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.)