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Flexitarianism

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."  I actually think the word is pretty absurd, and the definition even more absurd.  A vegetarian who occasionally eats meat -- isn't that an oxymoron?   This word is often used interchangeably with semi-vegetarian, another word that I think is sort of silly.   (Two more specific types of flexitarians are pollotarians who eat poultry, but not red meat, and pescetarians eat seafood, but not red meat or poultry.)  

That said, I think that the idea behind it is very smart.  K4G blogger Sarah did a post a few months ago about how reducing your meat intake also will reduce your carbon footprint.  One interesting point she wrote about was from the Environmental Defense Fund stating that if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be equivalent to taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads.  (source)

Lots of people aren't willing to take the plunge into veganism, or even vegetarianism.  But honestly, in order to make a difference, you don't even need to.  You can reduce your meat intake and just by doing that, you can make a substantial difference.

First, I recommend you visit the Meatless Monday site.   Its goal is to reduce meat consumption by 15%.  Even for those who love their beef, 15% is totally doable.  The website has some awesome recipes, too.  (Helloooo, sweet potato enchiladas!)  Flex your "flexitarian" muscle and forget about meat every Monday.

There's also a certain diet called "Vegan Before Dinnertime."  This includes eating no animal products for breakfast or lunch, and then you can go hog wild at night.  (Literally, if your carnivorous vice is something like pork chops.)  Meanwhile, it makes a big difference because 14 out of your 21 meals are free of meat, dairy, etc.   I think another reasonable way to do this is to just avoid animal products for two meals a day, not necessarily dinner.  Sometimes you just want an omelette for Sunday brunch!

Give it a shot.  Going green never has to be all-or-nothing.