Flexitarianism. What The Heck Is That?

One day, I was grocery shopping with my wife and we carried on like we usually do, around the outer edge of the store, starting with the produce. We picked up lots of fresh veggies and fruit, and then we walked past the meat section, both barely glancing at the shelves. I stopped and looked around, wondering when this became our routine, to skip past the meat. When did this happen? Who am I?

Flexitarian.

What a weird word. What does it even mean?

Put very simply, it kind of means “A vegetarian who eats meat.”

It sounds stupid on the surface when I say that, and I am sure it’s going to cause a lot of confusion to people as they begin to make jokes about just eating anything. But that’s not the case.

To be a flexitarian means to put a large focus on eating fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, etc. It means that you don’t eat meat at every meal, but you definitely still consume it. I feel like there are a lot of vegetarians and vegans who probably don’t respect this way of living, and there’s a lot of regular carnivores out there who will laugh at it, thinking that it’s stupid.

To put things in perspective, I didn’t set out to engage in this diet purposefully, but as I changed my lifestyle, I suddenly realized that meat was beginning to take a back seat in my life, and I really didn’t mind.

I love meat in most of it’s forms. I grew up on and around farms. I’ve seen animals raised and slaughtered with my own eyes. I’ve assisted in butchering and preparation of an entire animal, be it pork or beef. I’ve been a professional cook for 10 years. I have absolutely no issue with animals in the food chain. I do, however, recognize that our planet and environment could do well with a bit less animal consumption.

I believe that it would be extremely beneficial to both our bodies and the planet if we were to switch to a diet with less meat. For the environment, It’s pretty clear what the benefits are, as climate change and pollution is pretty common knowledge these days. We need to reduce the amount of pollution that is created, and if we are farming less livestock in general, the amount of pollution will be drastically lowered.

For our bodies, I think that I have found more happiness in eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. I have lowered my consumption of meat naturally without really thinking about it, because it usually has a lot more calories than anything else in my diet. I can fill up a lot faster on vegetables than I can with meat. I find that I am happier being able to eat more vegetables for less calories. I can still have a plate full of food and lose weight, which is fantastic.

Being able to eat lots food has been critical to my success of losing weight. I love food, and I want to be able to have large portions. I find that with fruits and vegetables, I am able to do just that, while still enjoying the other parts of my meal (meat and other foods) in smaller quantities. For instance, I used to naturally take more slices of roast beef and less vegetables. By making a simple reversal of those two things, it has made a huge difference in my life.

I love meat, I eat it and enjoy it. But I don’t see a need for it to regularly be the main part of my meal. There’s so many other interesting foods out there to fill up on that is just as delicious. That being said, nothing can replace the perfection that is Chorizo sausage, a perfectly cooked steak, or the most succulent roasted ham. I think as I have cut back on meat, it has made me appreciate it even more when I do have something that is really good. It has also made me feel proud of the fact that I am doing my part to help the environment.

Again, nothing against meat at all, but do yourself a favour and stand in the grocery store where you can see both the meat and the produce section. Which looks better? More exciting? Healthy?

Is it the bright rainbow colours of the fruits and vegetables?
Or is it the pale red wall of meat that all looks the same?

 

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Amanda says:

    Flexitarian means absolutely nothing, it’s just a label for people who still eat animal products “but not every day” to feel like they’re doing something right.

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    1. nigelconnors says:

      That’s actually exactly what this post is about! If everyone were to cut meat out of their lives from 7 days a week, down to 3 or 4 days a week, that translates to a huge difference in the health of both body and planet.

      Trimming the amount of meat consumption is a wonderful way to do something to improve the world.

      I would say that labelling oneself as a Flexitarian spreads the cause forward and let’s people know that you don’t have to stop eating meat completely to have an impact on the world at large.

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      1. Amanda says:

        What cause does it spread forward?

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        1. Nigel says:

          That eating less meat helps the planet’s health as a whole.

          It’s a wonderful way to introduce faithful meat eaters to a new diet. That they don’t have to cut out everything to make a noticeable impact on the world. There’s many links I can provide on this subject. Here’s a couple.

          http://bigthink.com/natalie-shoemaker/what-the-world-would-look-like-in-2050-if-we-ate-less-meat

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/28/eating-less-meat-save-planet-dietary-guidelines

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          1. Amanda says:

            So flexitarian means eating less meat than what? Than you personally used to? Kind of subjective isn’t it?

            Why not just stop eating meat period instead of dragging it on to wean yourself off like some sort of addict ?

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  2. Nigel says:

    You nailed it. That’s literally the point of flexitarianism. If everyone cut their own personal meat consumption by 30%-50%, the world’s food industry would be greatly impacted and so would climate change. The point isn’t to “wean yourself off”, it’s to lower consumption in general.

    Some people wish to cut everything out, and some people don’t. I think we can all respect the dietary choices of those around us. It’s about showcasing the environmental impact, and that lowering personal consumption even slightly will definitely help efforts to control climate change.

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