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“What’s a flexitarian?” “How can you be a semi-vegetarian?” “You’re either vegetarian or you’re not.”

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semi-vegetarian, flexitarian blog

When I tell people I have a flexitarian blog,  their first question is usually “What’s a flexitarian?”.

Their next question is “How can you only be a vegetarian some of the time?”  Sometimes I’m asked “Isn’t it cheating in a way? I mean, really you’re either a vegetarian or you’re not“.

This is what I tell them.

“I can’t commit to a totally plant-based diet.”

So instead, as a flexitarian, or semi-vegetarian, I’ve cut down on my meat consumption without making any promises I can’t keep. That means I eat whatever I like, but most days, I have at least one meat-free meal.  And most weeks, I have at least a couple of meat-free days.

I’ll never be a committed vegetarian in the sense of cutting out meat and seafood altogether.  But by being a semi-vegetarian, I’m still contributing to animal rights, a more sustainable environment, and a healthier lifestyle.

And millions of other flexitarians are doing the same thing.

“Isn’t that cheating?  You’re either a vegetarian or you’re not.”

No.  It’s not cheating.  The concept of vegetarianism has changed over the years. 

Flexitarianism is one of eight recognised varieties of vegeterianism.  And only two of those eight varieties are entirely plant-based.  Read on for a description of each type, starting with the most flexible and working down to the most restrictive.

1.   Semi-vegetarian (flexitarian)


A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian is a person who has cut down on the amount of meat they eat, without committing to a ovo, ovo-lacto or plant-based diet.

As a semi-vegetarian, I don’t deny myself any food group.   I eat as much seafood and meat as I want, whenever I feel like it. But most days, I have at least one meat-free meal.  And most weeks I have at least a couple of meat-free days. Not because I have to, but because I choose to.

And having meat-free meals (or days) only when I want to makes it easy.

As its name suggests, flexitarianism isn’t a rigid diet that you have to follow. It’s about flexibility and not being labelled.

The concept of a purely plant-based diet doesn’t attract me at all and probably never will. Which is why I’ll never commit to one.

But as I said above, as a semi-vegetarian, I’m still contributing in my own way to animal rights, a more sustainable environment and a healthier lifestyle. And I’m happy with that.

Other flexitarians might be working on gradually cutting out meat and fish altogether, some could be part of a global movement like Meatless Monday and commit to having one meat free day a week, they  may be adopting a semi-vegetarian diet simply to lose weight and be healthier, or are eating less meat for animal rights or environmental reasons.

Either way, the point of semi-vegetarianism, or flexitariansim, is as its name suggests – it’s a flexible choice of diet.

No cheating.  No rules. And no guilt.

2.   Pescetarian

A lacto-ovo, lacto or plant-based vegetarian diet, which includes fish.

3.   Lacto-ovo vegetarian

A  plant-based or lacto diet that includes eggs and dairy.

4.   Lacto vegetarian

A plant-based diet that includes certain types of dairy, but excludes eggs and foods which contain animal rennet. 

5.   Kangatarian

A diet originating from Australia. In addition to foods permissible in a plant-based diet, kangaroo meat is also consumed. I find this one  inexplicable.

6.   Vegetarian

The traditional concept.  A plant-based  diet which excludes meat and fish, and avoids meat by-products.

7.   Vegan

In addition to excluding meat and avoiding meat by-products, vegans do not eat food produced by animals, such as dairy products, eggs and honey.

8.   Fruitarian

A diet which predominantly consists of raw fruit.


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