Being a vegetarian is a personal decision that is made entirely by each individual. Everyone has their own beliefs and convictions, and the way in which we perceive animal products varies greatly. For this reason, the vegetarian diet is not black and white. There are many shades in between that result in an array of different lifestyles, according to the differing attitudes towards meat and animal products that one can have. There are several main categories of vegetarians, however, and most people can be said to be one of the following:
Not everyone who enjoys the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle wishes to give up meat entirely, and allow occasional exceptions to the rule. Often flexitarians partake vegetarianism for health reasons, or else are willing to eat meat as long as they know it is free range and humane.
Pollo-vegetarians are similar to pescatarians in the sense that they have one exception to their vegetarian rule – in this case, it’s poultry such as chicken and turkey.
A pescatarian eats no animal flesh except for fish. This diet has been growing in general popularity and recognition in the last few years, and many people adopt it for health reasons. It can also be a sort of “gateway diet” for those transitioning into a full vegetarian lifestyle.
Probably the type most well-known by the general public and generally what people are referring to when they use the shorthand term “vegetarian”. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians don’t eat any beef, pork, fish or other animal flesh, however they do consume animal products such as dairy and eggs. With “lacto” meaning dairy and “ovo” meaning eggs, to designate that one doesn’t consume either eggs or dairy, simply drop the respective word from the title.
Unlike the lacto-ovo-vegetarians, vegans don’t consume any animal products of any kind. These include not only eggs and dairy, but foods like gelatine and non-Vegetarian yoghurt as well. Unfortunately due to the way the modern food industry often uses animal products in its processing, many seemingly harmless items such as sugar or wine become contaminated. Fortunately veganism has gained significant awareness, and some manufacturers label products that are vegan-friendly.
Raw Vegan (Raw Foodism or Rawism)
A raw food diet (which is typically vegetarian or vegan) means only consuming unprocessed foods that haven’t been heated to above 115 degrees Farenheit. The belief is that this cooking process removes vital nutrients from the food, and that there are significant health benefits to eating them raw. This diet can be difficult to dine out with as it is not yet the mainstream, however most places will offer some kind of green salad, and understand what you mean when you explain.
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