Flexi.. What?

“A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into.” — George Orwell

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Foodies come in all shapes, sizes and tags!

As a vegan, I take great interest in what is going on in the world of food, and one word that has been popping up over the years is “Flexitarian”.

I’m certainly hoping that this word is going to be just a fad — a bit like the word yuppie. And for those too young to know what yuppie is, it was a word made popular in the ’80s. There are a couple of versions of what the letters stand for:

Young Urban Professional


Young Upwardly-mobile Professional.

Both were attributed to the young, ambitious professional working in the city. (The second one to me spells Yump, maybe too close to “chump” for it to stick???)

But I digress.

Getting back to ‘Flexitarian’. Before I explain the meaning, I thought I’d give you my version of the definitions of the different foodies that I have heard so far.

Carnivore — Only eats meat, reserved more for the animal kingdom, although there are people who do attempt to follow this much to the detriment of their health. We are not wired to be exclusively meat-eaters.

Omnivore — These people eat everything — red meat, white meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, MacD’s, KFC, the list goes on…

Flexitarian — Supposedly a flexitarian eats vegetarian or vegan meals interspersed with meat. The meals could be mostly meat meals with the occasional plant-based option or mainly plant-based with the odd bit of meat thrown in for good measure.

Pescetarian — A person whose “meat” choice is fish.

Polo-pescetarian — Add poultry to the fish, and you have a polo-pescetarian

Vegetarian — This is a bit of an odd one. A true vegetarian is pure plant-based; however, society has deemed that vegetarians may not eat meat of any kind, but can eat dairy products and eggs.

Plant-based — The true vegetarian, 100% plants. Differs from the vegan (below) as the food is typically chosen for health reasons.

Vegan — Does not eat anything that comes from an animal, bird or a sea creature. Vegans also believe that animals should not be used for any purpose be that food, clothing, experiments, entertainment or work.

Raw Foodie — A vegan or plant-based person who does not cook food — don’t dismiss this, I’ve eaten raw food, and it is delicious!! Some food may be heated up to 48°C.

The newest one I’ve heard is:

Sufficientarian — People who are perhaps a bit more pragmatic and believe in distributive justice. In other words, rather than being concerned with inequalities, they aim at making sure each of us has enough. Their aim regarding the ethics of avoiding animal products is not to be absolutely vegan, or maximally vegan, but to be sufficiently vegan. This means making as much effort that is feasible to reduce harm to animals for the sake of diet.

The word Flexitarian seems to have been overtaken with the word Reducetarian. These are people who are flexible in their choices but aim to reduce the amount of animal products they consume

That’s about it unless you can think of any I’ve left out. Let me know if you do.

To me, there are only four main ones — Omnivore, Vegetarian, Plant-based and Vegan — the rest are just trying to score points and look “trendy”. Let’s hope that the word Flexitarian will go into the same historical box as Yuppie! Actually, it’s quite a yuppie word!

And of those four, which one are you?

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Gold card carrying vegan NZ author. Passionate about all critters (including humans). Can be seen advocating for the animals or speaking at events.

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Fee O'Shea

Fee O'Shea

Gold card carrying vegan NZ author. Passionate about all critters (including humans). Can be seen advocating for the animals or speaking at events.

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