Flexitarian (noun): a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.
Because I’m a yoga teacher and work at a yoga studio, everyone always assumes that I’m vegetarian or vegan. And I am–kind of. I often refer to myself as an “aspiring vegetarian,” or a “flexitarian,” meaning that I eat vegetarian as much as possible, but that there are times when I eat meat (although I’ll still only eat chicken, turkey, or fish, and am very picky about where that meat came from).
I kind of hate admitting this, and often feel like it makes me less of a yogi (I still believe wholeheartedly in ahimsa and lokah samastah!), but there are a number of reasons–reasons that I won’t go into here because they’d bore you–that eating a vegetarian diet 100% of the time is difficult for me. So, I do my best, try not to feel guilty about it, and try to accept where I am right now–because after all, isn’t that what yoga teaches us?
Many people judge flexitarians, saying that they want to “have their cake (er, meat?) and eat it too,” or that they can’t commit because they don’t have the willpower, or love bacon too much (not true in my case!), but I’m here to tell you that flexitarians are making a difference, and to me, that’s all that matters.
Choosing to eat less meat, even if you don’t cut it out completely, still has a positive impact on the environment and on reducing the demand for factory farming. Obviously, the more people who choose to eat less meat (even if it’s just by committing to “Meatless Mondays”), the bigger the impact. Think about it this way: even if every flexitarian is only half a vegetarian (and most are closer to 3/4 vegetarian!), every 2 flexitarians = 1 vegetarian. It’s a lot easier to cut out meat sometimes than it is all the time, so by beginning to think about reducing your intake, or at least being mindful about where your meat comes from, you can make a difference.
So, no matter what your stance on vegetarianism or veganism, I hope that as yogis, we can all just continue to do the best that we can to eat as healthfully and as mindfully as possible–and to not judge others for their choices when it comes to food–but instead, to love and respect one another, and each do our part to make the world a better place, one bite at a time.