I've spent the last 3+ years not knowing what to call myself. I've used the V word several times, just because I think I'm pretty close. But i'm not a true vegetarian. Namely because I eat meat. Granted, it's not very often 3-4 times a month, max. But still, I am sure that true vegetarians would be disgusted to hear me use that term when I was seen sinking my teeth into a big juicy burger just a few weeks ago.
But the other day all my etymological woes disappeared when I stumbled upon this word: Flexitarian
Here are some excerpts from a few different websites defining the term
-- “Flexitarians” — a term voted most useful word of 2003 by the American Dialect Society — are motivated less by animal rights than by a growing body of medical data that suggests health benefits from eating more vegetarian foods.
--Flexitarians adhere mostly to the vegetarian diet as a healthy lifestyle rather than following an ideology. They feel an occasional meal that includes fish, fowl or meat is acceptable.
--Flexitarians: Include the groups below:
•Vegetarian: Those who say they are vegetarian, or "almost vegetarian," but use some meat, poultry or fish.
•Vegetarian inclined: Replace meat with meat alternatives for at least some meals, usually maintain a vegetarian diet, or eat four or more meatless meals per week.
•Health-conscious: Strive for a balanced eating plan or eat two to three meatless meals per week.
--Flexitarianism might be the answer for you. A flexitarian — or flexible vegetarian — is someone who eats mostly plant-based foods but occasionally eats meat, poultry and fish. Want to give it a try? It could be the jump start you need to begin eating healthier.
--It's for people who want to be vegetarians most of the time but "don't want to sit at a barbecue in their neighborhood with an empty bun," It is not just about eating less meat. The most important part is eating more healthful vegetarian foods, such as beans, nuts, whole grains and produce.
So, there you have it. That's what you can call me (along with a large list of other things).
Truth be told, most people I know (Kristin, you are not included in this group) would probably see themselves as some sort of flexitarian. More and more people are realizing that 3-5 servings a day of fruits and veggies isn't really enough. And one of the best ways to get more of those in your diet is to base meals around the veggies, and cut down (or hold off) on the meat.
When people find out how many veggies/fruit we eat in a day, and that we rarely have meals with meat, they ask WHAT DO WE EAT?!?!?! Well, since none of you asked, lemme just tell you. Some of my favorite recipes are from vegetarianation.blogspot.com - a blog that my friend, meredith set up-- that I and other veggie-lovers contribute to. So, if you want to become more FLEXible, but don't know where to start, i'd suggest trying the Oven Chimichangas (you gotta use quinoa in these--delish!), the Roasted Veggie Quesadillas or this delicious Fiesta Pasta Salad. And for those of you with that famous my-husband-won't-eat-meals-without-meat excuse, I can almost guarantee that he'd be happy with any of those three meals :) For all you know you're married to a closet-flexitarian...and he's just waiting for you to open that door...