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Meat consumption presents numerous health, environmental and ethical concerns. A reduction in meat intake could be the key to living a more balanced life. If you are interested in living longer, healthier and more ethically, you may want to consider flexitarianism. 

 

Flexitarian is the combination of the words flexible and vegetarian. A flexitarian or semi-vegetarian diet consists of mostly plant-based, unprocessed foods with very little sugar and meat in extreme moderation. Because flexitarians do consume some meat and animal products, they are not considered to be part of the vegetarian spectrum. However, if you are considering adopting a fully vegetarian or vegan diet in the future, flexitarianism may be a great first step to ease your transition. If you are simply looking to eat healthier or reduce your meat consumption, flexitarianism may also be a great option. 

 

Countless studies have proven that meat consumption, especially red and processed meat consumption, is linked to serious health concerns like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even certain cancers. To add insult to injury, black Americans are already at an increased risk of these conditions. While the health disparities in the black community can be attributed to a multitude of factors, the benefits of reducing meat consumption cannot be ignored. Minimizing or reducing meat intake has been proven to decrease the risk of these same conditions. 

 

Meat consumption also fuels the meat production industry which is often harmful to the environment. For example, it can result in soil erosion due to overgrazing. Additionally, raising livestock requires copious amounts of water which could be used for more Earth-friendly, plant-based options.

 

The meat industry is also inhumane. While many argue that the mere act of meat consumption is unethical, there is significantly less ambiguity regarding the inhumane conditions that many animals endure while waiting for their eventual slaughter. They often live in close quarters with broken limbs, illnesses and filthy living conditions. Animal cruelty is the direct result of the forever increasing demand for meat and greater profit margins.  

 

If you are like me, attempting to reconcile these difficult truths with your lifestyle can be difficult. Like most people, I was raised with meat being the centerpiece of every meal. But due to the flexible nature of a semi-vegetarian diet, you can reap the benefits of reduced meat consumption without quitting cold turkey (haha, get it?).

Logan Ritter

Howard '23

Logan Ritter is a sophomore International Business major at Howard University. Logan enjoys discussing domestic and world news, practicing yoga, reading, and writing.
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