Updated 04 September 2017

6 reasons to become a flexitarian

If you have ever had the desire to include more meat-free meals in your diet, this might just be the lifestyle you are looking for.


Since the mid-nineties the term flexitarian has been used to describe people who were vegetarians but occasionally would eat meat as well. The name is derived from the words "flexible" and "vegetarian".

The thought of committing to a strict meat-free diet can be very intimidating for many people who are interested in eating a more plant-based diet.

Dietician Dawn Jackson Blathner advocates the flexitarian lifestyle. She says that there are benefits to a plant-based diet that also periodically incorporates meat. She has created a rough guide to clarify what she feels would constitute a beginner flexitarian, advanced flexitarian and an expert flexitarian:

  • Beginner: two meatless days a week
  • Advanced: three or four meatless days a week
  • Expert: five meatless days a week

1. Having a number of meat-free days a week will assist in encouraging a more balanced diet. 

2. Choosing a more plant-based diet can help with weight-loss, if accompanied with regular exercise. 

3. When selecting a healthier diet it is easier to commit to being a flexitarian than committing to being a vegetarian as it allows you more flexibility, and the gradual change can be easier to incorporate and maintain in your lifestyle.

4. Being a flexitarian could help you save money. Meat and poultry can be very expensive.

5. When there is a mix of diets in one household, it allows for a more inclusive household. For a family with vegetarian individuals, it is easier to cook and eat meals together.

6. According to plant farming has less impact on the environment as livestock farming uses a lot more food, water, energy than plant farming.

     Image credit: iStock 

    This article is provided through a sponsorship from Pfizer in the interests of continuous medical education. Notwithstanding Pfizer's sponsorship of this publication, neither Pfizer nor its subsidiary or affiliated companies shall be liable for any damages, claims, liabilities, costs or obligations arising from the misuse of the information provided in this publication. Readers are advised to consult their health care practitioner for specific information on personal health matters as this is not the intention or purpose of the publication. Specific medical advice or recommendations on the clinical management of patients will not be provided by Pfizer. In this regard Pfizer does not support the use of products for off label indications, nor dosing which falls outside the approved label recommendations and readers must refer to the Package Insert of any product for full prescribing guidelines


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