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Benefits of Becoming a Semi-Vegetarian

Updated on January 17, 2018
Cattle Take A Lot of Resources
Cattle Take A Lot of Resources | Source

Saying you are a semi-vegetarian is a bit ironic; since you are either a vegetarian or you are not. While the “formal” definition of a semi-vegetarian is someone who eats fish and/or chicken but not beef, there are different degrees of semi-vegetarianism. Semi-vegetarianism may provide you with a realistic way to improve your health, the planet and the lives of animals, while enjoying the occasional seasoned chicken breast.

Being a semi-vegetarian in many ways can be compared to driving a car. The best way to stop the emissions of CO2 is to not drive at all and get everywhere on foot, bike or public transport – aka vegan or vegetarianism. However, by reducing the amount you drive and walking/biking for short trips, and reducing the amount you drive, you can still significantly reduce the CO2 emissions you are contributing to the atmosphere – aka semi-vegetarianism. For many people, this may be a more realistic option.

Look at all the Delicious Food You Can Eat
Look at all the Delicious Food You Can Eat | Source
Photo courtesy of:
Photo courtesy of:

How to Become a Semi-Vegetarian

The first step is to reduce your meat consumption. You can do this in several ways. Let’s use lasagne as an example:

  • You could make vegetarian lasagne
  • You could reduce the amount of meat you use in the lasagne and replace it with beans or lentils
  • You could replace the beef with chicken (since chicken takes fewer resources to produce than beef)
  • You could use the usual amount of meat and eat lasagne less often
  • It's even possible in Germany, the land famous for their sausages. My favorite vegetarian dish in Germany is Kaese Spaetzle (German Mac and Cheese).

In your daily life, when you’re not eating lasagne, becoming a semi-vegetarian offers a multitude of options:

  • Only include meat at one meal a day
  • Use less meat in your cooking that you normally would
  • Only meat one or two days a week
  • Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth in cooking
  • Avoid beef which is resource intensive to produce

Being a semi-vegetarian plays an important role when you're travelling as well. For example, rainforests in many countries are being chopped or burned down to make room for cattle. As a result, lemurs in Madagascar are among the top 25 most endangered primates in the world. By eating less beef, or chicken instead, you can have a positive impact on lemur conservation.

The same applies to many species when you travel.

The options are as endless as your imagination and commitment to becoming a semi-vegetarian

Health Benefits of Being a Vegetarian

Heath Benefits of Becoming a Semi-Vegetarian

The health benefits of people who consume a plant based diet and eat less meat are widely known and include: a lower risk of cancer by as much as 20 – 50% and heart disease by over 20%. People consuming primarily a plant-based diet may also: have lower cholesterol levels, improve their blood sugar control and have lower rates of obesity. Source: Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diets. A vegetarian may see even further benefits than a semi-vegetarian, but there is no doubt that a plant based diet will lead to health benefits that can be experienced even if you are still consuming small quantities of meat.

Broiler Chickens in a Typical Factory Farm
Broiler Chickens in a Typical Factory Farm | Source

Environmental Benefits of Becoming a Semi-Vegetarian

The environmental benefits of vegetarianism/semi-vegetarianism are lesser known but poignantly clear:

Farmed animals produce 18% more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s entire transportation system, which includes all trucks, boats, planes, etc. which is responsible for 13.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

If you’ve ever driven by a farm and held your nose because of the smell, you’re not imagining things. Methane from cows and sheep accounts for 37% of all methane produced by humans. In case this is not clear, cow and sheep gas not only smells bad, it’s bad for the environment.

64% of all human produced ammonia is produced by raising farmed animals and ammonia is responsible for acid rain. It appears that as individuals inadvertently may be larger contributors to acid rain than some large companies.

Raising farmed animals also requires more resources than growing crops does. Raising livestock accounts for 8% of our global water consumption, which is a lot when many regions are experiencing unprecedented droughts. A third of all suitable land for growing crops is used to grow crops to feed livestock, when that land could be used for crops to feed ourselves directly, which takes 50% less land, than it does to raise crops for livestock. Sadly, 70% of rain forest deforestation in Central and South America is due to raising cattle, which require a lot of room. Source: National Vegetarian Week.

Now that you are perhaps feeling a little depressed, the good news is that by becoming a semi-vegetarian, or even a vegetarian, you can help bring change and alleviate some of the causes that are destroying our planet.

Free Range Chickens
Free Range Chickens | Source

Benefits to the Animals of Becoming a Semi-Vegetarian

By becoming a semi-vegetarian you will also be helping some animals, since you’ll be eating less of them, but of course some animals will still end up on your dinner plate. The average person will eat 880 chickens in their lifetime (Source: How Much Food Will You Eat in Your Lifetime? That’s a lot of chickens. So if you reduced your chicken consumption in half, you would be saving 440 chickens. Unfortunately, you would still be responsible for the demise of 440 chickens. If you are OK with this, then you can still help those animals have a better life before their eventual fate of ending up on your dinner plate. Many slaughter houses have inhumane conditions. I.e. 70% of pigs raised in the U.K. are raised in tight quarters and will never have the chance to go outside. Source: Vegetarian Society: Pigs Information Sheet. The same is true for many chickens of which 62% of all eggs bought in the U.K. come from caged hens (Source: Vegetarian Society: Laying Hens) By buying free range, ideally from a farmer’s market where you ask the farmer about how the animals are raised, you can ensure the animals you are eating were treated humanely. You can also buy organic to ensure that animals weren’t pumped with steroids or antibiotics which is better for both your health and the animal’s health.

Becoming a Semi-Vegetarian

Becoming a semi-vegetarian, and keeping in mind that you are not really a vegetarian – at least to true vegetarians, is surprisingly easy.  There are so many tasty substitutes such as beans and lentils and vegetarian cookbooks abound so coming up with vegetarian recipes and saving 440 chickens is actually quite easy.  Now go enjoy a bowl of savoury butternut squash soup (made with vegetable broth of course)!


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    • profile image

      julie 9 months ago

      i tried to be full vegeterian but my mind became really ill i am semi vegeterian i eat only fish ' chicken

    • Jennifer Madison profile image

      Jennifer Madison 5 years ago from Lohmar

      very informative hub! and I liked the idea of motivating people to become semi-vegetarians since it is very hard for some people to say no to all animal products. I am a Pescetarian actually, I don't eat meat but I eat fish. However, I was thinking about leaving the fish as well due to the problem of overfishing. I also motivated my fiancé to eat less meat and we feel much stronger and healthier!

    • profile image

      Elizabeth 5 years ago

      Interesting comments and a good post on semi vegetarianism. I heard about a new vegetarian lifestyle course that can help people to become a semi vegetarian called Vegetarian's Beginner's Guide 30 Day Course.

      Has anyone else heard about it yet?

    • chamilj profile image

      chamilj 6 years ago from Sri Lanka

      Informative hub I linked your hub to my Vegetarian Life Hub.

    • profile image

      Andrea 7 years ago

      Great article on semi vegetarianism. I learnt how to become a vegetarian through a vegetarian newsletter called Vegetarian Newbie which is great for new vegetarians like me.

    • profile image

      Theresa M 7 years ago

      Well said, Keli?

      I was recently told I have a fatty liver. ICK? I also have to lose a significant amount of weight (80 lbs). Reading this article of how we should eat had encouraged me. I need to eat my foods I have a tendency to overindulge in, in moderation. I dont need all this meat each and every day...I can handle once a week for my favorite meat or something. Same with sweets. I have high cholesterol so once a week will greatly benefit me instead of every night...along with my weight. Thanks for a great article.

    • profile image

      Keli 7 years ago

      True vegetarian,'s about being true to yourself and your beliefs. Keep in mind that "Vegetarians are not better than semi-vegetarians." Their belief system is just different.

    • profile image

      Debra 7 years ago

      What a well written article !

      I am actually a vegetarian newbie, i was considering to start a semi vegetarian diet. As i am always busy i was always searching for great information on this subject on the internet.

      I came across this great website called Vegetarian Newbie and i joined their free newsletter and got a free report on how to start the vegetarian lifestyle. I recommend it to anyone who wants to get started .

    • profile image

      cgpodetz 7 years ago

      Thanks for all the great info in this one!

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 7 years ago from India

      any way beef is beef and chicken is chicken!! for example no chicken curry or fry can be compared to chilly beef. thanks for sharing useful information

    • LRobbins profile image

      Laurel 8 years ago from Germany

      Thanks everyone for your comments. It's nice to know that other people are interested in saving the planet and improving their health and feeling better. Sage, thanks for mentioning the juicing, this is a wonderful way to get fruits and veggies in.

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 8 years ago

      I think I found where I finally fit in. I have changed my diet and am eating much healthier these days. I do a lot of juicing with vegetables and fruit. I eat lots of salads and I am pretty much down to eating chicken and fish when I choose to eat meat.

      So I guess by the standards of your hub. I think I have finally found where I am at.

      Great job, I really, really enjoyed your hub.


    • susansisk profile image

      susansisk 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Very good hub. I have been a semi-vegetarian for years. I don't eat red meat, pork, or chicken. I eat only vegetarian 98% of the time, but occasionally I eat shrimp or fish. Mainly at a restaurant.

    • scarlton profile image

      scarlton 8 years ago from Boonville, NC

      I am not a vegetarian, yet have friends who are. Thanks for the useful information!

    • rprcarz50 profile image

      rprcarz50 8 years ago

      Very good information ! I'm also all for green and saving the planet. Also healthy eating and lifestyle becomes more important every year we age .

      Thank you so much for this Hub!


      As Always Also a2z50