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Weekly Diet News Digest

by John McGran, Columnist

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Flexitarian is a fun word that describes someone who has cut down on meat and boosted their intake of fruits and veggies. Thus Flexitarians are basically flexible vegetarians.

The following quiz is reprinted from the hot new, about-to-be-released book, The Flexitarian Diet. Special thanks to author Dawn Jackson Blatner and McGraw-Hill.

Your FlexScore: How Flex Are You?

Healthy eating is a journey. I want to help you get healthier one step at a time. Where are you right now on the Flex eating journey? Take the following quiz to find out your FlexScore.

Are you a beginner, advanced or expert flexitarian? As you start making Flexitarian Diet changes, retake the test to see your FlexScore improve.

What’s Your FlexScore?

For each of the following statements, put a number from 1 to 4 that indicates how you feel about the statement: 1 strongly disagree, 2 disagree, 3 agree, and 4 strongly agree.

1. I eat at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day.

2. I eat at least 2 cups of fruit each day.

3. I try a new produce item or new recipe using produce every week.

4. When I eat or prepare desserts, I try to incorporate fresh fruit.

5. My grocery cart almost always is filled with 50 percent produce.

6. I consume orange or green fruits and vegetables most days.

7. I confidently can convert a recipe with beef, pork, chicken or turkey into a bean-based vegetarian dish.

8. I eat 1 cup or more of beans or a bean-based dish most days.

9. I am confident in preparing tofu and tempeh.

10. If I don’t eat fish at least twice a week (12 ounces per
week), I consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil daily.

11. I check labels to see that the ingredients on my cereal,
bread and pasta use the term 100 percent whole grain.

12. I regularly eat and prepare whole grains such as barley, corn, millet, oat, quinoa, brown rice and bulgur.

1 3. I consume two to three servings (16â€"24 ounces) of dairy or dairy alternatives each day.

14. I limit the amount of cheese I eat and opt for healthier
fats for flavor, such as avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds.

15. I typically use herbs and spices other than just salt and
pepper to season my food.

16. I drink 9 to 12 glasses (72â€"96 ounces) of primarily water
and other low-calorie beverages (such as tea and coffee) per day.

17. I eat three meals a day on a regular schedule.

18. I am calorie conscious: my breakfast is around 300 calories, lunch is 400 calories, and dinner is 500 calories (more calories are necessary for very active women and men).

19. I eat vegetarian breakfasts (i.e., rarely eat bacon or sausage).

20. I eat vegetarian lunches (i.e., rarely eat lunch meat).

21. I have two snacks a day (each around 150 calories).

22. I usually ask myself if I am physically hungry before I eat a snack.

23. I do moderate aerobic exercise thirty minutes a day, five days a week.

24. I engage in weight training exercise at least two times per week.

25. I feel my daily stress is at an optimal level (I feel excited and alive without feeling overwhelmed).

26. I keep my home stocked with healthy choices, and I remove tempting junk foods.

27. I keep my work environment stocked with healthy choices, and I remove tempting junk foods (if you work at home, use the same answer as for question 26).

28. When I dine out, I primarily order vegetarian options.

29. If a meaningful social situation or interesting food experience included a beef, pork, chicken, or turkey item, I would eat and enjoy it.

30. I am eating foods I enjoy and don’t feel like I am on
a diet.

Add up Your Total FlexScore

If you scored 30 to 60 points: You are a Beginner Flexitarian. Welcome!

I will expose you to a whole new world of eating foods you enjoy while losing weight and feeling great. Make small and gradual changes so you don’t feel overwhelmed or frustrated. Allow yourself to have fun while exploring all that the flexitarian lifestyle has to offer.

If you scored 61 to 91 points: You are an Advanced Flexitarian.

You already have many healthy Flex behaviors and should be proud of yourself! Continue trying new Flex foods, recipes and lifestyle tips. With more time and practice you will find yourself reaping maximum benefits from your flexitarian lifestyle.

If you scored 92 to 120 points: Congratulations, you are a seasoned Expert Flexitarian and have incorporated lifestyle changes to help you live an extraordinary life.

Continue making small healthy changes to your current routine. Use new recipes, push yourself to eat more variety, and try new Flex foods and fitness activities. Keep your motivation
high by surrounding yourself with healthy people and thoughts.
Talk to other people who are health conscious, and read health and wellness books, magazines, newsletters, and websites. Get involved in healthy activities such as 5K benefit walks or runs, dance classes, tennis lessons, meditation groups, or healthy ...    Continue

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