Thinking what on earth is freeganism/ flexitarianism? Another crazy term? We give you a low down on the down to earth eco-friendly relaxed lifestyle choice taking the world by storm.
Benefits of MORE VEG
Lower Palm Oil Intake
Lower Processed Food Intake
Lower Meat Intake
Lower Sugar Intake
Lower Dairy Intake
No strict lifestyle limits Lower Carbon footprint
You've probably never heard of the term freegan. You might have heard of flexitarian, a similar term, meaning flexible vegetarians.
Freeganism is essentially a flexibly eating vegan. I.E. Mostly will choose vegan dishes when cooking themselves, eating out and when possible. They will however eat animals products if those products will be wasted, if there is no choice or if the source is truly "ethical". At this point, I will diverge my own interpretation of freeganism, with that of dumpster diving. Although food waste in the direct form, is a huge issue that this diet addresses, I do not bin raid myself and don't advocate you do so either. But we can address our own food waste.
Freeganism is NOT a strict belief system. It's simply a route to eat YOUR OWN CHOICES to feel healthy, save money and reduce a range of environmental issues through your diet. I am a firm believer in holistic eating, and believe there is a place for most food items in balance. Finding your own balance, is YOUR decision.
Is eating more vegetables environmentally friendly?
Agriculture is a hugely destructive practice, that causes land degradation, deforestation, release of greenhouse gases, pollution as well as an array of health problems. Western society, with a wealth of food options certainly has a responsibility and an ease to eating an earth friendly diet. And eating a more plant based diet is certainly an important tool to lower your environmental footprint and improve your health.
Veganism is on the rise and many people find veganism is a great way to stay healthy and stay ethical. But it is also an "extreme" diet choice, that alone is not itself a perfect option for some. Transitioning into veganism can be tricky, and cold turkey doesn't always work. Freeganism is a great, soft introduction to veganism IF that is the path you choose.
I have found freeganism to be a more holistic, encompassing lifestyle choice, that is extremely easy to follow and importantly, to stick to. Freeganism is putting a term on a relaxed, healthy lifestyle choice that many people follow without even realising. In fact, most of the global population of the planet eats as a freegan. Extremely meat heavy diets are found in Australia, America and Europe- also where the highest rates of diet related diseases arise.
How I eat as a "freegan"...
There are no rules in my kind of freeganism. I eat 99% whole plant based foods. This means lots of legumes, beans, lentils, vegetables and fruit. The yummy, healthy, energy providing stuff. I don't eat a lot of processed foods, as they are often full of sugar, or palm oil. We also make a lot of our own meals, from scratch. The beauty of freeganism though, is nothing is banned essentially, so although I avoid meat almost entirely- I allow an occasional treat.
It is also incredibly important to eat with the seasons. Eating what is local and seasonal reduces both food miles and also potential producing carbon when growing out of season.
Food waste is a huge global concern. Reducing this waste as much as possible is as important as animal product ethics.
Therefore, I will eat meat if I know it will be wasted. I'll also eat meat if I know it's the only option. Or if I am travelling and it will cause cultural offense by refusing it. We buy some reduced meat in the supermarket. We don't eat beef- due to the enormous environmental footprint, and extremely heavy oily qualities of beef. Chicken has a lower carbon footprint, and is a lot leaner, so it's the choice meat when and if we consume meat.
We actively shop plastic & waste free as much as possible. Luckily, this means lots of vegetables and fruit- i.e. whole foods. We will buy reduced food wrapped in plastic, as this prevents the entire waste of the product.
We also shop with the seasons when we can. This reduces food miles, energy for production and storage.
We also utilise as much naturally and wildly growing fruit as possible. Blackberries, apples, plums and gooseberries are just a few fruits that are readily found in The UK, growing in the wild! Make use! I absolutely adore making chutney and jam, and utilising these FREE food resources is not a crazy hippy agenda, it just makes sense!
We don't eat meat replacements tofu or heavily specialised foods . This is just our personal choice. Myself and Lee don't enjoy tofu or "just like meat foods" and prefer the good honest and simple vegetable approach. Again, this is completely personal.
Being holistic is important. Specialised diets often focus on one negative impact. Being efficient and picking beneficial health and environmental impacts of diets is both fulfilling and a multifaceted approach to eating for the planet.
It might sound complicated, but really it's utilising the freedom of food availability in Western society, and "going with the flow" when the choice isn't available.
So what can you eat!?
Try switching out some of your regular meaty meals with some vegetable based meals. You don't need to make incredibly complicated swaps. Try making your own replacements from scratch too! It's very satifisying and reduces a lot of associated packaging!
Try switching out beef in your Spaghetti Bolognese with lentils.
Chickpeas are an amazing, filling and satisfying swap out.
A roasted butternut squash with all the usual roasted vegetables on a Sunday is an easy and delicious swap.
Making the best use of the entire meat is also a fantastic way to incorporate meat and reduce the impact.
Trying roasting a good quality free range locally produced and butchered chicken for your Sunday roast. Save any stock from the roasting process. Eat more veggies with your roast, than chicken. Spare chicken can go into sandwiches tomorrow or into a curry the next night. Then boil up the bones. This makes an extremely nutritious stock that can be frozen, or used as a delicious soup! This holistic approach can save you a lot of money and utilise one chicken for 10+ meals.
I have a lot of respect for those that choose and have the resources to go vegan. Veganism is not my personal choice. Maybe it will be your personal choice.
Lots of people have found going cold turkey comes naturally. For others, they find slowly transitioning easier. I know, for me, slowing eating less meat and dairy has been natural and gentle. Reducing over time really gives you opportunity to feel for new ingredients, new ways to cook! Freeganism is a very light, pressureless system of eating in a more conscious way.