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Nutrition: Flexitarian Diet Benefits Essay


Imagine living your life squeezed into an excrement-filled cage, with no sun or fresh air, listening to your neighbors regularly being hauled away to die. Yes, you are in an industrial farm. Your Thanksgiving turkey was just one of the millions of creatures, capable of both pain and affection, that suffer and die to feed us. Today I will demonstrate why adopting a flexetarian diet is good for the animals, the environment, and your health, and suggest how you can become a flexetarian.

Main Points

  1. What do we mean by flexetarianism?
    1. Flexetarians consciously choose to substitute plant-based foods for animal-based proteins from time to
    2. This means that they mainly use grains, beans, and high protein vegetables for protein, but include meat
      in small amounts.
    3. This differs from strict vegetarianism and veganism, which exclude meat entirely.
  2. People avoid meat for many reasons, but I will address those I find most relevant.
    1. Some worry about animal cruelty.
      • Consider these images of industrial farming,
      • As you see, millions of animals suffer lives and deaths that are unnecessarily painful.
    2. Aside from avoidance of animal cruelty, people also adopt flexetarian diets for environmental
      • The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that chemical and animal waste runoff from
        factory farms pollutes more than 173,000 miles of rivers and streams.
      • The livestock industry also uses up vast amounts of water. Although estimates vary, a pound of
        beef requires many times the amount of water needed to produce a pound of grain.
      • David Pimentel, a Cornell ecologist, asserts that the grain we feed to our meat animals could
        sustain 800 million people, offsetting famine.
      • Giant factory farms also release greenhouse gasses, particularly Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and
        Methane. These contribute to global climate change.
      • University of Chicago researchers estimate that a vegan diet can prevent 1.5
        tons of CO2 emissions annually.
    3. Another reason to become flexetarian is for better health.
      • Plant foods usually contain lots of fiber, lots of important vitamins, and minerals, with little
      • Missing nutrients, chiefly B12, essential to the nervous system, are replaceable via vitamin
      • Individual plant based foods also contain incomplete proteins, but these can be enhanced by
        combining legumes and grains.
      • Our flexetarian food pyramid has low-fat, low-calorie, foods like grains, beans and vegetables
        at the broad base. These should make up 90% of our diet.
    4. Calorie-dense foods like meat and dairy occupy the tiny top of the pyramid in small quantities.
      • This is because, according to researchers, an estimated 70 percent of all illnesses, including
        one-third of all cancers, are diet-related.
      • A flexetarian diet, lower in fats, can help reduce risks for many diseases.
  3. Now, if you are convinced, how can you become flexetarian?
    1. Most importantly, your expectation of what makes a meal must change.
      • Instead of meat at the center of your plate, consider tasty combinations like tortillas and beans, and
        other tasty animal food substitutes.
      • Use meat for flavor, not as your main protein source.
    2. If you are worried about assembling tasty and sustaining meals, there are books, websites, and restaurants to
      help flexetarian ‘newbies’.
      1. Check out “Vegetarian Times”.
      2. Get a cookbook or look online.
    3. If you are not much of a cook, try some vegetarian restaurants.
      1. There are hundreds in NYC, many of them here in Manhattan.
      2. Try searching Google for “vegetarian restaurants in NYC”, and check yelp.com for ratings.


I know how challenging it is to cut meat out of even one meal! This is a lifetime process. However, a flexetarian diet allows you to reach your goal in manageable steps. I hope that the next time you choose a meal, you will recall the animals mistreated in industrial farms, the impact of your choice on global climate change and water quality, and the risks to your own health.


Cornell Chronicle. “U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists.” 1997. Cornell Chronicle. Web.

Cruelty-free.org. “Animals, Environment, and Climate.” 2014. Cruelty-free.org. Web.

Environmental Protection Agency. “What’s the problem?” 2014. Environmental Protection Agency. Web.

“Estimation of the water requirement for beef production in the United States.” Journal of Animal Science 71 (1993): 818-826. Web.

“Farm to Fridge – The Truth Behind Meat Production.” 3 February 2011. YouTube. Web.

foregoingdiva7507. “” 2014. Scribd.com. Web.

Green America. “” 2014. Green America. Web.

Nelson, Jennifer K. and Katherine Zeratsky. “Should you be a flexitarian?” 22 February 2011. Healthy Living. Mayo Clinic. Web.

SodaHeads. “Global Warming Fart.” 2014. SodaHeads. Web.

Vegetarian Times. 2014. Web.

WebMD. “.” 2014. WebMD. Web.

Xoxotara files. “” 2010. Web.

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IvyPanda. "Nutrition: Flexitarian Diet Benefits." March 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nutrition-flexitarian-diet-benefits/.


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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Nutrition: Flexitarian Diet Benefits'. 23 March.

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