Veganism is great.
There is a multitude of compelling reasons to go vegan – animal rights, environment, health…just to name a few.
However, for many, the concept of going full-vegan seems ‘extreme’ or unachievable. Many give up on the idea before even trying it.
I have considered myself a ‘flexitarian’ for almost 3 years now – my preference is for vegetarian foods but when cooked for by others, eating out or just when I generally have an appetite for it I will allow myself to eat meat. This, for some people, may seem outrageous…”Isn’t this a blog about veganism?! She’s talking about eating MEAT!?” but that is exactly the issue…my belief is that there is a need for a happy inbetween; a diet that reduces the negative impact that the meat and dairy industry has on the world (read more about that here) but is not so restrictive that it deters omnivores, flexitarians, vegetarians from giving it a try.
*ENTER FLEX VEGAN*
I want to start by saying this is very much my own personal approach to my diet and lifestyle choices; developed by me for me only. As an associate nutritionist I have learnt throughout my 4 year degree and beyond a lot about what works for me and makes me feel my best self. My aim of sharing this approach is to inspire others to work out for themselves what works for them – this is so important as we are all built differently and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to diet!
So what is my personal approach?
Following on from my trial period of veganuary (which you can read about here), I felt so good that I decided to maintain my new approach to day-to-day eating indefinitely.
On weekdays I am mainly just cooking for myself so 90% of the time the meals I make are vegan. When I am visiting friends, boyfriend or family and they are cooking for me I will gladly eat the food they have to offer. I am in no way adverse to sharing my preference for meat-free alternatives, but as an individual feel comfortable eating animal and animal-derived products on some occasions.
How is this different to being an omnivore?
Well, it is and it isn’t. Yes, a happy side affect is that I feel fabulous following this approach to diet and lifestyle – I have plenty of energy, my skin is clearer, I’m super regular (possibly TMI, sorry) – however in the past I have found the same through eating a ‘clean’ diet which did include animal products. Chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt etc are good for the body and I wouldn’t suggest that they are not – these are foods I enjoy eating and only restrict my consumption of for the negative impacts the meat industry has on the environment and wellbeing of the animals involved. It is taking responsibility for my contribution to this that is my main motivator for the flex vegan approach (and I have recently found that others take a similar approach).
Anything else is a happy coincidence.