I’m a millennial and I’m a flexitarian
BY ELLEN TEWKESBURY
Our Founder Lily is a Vegetarian. I'm a Flexitarian. For National Vegetarian Week we've both written about why we have made our own choices when it comes to meat. You can read Lily’s account here. But for now, here’s mine…
I’m in my mid-twenties, I grew up comfortably in Clapham and I guess you could call me a pretty regular middle class Londoner. I’ve watched Cowspiracy and Leonardo Di Caprio’s documentary, I have read, and heard, the countless facts and figures in favour of a vegetarian lifestyle. 51% of global green house gas emissions are caused by livestock and their by-products. The water used to make one hamburger is equivalent to showering for two months. But when push comes to shove, I won’t be giving up meat. And here’s why.
My boyfriend ‘became a vegetarian’ around two months ago. This has mainly consisted of him taking on an air of ‘holier than thou’ and seen an increase in the amount of meat he consumes, caving to temptation at the first illicit whiff of a juicy patty on a distant street vendor’s grill.
I went to a gym class on Sunday and overheard two girls discussing their plans for refuelling post workout. They were heading to a nearby restaurant that specialises in vegan fried chicken. Yes, vegan fried chicken. “It looks JUST like KFC!” one of them was explaining. From vegan fried chicken, to vegetarian bacon and dairy-free cashew cheese, I can’t help but think we’re going in the wrong direction. Delicious vegetable curries and stews, fresh and vibrant salads, yes. Replicating processed meat for deprived vegetarians? No.
These two examples, to me, show that putting labels and restrictions on ourselves, more often than not, will lead to failure. If we’re forbidding ourselves of something, the chances are we are going to crave it more. A little, not often, is a much more achievable goal. And one that can still make a huge difference.
Which is why I embrace the ‘Flexitarian’ approach (no matter how much I dislike the word). A Flexitarian is someone that eats predominantly, but not strictly, a vegetarian diet. Of course I care about the impact the meat industry has on our planet, and I do make a conscious effort to eat a plant based diet as much as I can, experimenting more in the kitchen and opting for vegetables I wouldn’t usually cook with. But if the sun, and inevitable barbeque is out this summer, you can put that sausage on my plate. I’ll just have it as a side to my big bowl of spring greens please.