A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet is one that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat. In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year's most useful word.
Difference between similar terms and diets
Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from consuming meat. Along with the term flexitarian, which was listed in the mainstream Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in 2012, other neologisms for semi-vegetarianism are reducetarianism and lessetarianism.
Common reasons for adopting a semi-vegetarian diet may be ethical issues relating to animal welfare (including health) or animal rights, the environment (see environmental vegetarianism) or reducing resource use (see economic vegetarianism), which are also arguments in favor of adopting a fully vegetarian diet. While semi-vegetarians may view the meat or animal products as occasional indulgences, staunch vegetarians may resent the term or view it as cheating or as a moral lapse. In contrast, many proponents of veganism embrace semi-vegetarianism as a way to get a broader section of the general public to act on arguments for veganism, with the consequence that more animal suffering and environmental devastation will be prevented than if the public views meat-reduction as all-or-nothing.
A ranking by U.S. News & World Report, involving a panel of experts, evaluated 32 popular diets based on several variables including health, weight loss, and ease of following. In the 2014 list, the semi-vegetarian diet came in sixth place, ahead of both the vegan and vegetarian diets. Specific semi-vegetarian diets include:
- Pollotarian: someone who eats chicken or other poultry, but not meat from mammals, often for environmental, health or food justice reasons.
- Pescetarian: someone who eats fish or other seafood, but not poultry or meat from mammals.
- Pollo-pescetarian: someone who eats both poultry and fish/seafood, though no meat from mammals.
- Macrobiotic diet: plant-based, and may include occasional fish or other seafood.
Another term, not as commonly used, is meat minimalist, where one keeps their meat consumption to a minimum.
In the United Kingdom veganism, vegetarianism and flexitarianism are all increasing. Major food retailers are increasing their stocks of vegan and vegetarian products to cater for increased demand.
In Canada, a study from Dalhousie University, led by Sylvain Charlebois, suggested in 2018 that 10.2 percent of adult Canadians considered themselves to be flexitarians. Of that group, 42 percent were Boomers.
Comparison of vegan, vegetarian, and semi-vegetarian diets
|Name||Livestock||Poultry||Seafood||Dairy||Eggs||Honey||Root vegetables||Fruits, nuts, seeds|
|Greek Orthodox fasting||No||No||Sometimes||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
- Entomophagy, consuming insects, which is another environmental approach for obtaining food
- Ethical eating
- Ethical omnivorism
- Ethics of eating meat
- Food and drink prohibitions
- Meatless Monday
- Meat tax
- Sustainable diet
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There are many forms of vegetarian diet from the semi-vegetarian (consumes meat infrequently)...
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semi-vegetarian: mostly follows a vegetarian diet but eats meat, poultry and fish occasionally
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