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Whatever your reasons are, you have decided to explore the interesting and exciting world of vegetarianism. If you have been a vegetarian for a while or have been researching about vegetarianism, you might already have some idea of what kind of vegetarian you are or want to be.
Many people think of vegetarians as one homogeneous group that just doesn’t eat meat. But nothing could be further from the truth. There are different categories of vegetarians as diverse as the reasons for going vegetarian in the first place.
A vegetarian is generally defined as someone who doesn’t eat meat. But someone who is vegetarian could conceivably eat dairy products such as milk, eggs and cheese. A lacto ovo vegetarian doesn’t eat meat, fish or poultry, but does consume eggs, milk or cheese. A lacto vegetarian consumes milk and cheese products, but doesn’t consume eggs.
A vegan is someone who doesn’t consume any animal product or by-product, including dairy food. They eat only vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and legumes. They also don’t use animal products, such as leather. Vegans also don’t use white sugar because it’s often processed with a substance derived from animal bones that whitens the sugar.
There are other categories within the vegetarian community. Fruitarians, for example, eat only fruit. Their rationale is that fruits, including fruits such as tomatoes, are self-perpetuating and don’t need to be planted to create the food source. They consider it a way of eating that’s most in balance and harmony with the earth, the most natural.
All of the above will eat cooked vegetables, fruits and legumes. There is also a growing movement towards eating only raw or living foods. This based on the assumption that cooking food processes most of the nutrients out of it, and to get all the nutritional value, vitamins and amino acids from food, it’s best consumed raw, or juiced. If cooked at all, it should only be cooked to slightly over 100 degrees, so the nutrients are still retained.
The more restrictive you become with your diet, however, the more educated you need to become to be sure you’re getting all the necessary proteins and vitamins that you need to maintain good health, especially muscle and heart health.
Here are 4 types of vegetarianism
1. Lacto vegetarians- Their diet consists of no animal products, or eggs, but do include dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.
2. Ovo-Vegetarians- Their diet consists of no animal or diary products but will eat eggs.
3. Lacto-ovo vegetarians- As you may have already guessed don’t include any animal products in their diet but will include dairy products and eggs.
4. Vegan- Their diet consists of only plant-based foods, which means it excludes everything that has come from an animal, such as meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc.
If you haven’t decided what kind of vegetarian you would like to be don’t worry! Not everyone knows exactly what kind they want to be at first (I didn’t), but by experimenting and trying different recipes you will figure out what you need and want or don’t need and want.