The undeniable benefits of being a flexitarian

I’m just not ready to give up meat, okay?


There are many reasons to become a vegetarian: killing animals is pretty cruel, mass production of meat is terrible for the environment, eating too much meat is bad for your health. But, for some, giving up meat is impossible. It's just too damn tasty.

Enter flexitarianism. It's a growing dieting trend defined as “a normally meatless diet that occasionally includes meat or fish." So limiting meat consumption to when you really, really want it. Like when you're drunk. It was even predicted by the Independent to be a “key food trend for 2017″.

Vegetarians criticise this diet for not doing enough, they say flexitarians are pretenders and should just give up meat completely if they had any morals. Meanwhile, meat eaters call them fussy and try to pass them a burger.

While this diet may be a cop out, for those who believe in the morals of vegetarianism but can't give up on a tasty piece of meat every now and then, there are some significant benefits to becoming a flexi.

Eating less meat is better for the environment

It has been calculated that if Europe halved its consumption of beef alone, it would meet its targets for tackling climate change, to reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions by 2050. This illustrates the huge impact mass meat production is having on the environment and that if we all reduce how much meat we eat, we can reduce climate change.

Having a balanced diet is much better for your health

Reducing meat consumption significantly lowers the chances of obesity. A Spanish study taken over 10 years revealed those with a pro-vegetarian (or flexitarian) diet are 43 per cent less likely to develop obesity.

Also, not having to take protein supplements is a massive plus for flexitarians. Surely if you're having to replace something, it's missing from your diet?

It's nice to have a label for being almost a veggie, but not quite

Not wanting to be in the category of relentless meat eater is understandable for someone who consciously keeps their meat intake to a personal minimum. While claiming to be a vegetarian would be unfair, and a big fat lie, it's good to have recognition for a valiant effort at a morally sound diet.

It saves the embarrassment of trying to be a veggie and admitting defeat

Again, having a separate label for flexitarianism means not having to try and fail. Some people take small steps like meat free Mondays, veggie weekdays, or only eating meat when out at a restaurant.

It also means getting drunk, forgetting about being veggie and eating chicken nuggets at 2am isn't such an offence.

There's the option to explore vegetarian cooking without being restricted

There are so many amazing veggie recipes out there, but when it comes to actually cooking, it's sometimes hard to remember there are more vegetables out there than just plain lettuce. Having the option of meat takes the pressure off, but it means that inspiration for meat free alternatives can be found.

Cooking without meat at home saves money

Cooking veggie means not having to splash out on expensive meat, or risk your life buying dodgy cheap meats to save some cash. Keeping it veg in the kitchen also means having more of a budget when eating out.

Plus, you don't have to touch raw meat, which is gross

Nobody likes touching raw meat, especially chicken. The fear of getting salmonella is just too much, it ruins the entire culinary experience.

It means you don't have to feel guilty about eating meat at restaurants or at a friend's house

Cutting out meat at home or throughout the week means when it gets to the weekend, there are no worries about treating yourself to a burger or fish and chips, it's well earned. Plus, going to friends' houses isn't as awkward as they don't have to cater for a vegetarian. And nobody likes being a burden.

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