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The Five “W’s” of Flexitarianism

The Who
I’m not big on structure or definitions, but in general Flexitarians are people who for various reasons want to consume less meat in their diet. The degree of commitment varies from person to person and can be influenced by the time of year, or even the day of the week. Unless you have a highly unlikely diet of “all meat”, we are all Flexitarians in some fashion.

The What
The word, “Flexitarian,” first appeared in 2003 and is a combination of the words “Flexible” and “Vegetarian.” Dawn Jackson Blatner is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist whose motto is “Healthy Living, Hold the Boring”. According to Dawn, “Flexitarian is a new way to eat that minimizes meat without excluding it all together”.

I would suggest that Flexitarianism is about making a conscience decision to start on a path towards regular healthy, dietary habits that includes reduced meat consumption. It starts with a commitment to lower the amount of meat in your diet and evolve into a new pattern of dietary choices over time.

When we started making the Original Nutburg, we thought our consumers would be 100% Vegetarians. Well, we were wrong! Today over 50% of our retail clientele include meat in their diet. Nutburg consumption in the Food Service Sector is more like 70%. This is a direct result of consumers evolving dietary choices.

The When
I guess the best answer is “When your Ready”. The great thing about making this decision is that you can start slow. Do a little reading on line. There is ample information that will provide you with fabulous recipes and interesting new protein-based foods.

The Where
Where are we seeing the Flexitarian Diet? The answer is absolutely everywhere. Not that long ago when I used the phrase “Flexitarian,” the response was “what” or “the who”. Today if you do a search for Flexitarian Cookbooks, you will be overwhelmed with the information that is available to you.

The Why
There are a host of reasons to investigate this style of eating. Most of all health, but environmental, ethical, and cost are all factors in why eating habits are evolving. In the last two years alone we have seen an 40% increase in the cost of beef. Meat scares, the overuse of additives and sodium in meat processing, and the use of hormones and antibiotics have all contributed to the rise of the Flexitarian approach to eating.

In my next blog I will address some of the issues on ” How to start along the path towards Flexitarianism.

‘Til then.

– James West,
Mr. NutBurg