The rise of the flexitarian diet

Emily May Webber

Do you know your shroomdogs from your jackfruit? If not, then prepare for the rise of the flexitarian diet, and why veggie alternatives are taking the supermarkets by storm. For those who are new to this style of eating, the flexitarian diet is what it says on the tin. It is all about flexibility. It is made up of plant-based foods yet doesn’t rule out meat products. For some, the diet is a move towards health in an attempt to cut down on large quantities of meat. For others, the commitment to total vegetarianism, or veganism, is sometimes quite daunting. Therefore, the element of enjoying meat-free meals whilst not committing to a diet of green is a trend that looks like it is here to stay.

It is not only bloggers and health gurus who are tapping into this trend. New research has concluded that 91% of us are now adopting a diet, which is swapping the mince for mushrooms (The Mirror). In a push to make this more convenient for the everyday, supermarket giants like Sainsbury’s have extended their range of veggie options that go beyond broccoli and tofu. Last month, I stopped to look at a few new products on the vegetarian scene. On closer inspection, what looked like meat in BBQ sauce was actually ‘Pulled Jackfruit’ that is meant to imitate pulled pork.

Despite the fruit name, it has a fairly neutral taste that pairs well with any sauce. With its stringy texture, it is fast becoming one of the most popular vegan options of 2018. At a snip of the price of pork, and with no saturated fat it looks set to make an appearance at your next summer BBQ. Other items include the Cumberland shroomdogs, butternut squash lasagne sheets and, somewhat controversially, cauliflower steaks. With all these cashing in at £3 and under, it is no wonder many on a budget are looking to have a meat-free Monday. Also, with vegetarian options no longer consisting of a plate of leaves, many of these products are becoming the main dish at the dinner table, instead of the substitute reserved for the veggie few.

So, with a diet that suits the student pocket, I spoke to a fellow Royal Hollowly student on her experience with a flexitarian diet. Alice Lanham, a third-year Drama student, has recently adopted the flexitarian way of life. She told me how, ‘my diet doesn’t mean I am a complicated eater when I’m out with friends or going to restaurants. It has simply encouraged me to think outside the box when it comes to meals. This way of living has allowed also keep my food costs low at university, while leading a healthy lifestyle. There is so much inspiration on blogs at the moment it has never been easier to eat ‘Earth-friendly.’

It seems that with no obligations to cut out meat products, the affordable nature of veggie options, and with supermarkets expanding the choice of option, the flexitarian diet is the way forward for 2018. So instead of just switching the lights off, why not switch the steak to a shroomdog? If you are struggling to keep to the New Year’s resolutions, a flexitarian diet that has no rules could be exactly what you need.


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