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A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian[1][2] diet is one that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat products.[3][4][5][6][7] In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year's most useful word and defined it as "a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat".[8] In 2012, the term was listed for the first time in the mainstream Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.[9]

Difference between similar terms[edit]

Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat. Common reasons for adopting a flexitarian diet may be health, environment (see environmental vegetarianism) or reduction of resource consumption (see economic vegetarianism), which are also arguments in favor of adopting a fully vegetarian diet. While flexitarians may view the flexitarian diet as occasional indulgences,[10] orthodox vegetarians may strongly resent the term and view it as cheating or as a moral lapse.[11]

A ranking by U.S. News & World Report, involving a panel of experts, evaluated 32 popular diets based on overarching factors including health, weight loss, and ease of following; on the 2014 list, the flexitarian diet came in sixth place, ahead of both the vegan and vegetarian diets.[12] Specific flexitarian diets include:

  • Pescetarian: someone who eats fish and/or other seafood, but not poultry or meat from mammals. The macrobiotic diet is plant-based, and may or may not include the occasional addition of fish or other seafood.[15]
  • Pollo-pescetarian: someone who eats poultry, seafood, and no other meat. In other words, someone who eats white meat only.[citation needed] This word is a combination of "pollotarian" and "pescetarian", it is also written as "pesce-pollotarian".[citation needed]


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  3. ^ Langley-Evans, Simon (2009). Nutrition: A Lifespan Approach. Wiley. p. 172. There are many forms of vegetarian diet from the semi-vegetarian (consumes meat infrequently)... 
  4. ^ Nemours Foundation/TeensHealth [1] Excerpt: "Some people consider themselves semi-vegetarians and eat fish and maybe a small amount of poultry as part of a diet."
  5. ^ "Semi-Vegetarian - Vegetarianism". Medicine Online. semi-vegetarian: mostly follows a vegetarian diet but eats meat, poultry and fish occasionally 
  6. ^ Havala Hobbs, Suzanne. Living Vegetarian for Dummies. For Dummies. p. 14. A semi-vegetarian is someone who's cutting back on his intake of meat in general 
  7. ^ Koletzko, Berthold (2008). Pediatric Nutrition in Practice. Karger. p. 130. The wide spectrum of vegetarian diets ranges from avoidance of red meat only ('semi-vegetarianism')... 
  8. ^ "2003 Words of the Year". American Dialect Society. 2007-01-13. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  9. ^ Italie, Leanne. "F-bomb makes it into mainstream dictionary". The Washington Times. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Are you a 'flexitarian?'". nbcnews. 
  11. ^ "Flexitarianism: isn't it just vegetarianism with cheating?". Guardian (London). 21 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Best Diets Overall". U.S.News & World Report. 2012. 
  13. ^ Preedy, Victor R.; Burrow, Gerard N.; Watson, Ronald (2009-02-09). Comprehensive Handbook of Iodine: Nutritional, Biochemical, Pathological and Therapeutic Aspects. Academic Press. p. 523. ISBN 978-0-12-374135-6. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Hayes, Dayle; Laudan, Rachel (September 2008). Food and Nutrition / Editorial Advisers, Dayle Hayes, Rachel Laudan. Marshall Cavendish. p. 1058. ISBN 978-0-7614-7827-0. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  15. ^ Kushi, Michio; Blauer, Stephen (2004-03-08). The macrobiotic way: the complete macrobiotic lifestyle book. Penguin. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-58333-180-4. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 

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