Why I Prefer a Flexitarian Approach Over Vegetarianism for Lent

- Leann Dsouza


As the season of Lent approaches, many individuals contemplate dietary changes as part of their spiritual practice. While some opt for strict vegetarianism, others, like myself, find that a flexitarian approach better aligns with both our religious observance and personal values. In this article, I will explore why I believe flexitarianism offers a more sustainable and holistic approach to Lenten dietary practices.

1. Flexibility:

The essence of flexitarianism lies in its flexibility. Rather than adhering strictly to a vegetarian diet, flexitarians have the freedom to include meat in their meals occasionally. This flexibility allows for a more balanced approach, especially during social gatherings or when dining out with friends and family during Lent.

2. Personal Health:

For some individuals, especially those with specific dietary needs or health concerns, a vegetarian diet may not be the most suitable option. Flexitarianism offers the opportunity to tailor one's meals according to individual health requirements, ensuring adequate nutrition while still honoring the Lenten tradition of moderation and self-discipline.

3. Environmental Impact:

While reducing meat consumption is often associated with environmental benefits, the complete elimination of meat from one's diet may not always be practical or feasible. Flexitarianism promotes mindful meat consumption, encouraging individuals to choose sustainably sourced and ethically raised meat options when they do include meat in their meals. This approach can have a positive impact on both personal health and the environment.

4. Social Considerations:

One of the challenges of following a strict vegetarian diet during Lent is navigating social situations where meat dishes are traditionally served. Being a flexitarian allows individuals to participate in communal meals without feeling isolated or burdened by dietary restrictions. It fosters inclusivity and enables individuals to focus on the spiritual aspects of Lent rather than the limitations of their diet.

5. Culinary Exploration:

Flexitarianism encourages culinary exploration and creativity by incorporating a diverse range of plant-based foods and meat alternatives into one's diet. This approach can lead to the discovery of new flavors, recipes, and cooking techniques, enhancing the overall dining experience during Lent and beyond.


While vegetarianism has its merits, I believe that a flexitarian approach offers a more practical and sustainable alternative for observing Lent. By embracing flexibility, prioritizing personal health, considering environmental impact, navigating social situations with ease, and fostering culinary exploration, flexitarians can fully embody the spirit of Lent while maintaining a balanced and fulfilling diet. As we embark on this journey of reflection and self-discipline, let us remember that the path we choose should not only nourish our bodies but also nourish our souls.