What exactly is a flexitarian? While many people know that a vegan only eats plant-based foods, while a vegetarian diet includes some egg and dairy products, a flexitarian on the other hand, is a more “flexible vegetarian”, or semi-vegetarian so to speak.

A flexitarian diet includes meat 2-5 days a week, depending on how advanced the person is. This non-restrictive approach to dieting has been increasingly popular among people who want to improve their health and well-being, without depriving themselves entirely of a piece of steak when the occasion presents itself.

The science behind such an approach is well documented; the benefits of reducing the intake of red meat are very well-known and a more varied, fruit and vegetable based diet has numerous health benefits, mainly for the cardio-vascular system as well as preventing obesity, diabetes and many other diseases. There are many studies which show that industrially farmed animals are fed GMO food, along with growth hormones so as to reach a certain weight faster than they would in natural circumstances, and various antibiotics which can affect the immune system. On top of that, deforestation due to farming is harmful to the planet as a whole, creating vast wastelands in places where trees used to grow. These large, modern breeds of cow are not as sustainable for farming as the older ones, which mainly nibbled on the greenery without pulling it from the root.

In 2009 Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney organized a campaign called Meat Free Monday for raising awareness of the difference a day makes when it comes to rationalizing our consumption of meat products. This campaign has its origins in the First World War, when Meatless Mondays were introduced to help ration food during the war; even though the circumstances have changed, the fight continues; this time the whole planet is at stake. It is estimated that 1/3 of land is currently used for farming and large parts of the rainforest the size of a 100 football fields are cut down every hour to make way for the meat industry.  Many celebrities have joined the campaign; Jamie Oliver is increasing the use of vegetables in his recipes, and even the Dalai Lama has become a flexitarian.

The question is no longer why become a flexitarian but rather, why not?