So I've been considering a vegetarian diet. I'm thinking of eliminating red meat and pork for now but have been really curious about this type of diet. Did you know that there are MANY types of vegetarians...I didn't.
Types of Vegetarians
When you're cooking for vegetarians, it helps to know what "kind" they are. Yes, there are many different kinds of vegetarians. Every person makes their own individual food choices, but most vegetarians can be divided into these main categories:
- Vegans avoid all animal products. They don't eat eggs, dairy products, or even honey. Many vegans also avoid anything made from animal products, such as leather, fur, and wool.
- Fruitarians eat only fruits, seeds, nuts, and other plant components that can be gathered without harming the plant.
- Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products, but not eggs. They may or may not avoid non-dietary use of animal products.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products. This is the most common group of vegetarians and what most people think of when someone says they're "a vegetarian."
- Pesce-vegetarians include fish in their diet.
- Pollo-vegetarians eat fowl, such as chicken and turkey, but avoid red meat and pork.
- Flexitarians mainly eat vegetarian food, but will occasionally make exceptions.
Very strict vegetarians don't really consider people who place themselves in the pesce, pollo, or flexitarian categories to be "real" vegetarians, but it's not like there are firm labeling guidelines. Many people begin their transition to vegetarianism by eliminating red meat and then slowly purging their diet of other animal products. And once people discover the incredible variety of vegetarian choices, they'll never miss the meat!
Reasons Why People Become Vegetarian
The question "why choose vegetarianism?" has many valid answers. People choose to become vegetarians for many different reasons - probably as many reasons as there are vegetarians! But most vegetarians cite one or more of the following issues:
- Health concerns: A healthy vegetarian diet can decrease the risk and symptoms of many chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Religious restrictions: Hinduism and Buddhism hold vegetarianism as an ideal way to promote nonviolence and spiritual fulfillment. If Kosher or Halal meat isn't available, observant Jews and Muslims keep a vegetarian diet. Other religious groups that avoid meat include Seventh Day Adventists and Jains.
- Environmental degradation: Many environmentalists assert that the large-scale meat and poultry production is environmentally unsustainable. They point to issues with water quality, waste disposal, overuse of antibiotics, and other concerns.
- Animal rights issues: Ethical vegetarians are concerned about animal cruelty. Many animals live in truly abysmal conditions and are treated horribly prior to and during slaughter.
- Food safety: Approximately 5,000 Americans die of food-borne diseases each year. There have been many large-scale recalls of meat contaminated with e-coli and many local incidents where restaurant patrons were sickened by improperly cooked meat and eggs.
This once-exotic food choice is becoming more and more popular for many reasons. Vegetarian kids and teenagers are often motivated by idealism - and by the large number of famous and celebrity vegetarians, including Adam Carson of AFI, Larry Mullen, Jr. of U2, and pop singer, Pink.
So for the vegetarians in the group, which one are you? Was this a lifestyle you were raised with? If not how did you make the transition?
Hippy Chic~Yoga posing, vintage loving, baking, cooking, crafting, gardening, upcycling, reading, mommy of 3 and devoted wifey. Follow me at http://www.accidentalcountry.blogspot.com/