Flexitarians, come together... because a new wave of veganism has landed, and it might just be the most effective (and achievable) one yet.
Introducing 2022's latest buzzword, reducetarianism.
By no means revolutionary, but most certainly a do-better way of eating with the environment in mind, reducetarianism recognises that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to plant-based eating. And rather than asking you to completely eradicate meat and dairy (like its good friend, veganism), it simply asks you to reduce your intake.
What actually is a reducetarian?
The term 'reducetarian,' was first coined by the Reducetarian Foundation, and references an individual who eats less meat, dairy and eggs.
The rise of reducetarianism
According to ShelfNow, over one-third of British consumers are actively choosing to reduce their meat consumption.
Sure, this style of eating isn't brand-spanking-new. Eco-concious eaters have been around for decades. Whether they've chosen to label themselves as reducetarians or flexitarians is totally down to them, but they certainly have followed a lifestyle which aims to reduce consumption of animal products in a bid feel better and/or help the environment.
In Waitrose's Food & Drink Report for 2021-22, we're told that recent research by the organisation revealed that 82% of participants maintained a dramatic reduction in their animal product consumption six months after completing the one-month Veganuary challenge in 2021. The report even stated that sales for Waitrose's vegan brand, Plant Life, had seen a 21% increase YOY.
And that's not all, McDonald's McPlant Burger being made a permanent fixture on the fast food chain's menu is just another indicator of how many people are eating more plant-based.
What can you eat on a reducetarian diet?
It really is as easy as it sounds. In short, becoming a reducetarian simply means cutting down on meat, fish, eggs and dairy.
For some, this might mean taking part in Meatless Mondays, and trying to eat one vegan-friendly meal a day. But for others, it might mean eating meat-free for the entire working week. There's no right or wrong.
"When going plant-based there is no need to go full cold turkey. Instead, easing yourself into it, by incorporating a few dishes a week and swapping in some dairy alternatives is a great way to start. It will give yourself time to learn about all the different varieties of foods you can eat, without feeling like you’re depriving yourself of your favourites," says Nutritionist, Aly Findlay.
Like any semi-vegetarian diet, you pretty much have free reign over the sorts of plant-based foods you eat. Just make sure you're getting in the right amount of calories and nutrients your body needs.
Reducetarian vs Flexitarian
Although both classed as semi-vegetarian styles of eating and very similar in their ways, there is a difference between the two.
Being a flexitarian primarily involves eating plant-based (things like lentils, beans, peas, nuts and seeds), with the occasional inclusion of meat. While "reducetarians mindfully and gradually reduce their consumption of animal products with respect to their own diet."
Flo Cornish, Development Chef at allplants, says, "Flexitarianism is growing most significantly with people wanting to allow themselves the opportunity to experiment and try new things without having to declare themselves fully 'vegan.' So instead of going the whole hog, customers are swapping out one meal or adding a plant-based side."
What sort of reducetarian recipes are there?
When eating reduced amounts of meat, fish, dairy and eggs, you can opt for all sorts of great-tasting vegan-friendly recipes. From Mushroom 'Calamari' to Vegetable Cabbage Soup, and Tofu Katsu Curry to Lentil Salad, it's less about the recipes actually being reducetarian, and more about what you're eating in moderation.
Where can I find out more about reducetarianism?
Last year, founder of the Reducetarian Foundation, Brian Kateman, partnered with Riverdale actress, Madelaine Petsch, to create MEAT ME HALFWAY, a documentary focused at looking at reducetarianism. Through the lens of a reducetarian, the documentary explores what it means to eat less meat, dairy and eggs. And features multiple segments from experts in favour of plant-based eating.
You should always consult your GP before changing your diet in any way.