All Types of Vegetarians – A Guide
Those who don't consume meat are commonly referred to as “vegetarians.” If you dig deeper into the history of vegetarianism and current dietary practices, you'll discover that there are many different sorts of vegetarians, each with its own set of restrictions about which animals and animal products (if any) are allowed on their plates. To say the least, it isn't easy, but each version of a plant-inclusive diet has its own set of health and environmental benefits. In reality, practically every continent has a unique relationship with eating a plant-based diet.
What Is A Vegetarian?
Though there are innumerable varieties of vegetarianism, all of them fall under this general definition: A vegetarian does not eat meat, fish, or poultry. (Note: this does not necessarily include seafood.) Vegetarianism is much more of a lifestyle than religion since meat is allowed, but vegetables aren't. Some vegetarians allow eggs and dairy products in their diet as well. Those who do not consume meat but do not consume a well-rounded diet. Others believe the complete removal of all animal products from one's diet is the only way to attain a perfect, omnivorous, and balanced nutritional plan.
To better understand this whole concept, it's important to understand what “vegetarian” really means. To make the “definitive” definition clear, let's put an umbrella term on the topic. Here, “vegetarian” stands for those who don't consume, consume, or support meat-eating. By that definition, we can safely say that we all have a vegetarian status. For many vegetarians, the daily discussion regarding how, when, and with whom to engage in meat consumption is personal, if not nearly impossible.
Benefits Of Being A Vegetarian
It's easy to get caught up in the typical vegetarian diet – the bacon, eggs, and butter are off the table. Sure, there are tons of amazing vegetarian protein sources out there, but eating more plant-based foods can actually benefit your body. The benefits of vegetarianism aren't limited to weight loss. Along with healthy eating, practicing a plant-based diet can increase energy levels and produce positive changes to your digestive and digestive systems. Put: if you've struggled with stomach issues for a while, you might be on the road to a healthier diet and a healthier lifestyle.
The benefits of being a vegetarian are as varied as the diet itself. Of course, some of the basic health benefits of following a plant-based diet include a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Aerobic exercise is easier because meat does not support an anaerobic lifestyle. Eating meat puts a huge amount of stress on the environment,
Cancer patients often prescribe nutrition that promotes weight loss (I don't know if anyone is prepared to lose 25 percent of their body weight after receiving lifesaving cancer treatment). Does the diet mean vegetarians need to go completely “off the grid”? Of course not. There are plenty of resources to help you transition from an omnivorous diet to a more plant-based one. For example, you can start by learning how to cook with non-meat.
Types Of Vegetarians
Chronic vegetarian: Generally defined as eating no meat or fish regularly. There are several different varieties of chronic vegetarians, all of whom likely engage in certain types of vegetarianism at different times of the year. Some may consume meat and other animal products at certain times of the year, while others are strictly vegan (never consume an animal product in their diet).
If you're interested in increasing your longevity, staying lean, improving your gut health, or minimizing your exposure to environmental pollutants, you should consider becoming a chronic vegetarian. However, simply trying vegetarianism isn't enough. You must carefully analyze your eating habits and ensure you're maintaining a healthy relationship with food and your body.
The traditional vegan diet is very restrictive and includes only plant foods and so-called vegan products, including alcohol. However, there are many different vegetarian diets out there, each with its own “what's in” list and individual characteristics. Not all vegetarians are vegan, so you don't need to stop eating all animal products on a vegetarian diet.
On the flip side, not all vegan diets are vegetarian, either. What is the vegetarian diet? The traditional vegetarian diet focuses primarily on eliminating meat, eggs, dairy, and all animal products. Vegans (who also eliminate poultry and seafood) sometimes take this further but focus on plant-based foods. Traditional vegetarians keep the focus on dairy and eggs.
Before we start dishing on what constitutes a flexitarian diet, let's start with a brief history lesson: Originally, the word “flexitarian” referred to a mostly plant-based diet, but that allows the occasional meat meal to be consumed. Today, the word describes a person who eats meat occasionally or doesn't eat a completely plant-based diet.
Flexitarianism is the diet taken up by “flexitarians.” People who follow this regimen have vowed to take only plant-based meals in the future, but not to eliminate meat and animal products from their lives entirely. Sometimes this means that a flexitarian might have a chicken dish once in a while or a piece of fish. Most flexitarians choose to refrain from eating red meat.
Over the last decade, certain commonalities have emerged among vegetarians from all walks of life. The most prominent vegetarians are called “flexitarians,” who are vegan when they are not participating in lacto-vegetarian diets. A “flexitarian” differs from a “vegan” because they may occasionally consume eggs and dairy products.
The lacto-ovo-vegetarian is a vegetarian who allows dairy products in moderation, like cheese and cream. Some vegetarians eat dairy products even when they're not lacto-ovo-vegetarian (or vegetarians who eat dairy and meat). They go by the label “compassionate carnivore.” Compassionate vegetarians usually consume dairy, but they consume more dairy and less meat because they don't eat meat, perhaps as a substitute for the dairy they do eat.
It's easier for them to adopt a vegan diet than to adopt a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which is the same as a vegetarian diet but allows dairy products. Those lacto-ovo vegetarians (a.k.a. “liquid vegans”) are lacto-ovo vegetarians that consume dairy products in moderation. Those who are ovo-lacto vegetarians (a.k.a. “beef eaters”) are strict vegetarians that don't eat meat at all.
Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy. These individuals typically consume dairy products but rarely meat. Interestingly, researchers have discovered that lacto-vegetarians' diets contain more beta carotene (the pigment that gives carrots and sweet potatoes their vibrant colours) and vitamin C. They are strict vegans who allow lacto-dairy products. This means that they often avoid products made with casein, like dairy cheese and non-dairy yogurts. Vegans who keep some dairy products in their diet are termed lacto-vegetarians who eat dairy “as a treat.”
In my opinion, lacto-vegetarians are the most common type of vegetarian. They eat fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Examples of lacto-vegetarians are vegans, vegetarians who eat eggs or dairy, the paleo diet, and many hippie-dippie meals. One of the easiest examples of a lacto-vegetarian meal would be a simple cheese sandwich. You may or may not prefer a dairy-free, cheese-filled meal to a meaty, hearty sandwich.
Ovo-vegetarians are the most common type of vegetarian. According to Google, almost 78 percent of the U.S. population eats meatless meals at least occasionally. However, if you type the term “vegetarian” into an online search, you'll find more than just shellfish, tofu, and tempeh. The Ovo-vegetarian diet involves eating eggs and dairy products and fruits and vegetables or even some meat. Some even eat some seafood, although a large majority don't. It's a loose interpretation of vegetarianism and requires a significantly different way of thinking than its restrictive brethren.
The most common vegetarian variation is known as “ovo-vegetarians.” Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs, milk, cheese, and other animal products in moderation and don't limit themselves to plant-based foods. Ovo-vegetarians typically have smaller, healthier appetites. They're often given the nickname “the ‘perfectly healthy' vegetarian.”
They generally avoid consuming red meat, which is said to be particularly harmful to heart health. Along with their omnivorous counterparts, ovo-vegetarians benefit the most from eating a healthy diet, especially one with plenty of protein. Interestingly, ovo-vegetarians are also more prone to acquiring gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS, cramps, bloating, gas, and constipation. They usually experience these problems in the form of bloating.
A vegan diet is a dietary choice that eliminates all animal products, including but not limited to meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Although this is one of the most well-known versions of vegetarianism, vegans are just as diverse and not as easy to classify as vegans. Most vegans do not buy animal products or slaughter animals in any way, nor are they involved in the slaughtering or killing animals for any purpose. Most vegans consume whole foods, a plant-based diet and may go as far as having no animal products whatsoever. Still, others are just fine with eating a little cheese now and then, consuming eggs in moderation, or using dairy products if they replace butter and cream in recipes.
Everyone's heard about the raw vegan diet—the dairy and meat-free, antibiotic-free life where people completely remove all kinds of animal products from their diet. Veganism and vegetarianism are very similar in many ways—both require eating no animal products, avoiding or limiting consumption of animal products, and an overall rejection of animal cruelty. The only difference is one acknowledges that animals are intelligent beings who have emotions and deserve basic rights. They do not, however, impose this “sentience” on humans.
Those who are vegan eat no animal products, including dairy, eggs, and meat, but also refrain from using products, such as soy, in favour of foods from sources other than animals. For the most part, the biggest health benefits of raw veganism can be linked to deficiencies in certain micronutrients. For example, iron deficiency (iron is found in red meat) can be a problem for vegans.
Other challenges of consuming a raw vegan diet, too, such as the lack of vitamins C, D, and E. Raw vegetarians don't consume any animal products. Still, the process for getting to this point is highly scientific and varies from diet to diet. Raw vegans consume the most nutrient-dense and nutrient-poor foods.
People who've committed to a plant-based diet do not consume any food with a heartbeat, as a rule. The terms vegan and raw vegan are typically used interchangeably, though vegan refers to food with a heartbeat (a liver, a gut, a mucus membrane or a red blood cell), while raw vegans consume everything in their diet plant or not. Raw vegan: The standard vegans just don't eat any animal products at all. These people consume eggs and dairy products, but not all, or only certain kinds. Most raw vegans eat meat and seafood in addition to the fruits and veggies they usually eat.
Yes, there are still vegans who choose to eat raw foods. As you may have guessed, this is often the route of choice for those who adhere to a strict vegan lifestyle. In general, a raw vegan diet is often synonymous with veganism and is largely self-imposed. You won't find any questionable tofu, at least not outside of Whole Foods. While, yes, a raw vegan diet is (usually) a healthier and more nutritious alternative to a traditional meat-and-dairy-based diet, it's still something most people may find challenging.
If there's anything to take away from this article, people tend to develop an eating style that suits them best. Following a diet that fits their lifestyle is best, while for others, it may be more satisfying to stick with their eating style no matter what. As long as you stay true to your dietary goals, whatever your style maybe, you'll be doing what's best for your body, your health, and the environment. So, eat as you mean it. Cheers to a plant-based future!
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