Monday, May 07, 2007

New Word For Today: Flexitarian

A work acquaintance who was made aware of my vegetarianism gave me another dose recently of what I believe is the most common response I get when the matter is brought up.

"I could never become vegetarian. I love meat too much."


Of course you could. It's no incredible feat. I was as big a meat-eater as anyone.

On the other hand, a number of people have told the Mrs and I that they respect that we've made this decision (at least partially) for moral reasons. This leads me to believe that there are some that really would like to do it, but truly don't feel they'd be capable.

I came across a new term last year in discussion with a buddy on a message board; Flexitarian. The definition varies somewhat, but the simplest (and my least favourite) is that of meat-eating vegetarian.

Right. That sounds awful contradictory, doesn't it? I tried to find a more detailed description, and Wikipedia provided it.

Flexitarianism is the practice of eating mainly vegetarian food. Flexitarians prefer to eat vegetarian food, but make occasional exceptions for social, pragmatic, or nutritional reasons...For example, a flexitarian might make only vegetarian dishes at home, but eat dishes including meat at the home of family or friends.

There you go. Makes sense? It does to me, because I spent the better part of a year saying I was vegetarian when I wasn't. I'd make exceptions for football tailgate parties and such. Probably no more than once a month on the average, but I was still not truly vegetarian. I was a flexitarian and didn't know it.

I eventually reached a point where eating meat made me slightly ill and the thought was outright repulsive to me (Yay! I washed my own brain!) . I decided to do away with those exceptions. NOW I'm vegetarian.

As far as flexitarianism goes, I like this quote from an article:

However, as PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich says, “If people influenced by health consequently cut back on fish and meat consumption that helps animals. If two people cut their meat in half it helps as much as one person going completely vegetarian.”

Can't argue with that math.

So if you've ever considered vegetarianism, regardless of reason, and shrugged it off as some unreachable goal, give flexitarianism. My guess is that you'll realize one day that you've gotten far closer to being vegetarian than you thought you could achieve.

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