Flexitarian Commenters Set Me Straight on Meat (Or Lack Thereof)

A few readers' suggestions on how to be a better flexitarian.

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On Wednesday, I wrote about an article in Audubon Magazine which revealed that, to halt climate change, we needed to eat about a quarter of the amount of meat we currently consume each day. A flexitarian diet, as we've all heard before, is better for our planet and our waistlines, but the term "flexitarian" is so all-encompassing that anything goes, really. Now climate-change flexitarians have something to aim for - no more than 3.1 ounces of meat per day, no more than half of that being red meat.

But many of the commenters, both here and on other sites that linked to the post (thanks, Lifehacker and Serious Eats), disagreed with my wording, and approach. If someone wants to cut back on meat, rather than thinking about maintaining a certain day's quota, it's better to go vegetarian for breakfast and lunch, or breakfast and dinner, or only eat meat when you're at restaurants or with friends. Then, after a few vegetarian meals, you're free to indulge in that burger, or juicy piece of chicken. Creating boundaries, rather than measuring portions, is the way to go, I'm told.

Here's their advice:

"I think the approach shown in this blog entry is not the most ideal. Rather than include a minimal amount of meat in your daily dinner, one should consider just eating meat once or twice a week. In fact, I would say most flexitarians I know do it this way instead of the method prescribed here. Personally, I have decided to only eat meat when it's prepared for me (ie. eating at someone's home) or when I'm eating family style at a restaurant. I've purchased meat to cook at home twice in the past year, and only meat that is ethically grown." -- Former Meat-Lover, CA

"Let's turn the discussion around to emphasize eating more plant-based foods we already know and love - that people should order black bean soup, veg chili, or pasta primavera more often, get falafel or a bean burrito instead of a hamburger, maybe pack a PB&J for lunch. It's so much more fun and motivating to talk about eating more of things we like instead of cutting back." -- Bernard Brown, of the PB&J Campaign

"That amount of meat would just make me want more." -- LastandLeast, via Lifehacker

"My loyalty lies with both. I rarely eat meat at home, and since I bring my lunch to work 75% of the time, I really only eat meat when I eat dinners out. I don't restrict myself when out, and I LOVE a good burger. But with this system, I really only eat meat maybe 2x a week. Easy!" -- mh330, via Serious Eats

Noted, and thanks for the suggestions. Do you have any advice for someone who wants to eat less meat? Or is there a better way to minimize your impact that these readers haven't yet mentioned? Let us know in the comments, below.


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