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GeneralNutrition

Semi-Vegetarianism: Is This Really a Thing?

Semi-vegetarianism means you sometimes eat meat, chicken, or seafood, but as a general rule, you do not. Primarily, you are a vegetarian.

Published: 2/26/18

Yes, it is—and it’s spectacular! Why? Let’s start big: It can help save the planet, people. On a smaller scale, you could be a heck of a lot healthier if you limited the amount of animal products in your diet. The good news is you can make a difference by gradually adjusting your meals accordingly. That’s semi-vegetarianism.

What Is Semi-Vegetarianism and How Does It Work?

Semi-vegetarianism means you sometimes eat meat—like chicken, or seafood—but as a general rule, you do not. Primarily, you are a vegetarian. So, why this distinction? Because vegetarians eat no meat products whatsoever, while semi-vegetarians or “flexitarians” will eat meat or fish from time to time. There is no standard agreement or definition about how frequently or infrequently a person who eats meat or fish can call themselves a flexitarian, but the term “flexitarian” has  been around for about a decade when the book, The Flexitarian Diet was first published in 2008.

A vegetarian or semi-vegetarian lifestyle might be adopted for any number of reasons including your health, environmental concerns, your religious beliefs, or because of one’s feelings about animals’ treatment or even animals’ rights. Semi-vegetarians simply cut out the majority of meat and fish from their diets, but can be flexible when it comes to how often they will allow themselves an animal product.

It’s Not a Cop Out

You may be thinking, What’s the point? If I’m only going to be a vegetarian some of the time, why bother? Well, that “some of the time” could add years to your life and it’s good for the animals and the planet as a whole.

While flexitarians are not completely abstaining from eating meat, they are reducing their consumption which results in less meat or fish being consumed overall. We’re not math geniuses, but think about it: If just a few people cut down on their meat and fish consumption, their combined total could be equal to one more full-fledged vegetarian in the world.

Seriously, How Does Being Flexitarian Help Me and Our Planet?

According to the American Heart Association, those who follow a mostly vegetarian diet lower their risk of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. If you cut animal protein from your diet you also limit your consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol, too—so it’s a win-win. A semi-vegetarian diet can be super healthy—as long as you’re not subsisting on Cheetos, Doritos, and French fries (that would be bad!). You need vitamins! The key for any healthy diet is to make sure it’s nutritionally-balanced. You do this with a variety of foods that includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains—and for semi-vegetarians—the occasional piece of chicken or fish.