BONE TIRED Lean into flexitarianism
THE REWARDS IF YOU WANT OF A TO PLANT- REAP BASED DIET WITH MAXIMUM FLAVOUR AND THE OCCASIONAL CARNIVOROUS INDULGENCE, FLEXITARIANISM COULD BE THE WAY FORWARD. BUT THERE’ S MUCH MORE TO IT THAN REMOVING THE MEAT FROM YOUR TWO VEG EVERY NOW AND THEN
The problem with diets that answer to a name is that they tend to have rules. And rules tend to mean denial. Diet is fundamental to staying healthy and fuelling your running, but diets (with an ‘s’) are invariably restrictive, unsustainable, misguided and counterproductive.
However, flexitarianism – that’s veganism with unspecified cheat days – is a special case. Is it a really a diet when it’s the very absence of structure or impractical rules that make it so appealing? Let’s call it an ‘ethos’ instead.
It’s a popular one, too. According to a recent Yougov survey, a quarter of us are now making some attempt to curtail our meat-eating, and online searches for the word ‘vegan’ are also on the rapid rise, with a 100 per cent increase in the past two years. And there’s method in the meatless: ‘Basing your diet around plants is undoubtedly good for you, with studies linking it to an increased life expectancy and lower risk of heart issues,’ says nutrition consultant Joe Sexton.
If you’re going greens for health rather than ethical reasons, though, it really needn’t be all or nothing. No matter what the plant purists say, the odd steak, chicken breast or cod fillet won’t hurt your body and, as Sexton points out, meat is an excellent source of healthy proteins. ‘Turning vegan can be a big lifestyle change,’ he says. ‘Flexitarianism gives you all of these benefits – it’s just easier.’
And discovering plantbased dishes can be a very tasty experience. To prove this point we asked chefs from five top UK restaurants for their go-to vegan dishes, each packing a hefty nutrient and flavour punch. We’ve also included an optional meat addition…