Are You a Flexitarian?

People of all ages living all over the world are looking for ways to be healther and wealthier. Baby Boomers in the U.S. (named after the so-called "baby boom" that created more births in the U.S. than at anytime in history) are now referring to themselves more often as "Baby Zoomers." A Zoomer is one who, though in their 50s or 60s is maintaining an incredibly active and healthy lifestyle. 60 is the new 30, as they say.

With the U.S. also experiencing the most serious and wide-reaching drought in decades, the cost of many food products is sure to rise, in some cases dramatically. Not to mention that there are a lot of people questioning the desirability of a "meat and potatoes" diet anyway.

 

Enter a new, conscious approach to eating that is not bound by rules or strict and expensive choices, but rather one that offers an array of options as wide as nature and your imagination can conjure. Feel like eating vegetarian for a few days. Great. Jonesing for a burger one night and nothing else will do? Go with it.

This is the way of the FLEXITARIAN. What does that mean? Well, different things to different people. To someone it may mean a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat or fish. To another it may be a conscientious meat-eater who often enjoys meals without meat. To us it means a great way to eat healthful, delicious food, save money by using meat only when you want, as an accent or focal point, and enjoying the complete range of nature's bounty. Sound good? We thought so. That's why you'll see Zoomers and others readily adopting this flexible path, even if they don't know what it's called.

 

Vegetarian buffets and potlucks provide a bountiful array of options too.

Think about this. There are two ways to make your favorite chili, one using the meat, or substituting beans and vegetables. Same for pasta sauce, you want some ground turkey in there, or just prefer the marinara? Quiche Lorraine with bacon or quiche without meat. Pizza, nachos, soups, salads, kebabs, casseroles, many of the dishes already in our repertoire. It's like the Almond Joy/Mounds debate. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't! Meatless Mondays have been firmly entrenched in many households already. Not much of a leap to add a few more meatless meals or days. 

 

Chili con Carne or White Bean Chili - the choice is flexible, and up to you

And of course, some of our favorite eats and drinks already fit the bill. Who needs meat in your chocolate cake, strawberry shortcake or margarita? Exactly no one. Add extra beans to the nachos and skip the meat and we're in.

 

Some things we love already were vegetarian from birth

For those of you thinking, hmmm, that's really a great idea, but I know I want to get protein and I can't stand Tofu or any of those "meat substitutes." (We agree with you, by the way). You'll be happy to know that there are a lot of proteins in the non-meat natural world already. Beans, legumes, seeds and grains have been used and combined throughout history to make proper protein complements. Does the combo "rice and beans" ring a bell? 

 

Beans, seeds, legumes and grains can be combined to make great alternatives to animal protein

If you're also concerned about the way food processing is becoming ever more prevalent in our lives, Flexitarianism allows you to think more about your roots (literally, even!) Do you like to grow your own herbs and veggies in the garden? Great. Is there a little corn field behind the fence? Awesome. And because the whole concept is inclusive, rather than exclusive, if you want to have a portabello burger and your loved one wants a steak, the grill doesn't become a battle ground, but a place where you can each get what you want. Who knows, somewhere later in the month, the tables may turn! 

 

Sometimes you feel like a steak, sometimes you don't

If you are already a flexitarian and are looking for some recipe ideas, we highly recommend Everyday flexitarian: recipes for vegetarians & meat lovers alikeby Nettie Cronish & Pat Crocker to get some great ideas. If you're interested in learning more about what a flexitarian is or does, there are a variety of articles and books you can peruse.  Let us know if you're thinking about becoming or already a flexitarian. Now that you know what one is, of course!