A recent Gallup reflects that 7% of Americans are vegetarian or vegan. This is up from 1% in 1971. Vegetarianism is on the rise! While the team at Appetite for Peace wishes for everyone to cease the slaughter of innocent animals and go vegan, we are also aware that not everyone can go “cold turkey.”
Do you know what stops most vegetarians from becoming vegan? The answer is cheese. Most do not know that non-dairy cheese has come a long way in the past few years. Most people will tell you that they love animals. However, they still eat them. There is also a baby-step in between a standard diet and a Veg diet. Flexitarianism is a transition phase where meat eaters are deliberately trying to eat more vegan friendly foods and less meat. Yes, this is really a thing.
There is a growing trend of standard carnivores that relate to the compassion for animals, or understand the health benefits of being vegetarian/vegan. Some flexitarianism trends that transition people towards being vegetarian are: Meat-Free Mondays (just what it implies), Veguary (no meat in a particular month), and Vegfast (when people eat vegetarian for breakfast/lunch/dinner only). These are great options for those aspiring to be vegan but are not completely prepared for the full leap.
Dr. Sarah Schenker, a nutritionist and co-author of The Ageless Body, states that flexitarianism is the perfect option for the curious and undecided. “A vegetarian diet can be very healthy especially if it is high in grains, vegetables and fruits,” she says. “It is so easy to be meat free, but sticking to meat-based meals once or twice a week is a compromise.”
Vegetarian diets have been linked to lower risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease. And in a major study last year, Dr. Michael Orlich of Loma Linda University in California, reported that herbivores could live longer lives. The vegetarians in this study exhibited a 12 percent lower risk of dying compared to carnivores. These results demonstrate an “overall association of vegetarian dietary patterns with lower mortality,” the researchers wrote.
More people than ever are motivated to remove meat from their diet for a variety of reasons: environmental, health, and/or ethical. Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of flexitarianism, the reasons to reject meat are relevant and on the rise. Not everyone can make the change to “full Veg” overnight, so if you fall into this category, “flex” your way to a more peaceful vegan diet. Remember every piece of meat you do not eat saves a life.