There’s a new way of eating emerging in this city. Healthy eating has shifted over the last couple of years and, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when, but flexitarianism has become the new norm – in a non-ironic way.

Being a “flexitarian” used to be a bit of a joke; it meant you were a super healthy eater except for every single occasion in which you were offered cake or french fries. Now, with the proliferation of so many schools of thought when it comes to nutrition, being a flexitarian can actually refer to a balanced and enlightened approach to eating intuitively.

Maybe this new flexitarianism emerged as a backlash to wellness diet overwhelm; vegan, gluten-free, raw, paleo…who could keep up? Well, in a sense, we did. We’ve covered every philosophy of eating under the sun and have a good amount of respect for most of them. Even fruitarians have their reasons.

It wasn’t long ago that there were hard and firm lines separating the food camps: vegans and ‘paleos’ were diametrically opposed. To eat with your paleo and vegan friends meant scheduling two separate lunch dates at their respective diet-specific hotspots.

But these days, those hard lines are softening, as evidenced by new restaurants like Honey, Hi and Amara Kitchen where a table of plates could include everything from bison bone broth and kombucha to grass-fed burgers and fermented green veggie bowls. People with completely diverse diets can gather for lunch without a lot of stress – maybe even without modifying a thing on the menu.

We loved what Paola of Amara Kitchen had to say to us during a recent stop for rose tea and breakfast grain bowls, “We really set up our menu so that you can eat the way you’re feeling that day. Both myself and my partner have followed different diets during different seasons according to our bodies’ needs. Sometimes you need deep nourishment and sometimes you need to back off and keep things light. Our menu lets you do that.”

Here’s What the New Flexitarianism Looks Like…
+ A balanced eater decides to eat vegan for the week because they’re feeling rundown and overwhelmed.
+ A vegetarian decides to listen to their body’s craving for meat and orders a clean, sustainable portion of meat to stay in tune with their body’s needs.
+ Two best friends eat out at a top L.A. restaurant; one is able to order from several gluten-free options and the other can eat paleo right off the menu – without being “that guy” in the least.

The trend toward a more flexible diet is certainly not exclusive to us here in L.A., most of our readers have likely tried a number of “eating philosophies” over the years (getting a little nuts here in my avoidance of the word “diet”!) and fall into three camps: those who’ve latched on to one way of eating that has transformed them – say, paleo – and have let it guide their way of life completely; those who’ve tried many philosophies and adapted a mix of their elements into a customized diet; and those whose brains have collapsed from info overload and have reverted quietly back into any way to eating that involves food.

Whatever camp you’re in, this ‘new flexitarianism’ will serve you well. If you’re in camp three and are at a total loss, you can begin eating nutrient dense foods without much confusion and take your time in learning what your body likes the most. If you’re in camp two, you can continue on in your intuitive eating without feeling like you’re a commitment-phobe or a cheat, and if you’re in camp three, maybe you can relax some of your ideas about these labels – or at least stop annoying your friends by talking about them so much (we’re totally guilty)!

Are you feeling us on this topic? What do you think about the increase in access and info on all these eating philosophies and how they affect the way you think about food these days? We want to hear from you!

And please, if you’re gluten intolerant, in ketosis, or vegan for moral reasons, know that we respect a steadfast commitment to a more rigid diet as well!

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