So, here we are…this is the inaugural post. Yippee!
My name is Lydia, and I am a flexitarian.
Let’s get this out of the way: I love to eat meat, eggs and dairy. Pork is particularly sublime and I used to have it every single day. Bacon, ham, pork roast, sausage… There was all kinds of piggy goodness going on. Cheese was another very good friend. We would meet up with crackers on a regular basis for a little snack, usually around 2 in the afternoon. Then I reached an age where my (mostly poor) eating habits caught up with me.
Weight gain, messed up blood chemistry and skin problems became daily companions too, along with the pork and the cheese.
I followed the South Beach Diet and lost some weight, and saw some improvements in other areas. The greatest gift gained from that experience was I learned to pay attention to my body. And my body was telling me that I felt better when I ate more veggies and legumes than I did when I filled up on meat and dairy. It was a revelation.
Another revelation was that I prefer cuisines that focus on plant based meals. I found myself drawn to the traditional foods of the Mediterranean and the Levant, Asia, parts of Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. I still eat meat and cheese, but sometimes I only eat them once a day. Occasionally, a couple days go by without any. And I don’t miss either of them.
That’s a very different experience from other points in my life when I’ve literally felt starved for vegetables.
It wasn’t until I read an article about New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman who at the time called himself a “less-meatatarian” and a “vegan till dinner” that I realized I wasn’t the only one who for whatever reason wasn’t interested in cutting meat completely from their diet. I just didn’t have a problem with eating less of it. This was in early 2010 and it was the first time I’d heard the word “flexitarian.” Since then, Bittman has written several books devoted to the subject among them VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 To Lose Weight and Restore Your Health…For Good and The VB6 Cookbook (affiliate links)
Dawn Jackson Blatner’s book The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life (affiliate link) sealed the deal for me. Not only is the flexitarian style an accepted way of eating, it doesn’t restrict any type of food but rather focuses on portion size and sensible eating.
While my reasons for eating this way are mostly health based, I have plenty of concerns about the prevalence of processed foods in our diet, and the impact feeding people cheaply and efficiently has on our environment. For this reason I’m attracted to the slow food/buy local movements that are changing the way we eat.
So a flexitarian eats fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy, grains, legumes, fermented foods, soy, whatever we like. When I was a school girl an animal which ate such a wide variety of food was called an “omnivore” so I guess that’s what I am…but I’ll call myself a flexitarian without hesitation.
What about you? What attracts you to this style of eating? What don’t you like about it?