This debate will forever go on. What’s better: eating meat daily or avoiding all animal products, including your clothing and any product tested on animals? Personally, I don’t identify with either option. You must be thinking that I’m a vegetarian, right? I don’t eat meat but I still wear wool? False. I’m a flexitarian. Yes, you probably haven’t heard of it. No, I didn’t make it up.
Let’s make something clear: I’m not a flexitarian because of animal cruelty. I do this for the environment. Eating meat demands much, much more water and land to produce one pound of beef than to produce one pound of lentils. Why waste all that water when there are so many forest fires going on and,
let’s not forget, entire civilizations without access to clean water? As for clothing, the raising, capturing, and killing of all these animals for their fur and leather has other effects on the environment, again in relation to water and land.
As a flexitarian, I don’t cook any meat for myself. I use substitutes like eggs, chick peas or lentils. I do however still consume other animal products like milk, eggs, and cheese; I just reduce my quantities or modify my grocery list. For instance, I try to purchase vegan margarine, instead of butter. When I go visit my parents or go out to the restaurant with friends, things change. I don’t want to force anyone to make a separate meal for me, change their recipe or refuse their food and bring my own. When someone cooks for me, I eat what they offer! Free food without the effort of cooking? I can’t say no to that! At the restaurant, if no vegetarian of vegan option is offered or appeals to me, I order a meal with meat. It’s as simple as that.
It’s very difficult going from being omnivore to being vegan in a day, and the same goes for changing from being omnivore to being vegetarian. Becoming flexitarian is a great step toward becoming vegetarian and eventually vegan. That’s why I believe in flexitarianism, because you get to ease into the process. Start with no meat Mondays, then add in no turkey Tuesdays, and so on. You’ll slowly and more easily learn how to replace your meat portions with substitutes. Once you find a situation you’re comfortable in, you’ll be able to move on to the other aspects of your life: clothing and hygiene, cleaning products. I for example, eat two to three meals with meat a week. Once I established a diet I was comfortable with, I started being more careful when buying clothes and did more research on hygiene products.
Yes, I do believe that veganism is the best way to go, I’m just not ready for it. I’m heading there. I highly encourage people to start reducing their meat intake, even if it’s just eliminating meat from your diet one day per week. It’s worth it.
Image Source: Pixabay
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol. 47 Issue 3 on October 12, 2017