Could Someone Explain This? (what is a flexitarian) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-13-2006, 10:24 AM
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Vegan Diets: This is the strictest of all the vegetarian options, as vegans, which is the name for individuals who follow a vegan diet, avoid ALL foods from animal sources. In other words, at a barbecue, the only part of the cheeseburger that a vegan could eat would be the bun, pickle, and ketchup, as these foods are from plant sources. The ground beef burger and the cheese (both derived from a cow) would be off limits. A savvy hostess would need to grill up soy burgers and top them with a slice of soy cheese to satisfy the palates of her vegan guests.





Lacto-Vegetarian Diets: A less strict vegetarian is one who follows a lacto-vegetarian diet. Similarly to vegans, lacto-vegetarians avoid all foods from animal sources except for dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese (lacto means dairy). At a barbecue, you would find the lacto-vegetarian also hunting for a soy burger to sandwich between her bun, but the burger could be topped with the same cheddar cheese that the carnivorous, or meat-eating, guests are enjoying. The lacto-vegetarian would also be able to enjoy the make-your-own sundae ice cream (dairy) dessert. Unfortunately, the strict vegans at this barbecue, who are looking for a sweet ending to their meal, would have to hope that a fruit sorbet (a blend of puree fruit and a sweetener) is also a dessert option.





Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian Diets: A vegetarian-style diet that allows even more flexibility in is the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which includes not only dairy foods but also eggs (ovo means eggs). Omelets, scrambled eggs, and products made with eggs can appear in the lacto-ovo vegetarian’s repertoire of menu options. At a barbecue, the lacto-ovo vegetarian would not only be able to enjoy a soy burger topped with cheddar cheese as well as the ice cream dessert, but she could also devour the tasty deviled egg appetizers.





Flexitarian Diet: The latest vegetarian diet to make its way on the eating scene is the flexitarian diet or a "part time" vegetarian diet. Flexitarians are vegetarians who sometimes eat meat, fish, and poultry. For the flexitarians at a barbecue, the sky is the limit as there wouldn't be any foods on the buffet table that they would need to avoid, especially if this happens to be their meat-eating night.





- By Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN. Blake is a nutrition professor at Boston University and a nationally known writer, lecturer and nutrition expert.



I get the vegan thing and even the lacto/ovo diets, for that is what my daughter is. But what the heck is a flexiterian. I mean aren;t the average folks out there flexies. That; to me is like saying I am a part time alcoholic, or a part time drug addict. Granted, those are far fethced examples, but you get my meaning. And all this from a nutrition professor...what is this world coming to???
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#2 Old 07-13-2006, 10:30 AM
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maybe someone who makes a conscious effort to reduce the amount of meat they consume, but still eats meat sometimes?



for example.. my friend used to eat meat for every meal but has now done some thinking about vegetarianism and tries to only eat meat once or twice a week now. true, it's not vegetarianism, but it's still a step in the right direction.
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#3 Old 07-13-2006, 10:40 AM
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I suppose my kids could be considered a flextarian. They eat meat a few times a week. Hubby is a meat eater and if I make a meat dish that the kids really like then I give them the option. If we are eating out they will usually choose chicken nuggets or a cheeseburger.



Another thought that comes to mind is a person that will eat meat as long as it is free range organic but due to monetary concerns eats vegetarian a good portion of the time. That was me for a few months before becoming vegetarian. Although I didn't consider myself a vegetarian then.
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#4 Old 07-13-2006, 10:50 AM
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A person who eats vegetarian meals every meal except "sunday dinner" when he eats meat is still cutting way down on meat. I wouldn't call this vegetarian really. I'd say an omnivore who eats limited meat.
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#5 Old 07-13-2006, 10:58 AM
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i've got a friend who is working on becoming more vegetarian, and she now sees herself as more of a flexitarian. she'll go with the veggie version of a meal at a restaurant if one is available, she'll pick tofu dogs over hotdogs, and veggie burgers over beef burgers if they're available at a barbeque, she omits meat from her own meals when she's cooking, but if someone else is cooking for her, say at a family function, she'll eat what they've prepared graciously. if she's really craving chicken, for example, then she'll go with the free run, organic, hormone and drug free version, and feel like she's making a small step in the right direction.



for her, i think it is a step in the right direction. there is more chance of her ending up as a long term vegetarian this way, than if she went right at it- she's tried, and failed, quite a few times (don't get me started on why, lol!) and was on the verge of jacking it all in, and resigning herself to being an omni before i suggested trying this- and i think she is making a small difference in the grander scheme of things, with her concious choices and actions.
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#6 Old 07-13-2006, 11:33 AM
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I think there are probably tons of "flexitarians" floating around but few who would call themselves such or who have ever heard the term.



My best friend might qualify as a 'flexitarian' because she doesn't eat beef or pork and purchases lots of soy products. Similarly, my parents enjoy lots of vegetarian food and, on average, eat meat just once a day.



Its a weird term because there is also a seperation between someone who eats meat once a week and someone who eats meat once a day, but both are better off than the majority of the public.
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#7 Old 07-13-2006, 01:05 PM
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Personally, I'd much rather someone call themselves Flexitarian than I would for them to call themselves "pescatarian", "bovotarian" or "pollotarian". It just seems more accurate, IMO.
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#8 Old 07-13-2006, 01:09 PM
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That description is nonsense because it states "Flexitarians are vegetarians who sometimes eat meat, fish, and poultry". You are not a non-meat-eater if you sometimes eat meat.

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#9 Old 07-13-2006, 01:27 PM
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good on them for reducing their cruel product intake (hopefully dairy too!) but they are still omnis.
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#10 Old 07-13-2006, 01:59 PM
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Emm.. A barbecue buffet that consists of burgers with cheese, catsup and pickles as the only toppings, deviled eggs and ice cream? I don't feel I'm missing much in this case.
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#11 Old 07-13-2006, 02:10 PM
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IMO, the term "flexitarian" should only be used for people who are actually making an effort in cutting out meat products, and perhaps wanting to eventually become vegetarian. Those who at least have an interest in a more cruelty free lifestyle. I think it's better than someone saying "I'm a vegetarian, but I eat meat sometimes" -as we all know that is not a vegetarian, but by saying "I'm a flexitarian" that shows others that they're conscience of animal suffering and making an effort to reduce and be a lesser part of that. I'd just hate to see the term be abused.
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#12 Old 07-13-2006, 02:15 PM
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That whole term seems kind of silly. It's like a lazy form of vegetarianism. They are indeed still omnis...
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#13 Old 07-13-2006, 02:21 PM
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vegans are far from the most strict vegetarian diets...



Ms. Blake should take a peek at Raw Fruitarianism.

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#14 Old 07-13-2006, 02:24 PM
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I also like how she said a vegan option at a bbq was a bun,pickle,and ketchup. how tasty.



the funny thing is, is that the bun probably isn't vegan, and the ketchup has hfcs. so our option would be the jar of pickles. yum.
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#15 Old 07-13-2006, 02:28 PM
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I don't see where there's a problem. A person who is a 'flexitarian' is not calling themselves vegan or even vegetarian. Probably what this entails is that the person would eat a vegetarian diet at home, and an omni diet when that was what was available elsewhere (for instance at a barbeque). Is there something wrong with having a word for that kind of diet? I'm glad that omnis are thinking more about their diets and how much meat they want to give up if this is the case...and also where there meat comes from. If there needs to be a new word for someone who tries to eat a mostly vegetarian diet, I don't see it as a problem. I guess I'm not quite understanding why you seem so flabberghasted.



B
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#16 Old 07-13-2006, 02:30 PM
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I don't understand what needs to be explained? The text that was quoted in the OP explains what Flexitarianism is. It's someone who eats a mostly vegetarian diet, but occassionally eats non-vegetarian food. /shrug
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#17 Old 07-13-2006, 02:35 PM
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all americans are vegan between meals.
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#18 Old 07-13-2006, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troub View Post

all americans are vegan between meals.

Not if they're wearing non-vegan clothes or makeup.



I think it's pretty ridiculous to use the terms flexitarian, pescetarian, pollo-vegetarian. If you are not devoted to a veg*n lifestyle and eat meat "only sometimes", you're an omni.



Also, that article is horribly biased.

Quote:
Unfortunately, the strict vegans at this barbecue, who are looking for a sweet ending to their meal, would have to hope that a fruit sorbet (a blend of puree fruit and a sweetener) is also a dessert option.

Makes it seem like vegans are soooo miserable because the only dessert they could eat was this fruit sorbet in question.

And lacto-ovos get to "enjoy" eggs. Mmmmm, vegans are so deprived.
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#19 Old 07-13-2006, 02:56 PM
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Only on this message board have I heard someone refer to themselves as an omni. Never in real life do you ever hear someone say "I'm an omni". It's rediculous to assert that people should refer to themselves as such.

I just absolutely don't see what's wrong with using terms like flexitarian, pescatarian, and so forth.
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#20 Old 07-13-2006, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Sunflower* View Post

Not if they're wearing non-vegan clothes or makeup.



I think it's pretty ridiculous to use the terms flexitarian, pescetarian, pollo-vegetarian. If you are not devoted to a veg*n lifestyle and eat meat "only sometimes", you're an omni.



Also, that article is horribly biased.



Makes it seem like vegans are soooo miserable because the only dessert they could eat was this fruit sorbet in question.

And lacto-ovos get to "enjoy" eggs. Mmmmm, vegans are so deprived.

My emphasis

I totally agree. Yes, vegans are SO deprived. The article was way biased.

AS far as 'flextarian' goes, it's someone desperate to attach a label to their lifestyle.

If you don't eat meat, you're a vegetarian. If you do, even part time, you're not. That simple.

So now anyone who doesn't eat meat EVERY meal is a part time vegetarian?

Mary
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#21 Old 07-13-2006, 03:29 PM
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The term fits my own diet, although I prefer "near-vegetarian". It's not necessarily for people who are "lazy" or "trying to become vegetarian". Many, many people who are not into the absolutism of the AR world still believe that reducing meat consumption is more humane, better for the planet, better for the global economy, and better for our bodies.



For me, the gap between someone who eats meat three times a day and someone who eats meat three times a year is huge, whereas the gap between someone who eats meat three times a year and someone who eats no meat is almost trivial. I know others (particularly on this board) don't see it that way.



I agree that the text of the article is kind of silly and a bit insulting. To say that someone who avoids meat but makes occasional exceptions would have a "sky's the limit" approach to a barbeque is bizarre. We would take the vegan option over the meat every time, if offered.



The phrase "a vegetarian who sometimes makes exceptions", while not accurate in the textbook-logic sense, actually conveys the essence of the diet quite well.



I find the absolutism surrounding definitions to be very interesting, as I tend to think of all words (in ordinary, nontechnical language) as having many shades of meaning and connotations. A couple years ago, I posted these examples as food for thought:



"I'm a Democrat, but I ocassionally vote Republican"



"I'm a Lutheran, but I occasionally attend Presbyterian church"



"I'm heterosexual, but I'm occasionally attracted to members of the same sex"



These are all reasonable statements that probably would not raise eyebrows or cause confusion. And yet



"I'm vegetarian, but I occasionally eat fish or seafood"



tends to make folks around here go ballistic.



Also, it seems to me that it should be the food that is vegan, vegetarian, etc. - not the person. Otherwise we're back to Troub's "everyone is vegan between meals". If you eat vegetarian exclusively for a year, then eat a piece of shrimp, that suddenly makes you an omnivore? How long does it take for the piece of shrimp to "wear off" and restore you to your vegetarian identity? Until the next meal? A day? A week? Or until you go to confession and repent?



I do hope no one takes offense at this line of thinking - I just think we are not always well served by rigid categories and definitions. In the larger scheme of things, it seems to me, "flexitarians" are on the vegetarian side of the dietary landscape - the exceptions are less important than the overall diet.



Blessings, Tom
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#22 Old 07-13-2006, 04:00 PM
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speaking of grey areas, and different terms of "vegetarian-ish", I referred to myself as "veganish" for a long while before going vegan.



was I vegan? no. But I wasn't exactly full all out lacto-ovo either. I didn't buy leather/wool/silk. I didn't consume gelatin, eggs, or straight up milk.

I did eat "veggie cheese" (with casien) at home, and would have the occasional pizza or products with dairy while out and about.



I would tell people I was vegetarian, but when asked for further definition I would say, "lacto-vegetarian techincly, but veganish would describe it better"
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#23 Old 07-13-2006, 04:02 PM
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Well stated Seusomon.
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#24 Old 07-13-2006, 04:17 PM
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I don't like much absolutism either, Seusomon, but I don't like "flexitarian" I don't even like "lacto-ovo vegetarian." But it's up to them what they want to call themselves, I guess.



I don't fit in categories very well....
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#25 Old 07-13-2006, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seusomon View Post


"I'm a Democrat, but I ocassionally vote Republican"



"I'm a Lutheran, but I occasionally attend Presbyterian church"



"I'm heterosexual, but I'm occasionally attracted to members of the same sex"



These are all reasonable statements that probably would not raise eyebrows or cause confusion. And yet



"I'm vegetarian, but I occasionally eat fish or seafood"



tends to make folks around here go ballistic.

One reason for that is that people don't appreciate being served fish in restaurants after they've told they're vegetarian. And the difference between Democrat and Lutheran on the one hand, and vegetarian on the other, is that the latter is exclusively about actions (what you put into your mouth), not beliefs. I would say actions tend by their very nature to be more rigid.

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#26 Old 07-14-2006, 09:40 AM
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I'd never heard the term before - at first I thought Flexitarians might be followers of me!







BTW my username is my nickname (which is based on the name I use on another site). I gave up meat in 1983!
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#27 Old 07-14-2006, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seusomon View Post


Also, it seems to me that it should be the food that is vegan, vegetarian, etc. - not the person. Otherwise we're back to Troub's "everyone is vegan between meals". If you eat vegetarian exclusively for a year, then eat a piece of shrimp, that suddenly makes you an omnivore? How long does it take for the piece of shrimp to "wear off" and restore you to your vegetarian identity? Until the next meal? A day? A week? Or until you go to confession and repent?



I have some thoughts on this section... First, I don't see a problem with calling someone vegetarian or vegan (opposed to the food), because that is what the words mean. We don't usually call dishes omnivorous, but we do call people omnivorous. Same with veg*n. I don't think it takes us back to "everyone is vegan between meals," because veg*n terms refer to a person's diet overall, not in a certain time period. Therefore, I don't think it would even make sense to call someone a vegan, if they were eating an omnivorous diet, even if they were "vegan between meals." Does that make sense? I'm starting to confuse myself.



I'd say that the person who eats a piece of shrimp (assuming it was an educated and intentional decision to do so) after being vegetarian for one year would become an omnivore after eating it. The reason I come to this conclusion is basic - a vegetarian is someone who doesn't eat animals. Shrimp are animals. Someone who eats shrimp isn't vegetarian. Personally, I think it's irrelevant if they ate one shrimp, one meal, or meals for the entire week that consisted of shrimp. The point is that they went against a vegetarian diet, making them an omnivore.



How long does it take for the shrimp to "wear off?" I'd say the person is vegetarian again as soon as they stop eating animals. It seems pretty black and white to me, but I could be missing something. Although I remember this being brought up on other threads, I'd be willing to hear others' thoughts on this.



Good post, by the way.
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#28 Old 07-14-2006, 11:52 AM
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I second veggiejanie.

Being a vegetarian is a commitment. If you break the commitment, you are no longer a vegetarian. If you recommit yourself, you are. It doesn't have to "wear off". That's silly.

Flexiarian basically means omnivore. It doesn't matter if you willingly plan to eat meat only once a year, you're still not commited to living a live free of dead animals so you're still an omnivore.

Oh and the reason no one refers to themselves as an omni outside this board? Because they call themselves "normal". They don't need to have a term for how they eat because they can eat just about anything anyplace serves. As would a "flexitarian" which makes the term useless and stupid.

Why do you need a term to describe the fact that you eat like the other 95% of the population?

Mary
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#29 Old 07-14-2006, 11:56 AM
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people just want in the cool kids club.



we meet in the treehouse with a big V on the door.
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#30 Old 07-16-2006, 06:25 AM
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Thank you Tom! That was exactly what I was looking for. And your little "example" make perfect sense to me. I had used more extreme examples, but you hit the nail on the head. To me, you cannot be a part-time vegetarian. You either are...or you aren't. Now, the degree of your vegetarianism may differ, but thanks again for you words of wisdom!
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