There are different ways people identify as a vegetarian and it’s been VERY confusing. If you ever had to choose a special meal on a plane you are presented with several options and the vegetarian options alone are plenty! Despite my choice to be a vegetarian for several years now, I am still referred to as a vegan by some or asked if I eat certain foods, like seafood. A vegetarian diet excludes all animals, and fish are animals. I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian – “lacto” comes from the Latin word for milk, and “ovo” for egg ; I do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products. Here is a list of the other various types of plant based diets.
- Lacto-Vegetarian – a type of vegetarian who does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products.
- Ovo-Vegetarian – describes people who do not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs. If you are lactose intolerant you may have to prescribe to this type of vegetarianism.
- Vegan – Vegans do not eat meat or fish of any kind and also do not eat eggs, dairy products, or processed foods containing these or other animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin. Many vegans also refrain from eating foods that are made using animal products that may not contain animal products in the finished process, such as sugar, some wines and even honey.
- Raw Vegan – a diet that combines vegan and the raw food lifestyle. No animal products are consumed and primarily consists of unprocessed, organic vegan foods that have not been heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius). The idea is that foods cooked above this temperature destroys the nutritional benefits.
- Macrobiotic – the guidelines that I’ve read seem to vary but this diet is comprised of unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and allows the occasional consumption of fish. However, some vegetables are avoided or used sparingly like spinach, beets and avocados. WOW! The macrobiotic diet was developed in Japan so you will find an emphasis on Asian vegetables.
- Flexitarian/Semi-Vegetarian – this diet is really what I hope most people that eat a meat based diet move toward. The goal of my blog is not to advise you to become a vegetarian. It is an effort to inspire you to eat more fruits and vegetables as part of your overall diet. A flexitarian is one who eats meat occasionally but eats mostly a vegetarian or even pescatarian diet. The American Heart Association says semi-vegetarianism can be healthful and nutritionally sound if it’s carefully planned to include essential nutrients. Balance and good food choices!
- Pescatarian/Pescetarian/Pescovegetarian – A pescatarian abstains from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish and other seafood. So a flexitarian can be a pescatarian, a pescatarian is never a flexitarian, and a vegetarian is neither. Is that clear as mud? On a serious note, studies have shown that the pescatarian diet is a very heart healthy diet and helps prevent chronic disease. And if you’re worried about mercury levels, the guidelines on this diet recommend the lower mercury level fish, not the higher ones like albacore tuna and shark.
Some of these diets are motivated by health, spiritual, financial, or environmental reasons.
Whew! There you have it!
Feed the wellness in you!