“I want to change from vegetarian to flexitarian, how do I do this? I want to eat meat again, what should I do? Am I a bad person for quitting being vegetarian? Should I stop being vegetarian? What exactly is a flexitarian? Is it right for me and my family?”
I have been vegetarian (except for a few mistakes, I don’t beat myself up for them!) for almost 5 years now. I am currently pregnant with my first child. These two things are making me question my vegetarianism. No, not because I dislike my diet or am unhealthy, but because I know I don’t want to push my diet onto my children.
I try to be eco-friendly, I am an animal lover, but I am also a biologist and can understand the frustration many vegetarians and vegans feel when we are lumped into a category of ‘extreme’ views. Not all of us believe this diet is the only diet we should have, nor do we think it will cure cancer (seriously, wtf) and we certainly won’t push our own choices onto other people. We simply choose this diet for whatever reasons we have, be it health-related, eco-friendliness, animal welfare, or a combination of every reason to be veggie.
Since getting pregnant, I’ve realised I don’t want my child to be a vegetarian with me. I have no qualms with anyone bringing up and veggie child, as long as their health is monitored for any missing vitamins etc, but I myself don’t want to deprive them of the choice. I am also aware they may get ill if they try meat when they’ve never had it before in their lives! I don’t want an ill child, or one who will resent me for any reason. My partner is not veggie (but was once), he is already flexitarian because we eat veggie main meals and he has the occasional bacon sandwich for lunch or burger when we eat out (rarely!).
The Flexitarian is a great website for discovering what a flexitarian is, and what you can do to be more veggie or even the opposite – to find optimum health, eco-friendliness and happiness away from a strict vegetarian or vegan diet!
As a biologist-in-training, I know we humans are omnivores. We wouldn’t have developed such big brains without what we gained from hunting, and we have the teeth and digestive system to deal with meat. Now that we have choices about what we eat, due to science, farming and ingenious methods of cooking delicious different foods, we can make the decision to be vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian or any of the other specialised diets around, without sacrificing our health (with good planning). This is great!
However, I want to bring my child up flexitarian so they have a choice, and I have debated with myself as to whether I should go this way too. Why not? I find myself hesitating at the line, not wanting yet to denounce my veggie-ness, because people don’t tend to see the grey in this.
Do you eat meat? Yes – then you’re not veggie, not eco-friendly, and don’t care about animals. There is no “yes, but-” in the answer. Some people cannot see anything other than the black and white yes or no. But I can.
I am determined to do well for my kids and my partner, I want to be conscious of the food I eat and maintain a veggie diet for most of my weeks, but some people still don’t see this as any different to the ‘carnivore horrors’ of those who care not for animals or the environment.
I am not one of them. I am probably going flexitarian in the next few weeks. Will it change how you perceive me? Maybe. But it shouldn’t.
What do you think about this idea? Is flexitarian something you’d do? Am I right to think this way? I’d love to hear what you think. I’m still mulling over it all in my head.
Thank you for reading.