A review of "Going Flexitarian: Are you ready to go ‘mostly meatless?’ "By Sandra Neil in Tastes for Life Sept 2011 issue
It has been a dilemma for many people, the choice to be a vegetarian or continue eating animal products. On one hand, many people enjoy animal products and seem to not be able to live without them. They are in everything they are used to eating. Choosing to even go dairy free is a huge discipline that takes a lot of effort to maintain. But many people also know that there are health concerns to eating eggs for breakfast or indulging in that rare burger. And now people are becoming increasingly aware of how factory farms treat animals and their effect on the environment, not to mention the disgusting practices at the slaughter and processing houses. So what to do?
Sandra suggests you become a flexitarian. The idea is that you do your best to consume vegan foods during the day and eat animal products in your dinner meal only, and if you can avoid that, you do. The idea is to cut back, buy local and ethically produced products and consume them occasionally not at every meal and eventually not even daily. You can have your roasted turkey on holidays, barbque on the weekends with your family, but the difference is you are buying the meat local and being aware of how your choices effect the world around you and your health. Buying locally grown, organic meat is pricey, so that is another reason to keep it to a minimum.
Sandra shows us a report from Vegetarian Times that says they “believe that 70 percent of its subscribers are vegetarians who occasionally eat animal flesh.” She shares that 3.6 years could be added to your life if you practiced eating a vegetarian cuisine and even weigh 15% less than carnivores. Even Michael Pollan thinks that flexitarians can experience the same benefits of a true vegetarian.
Sounds like a compelling suggestion that people could feel good about. These kinds of changes take time and discipline and most of all, realization. It usually isn’t until someone has experienced a health issue that they take a look at their diet and see how they can prevent it from getting worse. We need to look at our diet and not wait for things to go wrong and know we can get better before we break down! Sandra’s suggestion of taking baby steps creates the feeling that this is something that can be accomplished without feeling the change too much. Some of us already have started doing this and not realizing there is a name for it. So trade in your eggs and bacon for fruit and rice cereal over coconut milk, take a bean burrito for lunch and enjoy that pork roast later tonight knowing you made a difference in your health and the environment AND in your pocketbook!