ex­pectancy and a lower risk of heart is­sues,” says nu­tri­tion con­sul­tant Joe Sex­ton.

The thing is, it needn’t be all or noth­ing. No mat­ter what the plant purists say, the odd fil­let of steak, poul­try or fish won’t hurt you. As Sex­ton points out, meat is still a great source of healthy pro­tein. “Turning ve­gan can be a big life­style change,” he says. “Flex­i­tar­i­an­ism gives you all of these ben­e­fits – it’s just eas­ier.”

Cut­ting back on meat doesn’t have to be a joy­less af­fair. We asked five top global restau­rants for their go-to ve­gan dishes, each packed with flavour and nu­tri­tion­ally bal­anced. Oh, and we’ve also in­cluded an op­tional meat ad­di­tion – you know, in case it’s cheat day.

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