BONE TIRED Lean into flex­i­tar­i­an­ism

Runner's World (UK) - - Contents -

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…

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