Wednesday, April 30, 2014


When I first came to college, I had never before met a vegetarian (let alone a vegan).  But fate would have it that my closest friends would be vegetarians and vegans, and so I was exposed to a good amount of education about the benefits of abstaining from meat and animal products, while also being informed of the less-than-moral state of the factory farm industry.

After a couple attempts to give up meat for good and join the ranks of my friends, I found that I just wasn't good at it.  Perhaps it was a lack of self-control, but I think it was mostly the fact that I thought about meat differently than they did.  Growing up in a farm town, I was used to seeing livestock out in the open and my family buying locally-raised meat.  And, frankly, I didn't see what was so horribly wrong about eating meat that was both ethically and locally raised.  So I had these two sides of the spectrum--one side not opposed to meat, the other side informed of the environmental and health impacts of eating meat--that eventually cultivated my current diet, sometimes referred to as "flexitarianism."

A flexitarian is an individual who maintains a primarily vegetarian diet while also occasionally indulging in a few buffalo wings or a nice pot roast, (which I certainly can't easily turn down).  And while many full-blown vegetarians would say that this diet is a cop-out, there are still many benefits that come along with a diet that only occasionally includes meat, including a freedom from synthetic vitamin supplements, lowered risk of heart disease (and even cancer, so I've heard), a responsible reduction of one's carbon footprint, and a lack of stress when eating out.

Even though vegetarians often clash with flexitarians, I still believe it is a diet that comes with multiple benefits.  Since significantly cutting back on my meat consumption (and trying to limit that meat I do eat to only ethically and locally raised meat), I feel happier, healthier, and more environmentally conscious.

(But, in case you'd like to see the vegetarians'/vegans' argument against flexitarianism or just eating meat in general, watch this.  Truth be told, it's quite on point.)


  1. Brennan, I like your flexible outlook on food because it still allows you to enjoy certain foods and indulge every once in a while without feeling guilty or too confined to a specific diet. I used to be what you call a "flexitarian" for I often found myself indulging in the wonderful steak my dad would grill when I would return home from college. Although a spontaneous steak or hamburger was acceptable for a while, I soon became more aware of the health and environmental risks involved in consuming red meats. After reading Fast Food Nation and watching documentaries such as Food Inc, I decided that I did not need red meat in my diet at all. Now that I do not consume any animal meat besides chicken and fish, I feel much more healthy and environmentally conscious. One issue I ran into when I was a "flexitarian" was getting sick after indulging in dish I did not typically eat because my body was not used to working so hard to digest something so heavy. I was wondering if you have this issue as well... for I feel as though my body has gotten so used to chicken and fish that it gets very angry at me if I randomly eat a cheeseburger or a bratwurst. In a way, I am thankful for this because it gives me further incentive to maintain my pescatarian diet in fear of getting sick. The mere fact that red meat makes me physically sick now that my body realizes it does not need it also concerns me quite a bit and makes me question why our country revolves around such an industry.

  2. Brennan,
    I like your approach to healthy eating. In fact I may try it out. I think especially for beginning vegetarians or vegans it is helpful to get your feet wet, so to speak, before diving in the great lake of not-eating-meat for however long. Your approach, as you point out, is healthier and reduces your carbon footprint. In a world of over-consumption, and even consumption for consumption's sake, I think your approach to healthy eating could be a step in the right direction for many of us in the so called "developed" world. If only there were a flexitarian version of wasteful spending.