There is something gut-wrenchingly familiar about that scene in Gavin and Stacey, when Pam is caught eating the ham, after telling Stacey’s family she is a vegetarian. If you haven’t seen it then watch it, trust me, you will thank me later. I would imagine we all share Pam’s feeling when we get that craving for grease at three am and know that no amount of tofu or Quorn nuggets (which are surprisingly delicious) will quite fill the gap. Insert flexitarianism.
Flexitarianism is vegetarianism’s slightly cooler and less reserved younger brother, and for those of us who want to be vegetarian but can’t resist 60 McNuggets after a night out, flexitarianism seems like the perfect diet. Recent studies from Mintel show that “ 28 percent of Brits are now following a reduced meat diet, while another suggested that one in three would now define themselves as flexitarian.
Cheaper, arguably healthier and overall better for the environment (with the agriculture and livestock industry said to create one third of greenhouse gases) eating a diet with less meat certainly has its benefits, but where is the fun in living life without the occasional treat?
A flexitarian’s life is described as “one whose normally meatless diet occasionally includes meat or fish”; as you can see, flexitarianism leaves room to satisfy the meaty cravings without the feelings of guilt that vegetarians and vegans bang on about. Uni life consists of enough stress as it is: going home to a crippling, never ending mountain of work; missing all your early morning (and afternoon) lectures because leaving the house is a lot of effort; and receiving fifty calls and voicemails (all from your ex) after they've been out that you really don’t want to return. I’d say getting a Texas BBQ rather than a Cheese and Tomato Domino's falls pretty low on the list of things to get stressed over. Save your mascara, we are students after all.
Some hangover shame is, of course, guaranteed after every night out (post-sesh anxiety is all too real). From the moment you wake up and you look to your left, realising you’re not alone in your bed, to the point at which you venture out of said bed to see that, for some reason, there is a road sign in the bathroom, leading you to believe that you are secretly living on the A34. With all this going on, why cry over the polystyrene box of cold kebab at the foot of your bed?
Life is too short to live in constant guilt and if Forrest Gump has taught us anything, it is to live every moment like it’s your last (or some bullshit about chocolate, who really knows?). So here goes to the slightly less anal vegetarians, who have their ‘last burger’ once a week. Remember that cutting your meat consumption down can lower your chances of getting cancer by at least 12 percent; so even if there are several ‘last burgers’, it’s a bloody good thing that they appear few and far between. In the past month, three major supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer) have all brought out their own, personalised vegetarian ranges, aiming to help move vegetables from our side plates to centre stage. This is going to make potential veggie and vegan lives a whole lot easier, as well as making the wait between meaty treats for flexitarians far more exciting.
So, if you want to do your bit for the environment, and you don’t have the willpower to say goodbye to the odd bacon sarnie, go flexitarian.
Cover image: @adam_k_i_n_g