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

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] purist vegetarians may strongly resent the term and view it as cheating or as a moral lapse.[11] Another difference is that people might adopt a vegetarian diet purely for religious reasons, as compared to health or environmental reasons. Other than flexitarian diets that may include any type of meat, semi-vegetarianism includes:

  • Pollotarians: They eat chicken or other poultry, but not meat from mammals, often for environmental, health or food justice reasons.[12][13]
  • Pescetarians: They eat fish or other seafood, but not poultry or red meat from mammals. The macrobiotic diet is plant-based, and may or may not include the occasional addition of fish or other seafood.[14]
  • Pollo-pescetarians: They eat fish and poultry, but not red meat from mammals.


Further reading

  • Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN (2009). The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-154957-8
  • Cultural Encyclopedia of Vegetarianism by Margaret Puskar-Pasewicz.ABC-CLIO(2010). ISBN 978-0-313-37556-9

External links

  • Why flexitarian?
  • Can You Be a Vegetarian and Still Eat Meat?
  • Staples of the British Diet, are on the Wane as 'Flexitarians' forgo Meat by Susie Mesure, The Independent, July 12, 2009

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