I'm a flexitarian

Aethne Hinchliffe
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I went through a phase once. My friend and I, who were about 13, were walking down the street and suddenly decided to become vegetarians.

One of my weaknesses is being impetuous. I’ve heard it time and time again. “Aethne, you’re so impetuous!” In other words, I can be impulsive and jump into things without much thought.

I don’t know if that moment on the sidewalk was truly impulsiveness. Vegetarianism was something I wanted to try. It seemed a relatively trendy thing to do. Anyways, my vegetarian lifestyle didn’t last long. I can’t remember how long it lasted, but I’d guess a couple of weeks. To my friend’s credit, she lasted much longer.

Since then, I’ve dabbled halfheartedly in vegetarianism. (The friend I wrote of above has since become vegan.) There was a point, though, that I’d always end up failing. Now I read the word failing and think it sounds a little ridiculous.

I can’t remember who first introduced me to the world flexitarian, but hearing it was as though a light bulb had gone off in my brain - in a cartoon sort of way.

It made complete sense. I don’t eat chips everyday or even once a month, but I’ve never said, “I’m never going to eat chips again.” That would be a recipe for disaster. The next time I went grocery shopping I’d probably get to the cash with $80 worth of chips.

So back to flexitarian: My diet resembles that of a vegetarian, but I occasionally break the shackles and enjoy a burger. It’s difficult to fail when things are so flexible, and it probably sounds odd, but the more flexibility I think I have, the less inclined I’ll be to run to the closest burger-selling joint.

I began thinking about this today for a few reasons. First, I wrote a story about Open Farm Day. Although the farms here aren’t cattle farms, it still got me thinking about farming and the meat industry and all that.

Then there’s the fact I cook pretty regularly. I’m conscious of what I eat and try to be pretty healthy. Living in a rural area makes finding all the vegetarian items a little more challenging.

So my flexitarian diet doesn’t turn into a college diet of peanut butter and cheese for protein, I try to be creative and have a decent repertoire of meals. Having fewer items in the store means being flexible and stretching my imagination beyond the pages of my basic vegetarian cookbook.

This is all to say a little bit of flexitarianism goes a long way.

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