VEGANISM! (FOR THE PART TIME MEAT LOVER)
5 flexible favourites.
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.