Shannon Conley | |


Eating With a Purpose

I am a Flexitarian- that means I am a vegetarian who eats fish and meat …sometimes.

Yes, I know, you can call me a fish and chipocryte, but actually I am better and more rational than you think.  Because I recognize what many other vegetarians do not — namely that I am a veggie in a meaty world.

Growing up in the Midwest it was unusual not to be a big meat eater. There were some I knew who lived for meat and potatoes every day.  We never had the money nor desire for microwaves, junk food etc.

So from a very young age I learned how to garden and cook real food without recipes.  My mother was single with two children and she had a tight budget.  Red meat was very rare; chicken and fish were the luxuries.   My diet was mainly vegetables without all the labels of today.

Years later with the cooking skills and desire to be healthier; I sold my car and became for about a two years a serious vegetarian.  This was for health, environment and economic reasons.  Much to my annoyance I began to find that if in fact there was something new to try and you’re at a dinner party or out at restaurant there may be times where you would like to escape the label of ‘vegetarian’.  However, those that know you, along with your conscience make you stick to the veggie label.

I am not a fan of labels unless they are true to what I really am.  I never wanted to discredit some of the hard core vegans and vegetarians that never ‘relapse.’  It would be wrong of me to go by the same title that others follow like a religion.  Then, I came across the word Flexitarian, defined by Wikipedia as someone who occasionally eats meat, poultry or fish or all of the above.

There are no boundaries which say how much or little would define one as a flexitarian.  There are varying degrees.  For instance I can go months without having anything besides veg, legumes and fruit.  The reason  why someone chooses flexitarianism is personal to each individual and honorable to those whom choose even stricter lifestyles.

Although I would say I have been a ‘flexitarian’ from the very beginning due to how I was brought up, we must not forget that the majority of the developing world does not even have an economic choice in the matter and labeling themselves is last on their mind.  In the end it is nice to go to a restaurant with your friends, and order a vegetarian meal without someone asking “Oh, are you a vegetarian?”

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8 Responses to “Why I am a Flexitarian”

  1. Matthew Ciuccio

    Terrific article, thanks a lot. Flexitarian is a wonderful word, and a terrific idea.

    Reply
  2. originalDave

    If you insist I call myself a omnivore then you are simply a herbivore. Semantics goes both ways. …a rose by any other name…

    Reply
  3. vegan2

    No one has said that meat should not be eaten. It is a personal choice. My issue is one of semantics. If one eats meat they are an omnivore. Calling oneself a “flexitarian” is culinary green washing.

    Reply
  4. john

    yes i am a flexitarian!
    i dont like eating red meat but it seems like my body desires it at certain times .expecially hard to eat out without being a flexitarian.

    Reply
  5. wayne.lacosse

    In the warmer months of the year i feel little need for meat.
    In the winter months meat is what I crave.
    It is quite simple, isn’t it?
    Think of our ancestors’ early days… in the warmer months plant foods are all around, and we eat them. Then the snow falls and all the plant foods are either dead or dormant. What is left to fill our growling stomachs?
    The word starts with “M”.
    It hardly matters that nowadays we have superdupermarkets with everything a person with enough money can obtain
    to satisfy anything his/her appetite suggests. There is still a seasonal desire in action… this time of year I want sausage, in as many incarnations as possible. And ANY time of year I want cheese.
    I do have a number of vegetarian cookbooks but that is only in order to make the best use of my summer garden. Vegetables are great, I love them and eat them as much as I can, but brother… don’t you DARE say I shouldn’t/can’t eat “M”.

    Reply
  6. vegan2

    Vegetarians and vegans have not chosen the lifestyle for the label. It is a choice to live in a more responsible and respectable manner and there is, at times, small sacrifices of convenience. It is these small sacrifices (not being able to eat Eggs Benedict with your friends at Sunday brunch or eat the paella at a dinner party) which give weight to conviction. Even though I applaud any effort to reduce meat consumption, if you eat meat, you are a meat eater regardless of the amount you eat.

    Reply
  7. Cian

    I don’t see the point of the label “flexitarianism”. If you agree that animal agriculture is very bad for the environment and human health, surely thats reason enough to go vegan? You didnt mention in the article but do you have any issue at all with animals suffering and being killed unnecessarily for food?

    By definition, and also by means of the history and ideas of the entire movement, a “vegetarian” who eats fish or meat, is not a “vegetarian”. Its somewhat like someone labelling themselves an “anarcho-capitalist” and claiming that they are a valid part of the anarchist tradition. Flexitarianism is just another word for an omnivore with a guilty conscience.

    Reply
  8. Vegan

    Ah, but in your desire not to label yourself, now you have. Why not just order what you want, and if asked if you are vegetarian simply say, “No, I am not.” No need to feel the need to expound nor explain.

    Reply

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