Follow Reena Bhansali’s journey of cutting down the amount of meat she eats. Choosing her love for animals over her love for meat products. Understand how she manages being a flexitarian and what drove her to make these choices.
Updated : 11 September 2018
Many people think of being vegetarian as a binary thing – either you are only vegetarian or non-vegetarian. But I fall somewhere in between. I am both. At home (in Los Angeles), I am vegetarian, however when I eat out, I am open to eating whatever I please. I know there are lots of people who can relate.
So, whats a flexitarian? It is basically having a balanced diet or simply not committing to being a full time vegetarian . Being partially plant-based, whilst occasionally enjoying some meals including meat or fish – “cheat meals”. In fact, it’s a much healthier way of living than a regular meat eater. The process is basically, starting off as a beginner – eating one non-vegetarian, and gradually achieving an expert level of consuming meat once in a while.
From an early age, I hated the idea that meat came from animals, but I loved the taste of it.
Despite being Jain, my parents gave me a choice of eating whatever I wanted at restaurants, so there started my big struggle. I liked meat, but I didn’t really want to eat it. Also there are HUGE health benefits of being a vegetarian. This lifestyle simply promotes a healthy eating habits, making better choices, taking better care for your body. It lowers risks, lowers BMIs, cholesterol and stronger heart.
My main hurdle was that I had already tasted most kinds of meat, I found it hard to resist. Vegetarian options at restaurants were too bland, and the meat options were just so delicious. It took me 10+ years of trying to be “full-on vegetarian,” before I decided to go at it in a better way. No quitting cold-turkey, just making realistic, small moves.
It changes from person to person, and mainly depends on your goals. For me, my goal is to eventually be completely vegetarian. I consider my “flexitarianism” to be temporary.
The idea was that eventually, I would stop craving meat as much and slowly reduce the amount of meat I eat. And it works!
In the beginning I would devour 3 meaty meals every cheat day. Bacon for breakfast, maybe a burger for lunch etc. Over time though, I only wanted 2 meat meals on my cheat days. And then it became only 1 meal. Sometimes it would only be a small snack.
Now, many years later, I’ve got to a place where I can do 1 meat day every 3 months and I feel great. No more meat cravings and I’m more creative and healthier with my vegetarian meals. Essentially I am in a comfortable place now, where I am vegetarian 90% of the time but if I have to eat meat for politeness sake or because I just feel like it – I can.
Initially traveling as a vegetarian was a struggle as well. I hated compromising or over planning while on holiday and it got easier to eat whatever was available (especially in Beijing), but platforms like Vegefied changed that. I saw recommendations of phenomenal restaurants with lots of vegetarian options and it gradually became easier for me to travel as a vegetarian too.
This works for me and my goals, but that’s the beauty of the flexitarian diet. It’s flexible!
You do you!
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