What is a Flexitarian?

Flexitarian: A semi-vegetarian diet that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat products. 

The reason I like the word flexitarian so much is because the binding terms of “vegetarian” or “non-vegetarian” is adverse to our environment and health. There is a strict definition to what a vegetarian, pescetarian, and vegan is. They do not eat a defined list of animal products- no matter what. So if that’s not something that someone is willing to do 100%, they don’t do it. Which is a shame because eating LESS meat can make a huge difference on health, the environment, and humanity too.

I don’t love the idea of defining the terms of flexitarian because it depends on your lifestyle and what works for you. There is a range to flexitarianism that does not exist in vegetarianism. BUT I think that structure is a good thing and we shouldn’t discredit someone who consciously chooses plant protein daily compared to someone who sometimes participates in Meatless Monday.

So, here is my idea of a good flexitarian:
  • A flexitarian eats meat 2-3 times a week at most.
  • A flexitarian views meat as an ingredient to elevate a meal or dish, not a given.
  • A flexitarian has higher standards of where their meat comes from and how it was raised.
  • A flexitarian values meat and does not waste it.
  • Bonus: A flexitarian is aware of when they are eating vegan and makes conscious efforts to eat vegan throughout the week.

Now if this is wayy far-fetched for you DON’T RUN AWAY JUST YET! This was a totally barbaric idea to me as well 2 years ago. But it’s a total mental block. It’s all in how we think. We have grown up never questioning where our meat comes from or how it was raised. Question itWe eat animal protein daily and carelessly even though we know it gives us heart disease because we think we are invincible. We’re not. We think one person can’t make a difference. You can.

It’s definitely okay if it’s a slow process; small changes are the biggest steps! Check out these facts to just begin the mind opening process. Beware: it might make you smarter 🙂

Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation.

Fao.org. Spotlight: Livestock impacts on the environment.

2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.

Oxford Journals. “Water Resources: Agricultural and Environmental Issues”

5% of water consumed in the US is by private homes. 55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture.

Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-based Diet Could save Your Health and the Environment. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.

Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction.

World Bank. “Causes of Deforestation of theBrazilian Amazon”

82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals, and the animals are eaten by western countries.

http://comfortablyunaware.com/blog/the-world-hunger-food-choice-connection-a-summary/80% of the worlds starving children live in 14 countries. (figure 5)Livestock production country listLivestock global mapping

Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.

“Water Footprint Assessment.” University of Twente, the Netherlands.“Measuring the daily destruction of the world’s rainforests.” Scientific American, 2009.“Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK.” Climactic change, 2014.“Meat eater’s guide to climate change and health.” The Environmental Working Group., Oppenlander, Richard A. Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN : Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

More of these stunning statistics and their sources can be found here. And be sure to check out my resources page.

Need more reasons? Got em.

On top of all of the land, water, and resources saved, another reason to flex your fork is because it’s healthy! Hopefully the foods that you’ll be substituting meat products for include veggies, beans, legumes, nuts, and grains. All of which provide ample nutrients for a balanced and complete diet even without animal protein. Some of the most amazing stories I’ve heard in regards to people’s health in all my years of studies are of patients who reverse their heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and more with a plant-based diet alone.

And it’s inexpensive! Worldwide, the majority of people are vegetarians by default because they can’t afford the luxury of meat. Just imagine the cost of a pound of chicken vs. a pound of beans or oats. And at a restaurant, most vegetarian options are less expensive on a menu because of these food costs, sometimes even by a few dollars! That adds up over time and saves tons of money on dining and grocery bills.

There are plenty of misconceptions and ideas about plant based diets that I’ll explore throughout this blog using evidence based research and facts always. Because maintaining your trust is extremely important to me! There’s so much information out there and I totally understand that it’s a lot to weed through and determine what’s true, biased, or deceiving. So let me do the work for you! We’ll learn together how to be the healthiest, happiest, most sustainable flexitarians we can be.