Flexitarian1The arrival of a New Year often brings an urge to better ourselves and our health, whether it’s cutting back on the booze, getting more exercise or looking at what we’re eating. So how about less meat, more veg?

The part time vegetarianism trend is set be bigger than ever in 2014 as more of us become conscious about what our diet is doing to our health, our future and even our environment. And forget the image of the limp lettuce leaf, going veggie can be tastier and more interesting than you think. Those who embrace vegetarianism part time are now called flexitarians.

Back in 2009, Sir Paul McCartney and daughters Stella and Mary launched Meat Free Mondays – an initiative which encourages people to enjoy at least one meat free day each week. Today, it has a massive following and lots of celebrity supporters such as Jamie Oliver, Sir Richard Branson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Fearne Cotton and Matt Lucas to name just a few. Pizza Express is also one of many restaurants and retailers who support the campaign, promoting their meat free pizza, pasta and salad dishes on Mondays.

And in the wake of the recent scare about horse DNA being found in meat products in supermarkets in the UK, some people might be thinking about whether they shouldn’t just give flesh the cold shoulder.

Waitrose has pin-pointed part time vegetarianism as a key food trend in 2014, noting that “we’re making vegetables the heroes of more and more meals… Scandinavian styles of preserving veg, with pickling juices and marinades, will ensure we don’t even notice the meat is missing”.

So what are the benefits? Well, health wise, it is said vegetarians have a long life expectancy than every day meat eaters (3.6 years) and less chance of developing many diseases including bowel cancer. Their blood pressure is often lower than carnivores as is their cholesterol levels and overall weight.