What is a Flexitarian?

What is a flexitarian? What does the word flexitarian mean?
A flexitarian is a person who eats a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eats meat, chicken, fish, seafood or some form of animal product such as eggs or milk not ordinarily part of their diet. Definitions may vary on this relatively new term. Reasons for dietary flexibility may also vary.

What is an omnivore? What is a flexitarian? What is the difference?
Omnivores eat both animal and plant foods. The omnivore diet may or may not be health related. The same is true for flexitarians. Where they differ is in choice of day to day diet.

Why omnivores eat meat.
Omnivores eat animal and plant based foods most likely because that's what more than 95% of our American culture eats. We're products of our culture and the influence of our family meal patterns. Omnivores know fruits and vegetables are good for them. They like meat and chicken and fish, believe they need them for protein, and plan their meals around them. If the cook follows the recommended USDA food pyramid, the main serving of meat is supplemented with servings of grain, vegetables and salads.

Some omnivores really would prefer meat based meals, but for health reasons, their own or their partners, they follow a largely plant based diet. Or it may be that they live with someone who is vegetarian.

Sometimes flexitarians eat meat.
Flexitarians, on the other hand, generally eat a vegetarian, or largely vegetarian diet. Their reasons for eating animal based foods vary from time to time and person to person. Sometimes someone who considers him/herself a vegetarian craves a hamburger or whatever and so eats the hamburger. Another vegetarian may be invited to dinner where only animal based foods are offered as the main dish. This person may choose to eat and enjoy the meal without angst or guilt. Those who generally follow vegetarian guidelines, but occasionally choose to eat animal flesh are flexitarians.

How vegetarians are different.
Vegetarians would make different choices and eat the salad and grains while enjoying the company, but not the main dish. Vegans and strict vegetarians would naturally be more cautious as eggs and milk are often ingredients in many prepared foods.

Flexitarian benefits.
Now, if you're ever asked "What is a flexitarian?" you'll be able to answer with confidence. For many, the flexitarian choice is the most effective way to meet basic dietary, social and environmental needs for a satisfying and diverse life.

Other terms that may be used interchangeably with flexitarian include semi-vegetarian, almost vegetarian, pseudo vegetarian, and nearly vegetarian.

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