The Life-Altering Decision of a Non Vegetarian to Reduce Meat Consumption

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. 

Reena Bhansali

Reena Bhansali

Reena lives in Los Angeles, loves animals (dogs in particular) and is the founder of Hindi By Reena - an online Hindi education platform for kids. In addition to creating online Hindi courses, Hindi books and flashcards; she is also a Public Relations professional for startups around the world.

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.


My Story :


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.

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How does being a Flexitarian work?

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.

So, for the past 6 or so years -- I have been vegetarian, EXCEPT I give myself ONE cheat day every month. On this day, I can eat as much meat as I want. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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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