‘Flexitarianism: isn’t it just vegetarianism with cheating?’

Posted on January 22, 2013


Yesterday (21st January), an item was posted on guardian.co.uk titled ‘Flexitarianism: isn’t it just vegetarianism with cheating?’.

‘… “Flexible vegetarianism” is increasingly popular. Why? –

Age: Late teens – it was first coined in the mid-90s.

Appearance: A solitary pack of bacon in a fridge full of beans and tofu.

What’s flexitarianism, then? It’s flexible vegetarianism.

As in only eating bendy vegetables? Yes, you’ve cracked it.

Really? No, of course not. Flexitarians – also known as veggie-vores – eat mostly vegetarian meals but make time for a big, juicy steak or a smoked salmon bagel when they feel the urge.

So basically they’re vegetarians with benefits? If you like, sure, or veggies on flexi-time. Think of it as clock-in, clock-out system: a six-day working week of healthy, morally upstanding veggie living, and then a Sunday roast.

And what are they up to, these flexitarians? They’re expanding. Food trends analysts are predicting a “50% increase” in vegetarianism in 2013, and a similarly startling rise in the number of flexitarians.

Why? Because of the McCartneys, of course. Well, them, rising meat prices and an increasingly compelling moral and environmental argument.

What are the McCartneys doing? Popularising mild flexitarianism as an alternative to the stringent demands of full-on veggie-ness with their “Meat-Free Mondays” campaign, a shelf-load of books and a forthcoming television ad.

Aren’t flexitarians just trying to have their beef cake and eat it too? Well, yes. But good flexitarians do try to make sure their occasional pound of flesh is ethically sourced and environmentally friendly, and, statistically, from the perspective of, say, a chicken, a flexitarian still poses far less of a threat than a full-time carnivore.

I’m not sure many chickens really appreciate the statistical argument. True that. But that doesn’t it make it a bad one. Plus there’s also the argument that flexitarianism serves as a valuable gateway diet, ushering the half-hearted towards not only vegetarianism but its many and varied cousins, such as pescetarianism (fish and veg) and veganism (no meat, milk, eggs or anything that uses animals in its production) …

Do say: “I’ll start with Meat Free Monday.”Don’t say: “I wish it was Free Meat Monday.” …’

Read the item in full, view image and add your comment online at www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jan/21/flexitarianism-vegetarianism-with-cheating


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