We all heard about Vegetarianism and I am sure each of us has at least one friend that adopted this lifestyle. The reasons why people chose to restrict their diet are multiple, but the main argument goes for environmental issues. Vegetarianism is primarily a decision to live a more empathetic life in harmony with other living forms. To live for others and not only for oneself. There is a strong intention to have a lower impact on the Earth and to cultivate kindness.
But what exactly does it mean to be a Vegetarian? As the word becomes more and more popular, some clarity on the types of Vegetarians needs to be done:
Vegans have the most restricted diet. They don’t consume any type of animal products, and this is not only related to meat. It also includes all types of dairy, eggs or honey. In addition to the dietary restrictions, they are very attentive to all the small details from their lives. They also reject leather, wool or silk like fabrics. Even before using any cosmetics, they ask if it has been animal tested. Vegans don’t go to the Circus or Zoo where the animals are being used for the human joy. They refuse all types of Animal suffering, considering that Vegetarians are not doing enough.
They are totally against dairy products, stating that the milk of the cow is designed for the baby cow and that the humans are stealing it. They also state that the dairy industry is by far the worst one in producing suffering.
2. Lacto Vegetarian
Lacto Vegetarians don’t eat any type of white or red meat, eggs or fish, but they do accept dairies in their lives.
The main example of lacto–vegetarians are Indians. This country has a population with more than 1 billion people and most of them are vegetarians because of the Hinduism religion.
Their philosophy goes around the holiness of cows. For them, it is a big honor to drink the milk of a cow and consume other dairy products, because they deeply respect this animal. In their spiritual books, the cow is their holy mother and they see this milk as being sacred.
The Indian culture is built as a lacto–vegetarian one and doesn’t consider that the cows are suffering if people take their milk.
3. Ovo Vegetarian
Ovo Vegetarians are another type of vegetarian. As the name suggested, they don’t eat any red or white meat, fish or diaries, but they do eat eggs.
They have ethical and nutritive reasons why they choose this diet.
As for the ethical part, they consider that if they buy eggs from organically grown chickens, raised in freedom, it is moral accepted. They think that with the condition that the hen is running wild and eating whole grains, then it would have laid the egg anyhow. So there is not a problem in eating it.
A plant-based diet cannot provide B12. This is what every vegan knows. But eggs do, and that it is why the ovo-vegetarians prefer to eat an egg instead of swallowing a B12 supplement tablet every day.
From the types of vegetarians, the lacto-ovo-vegetarians are the most spread. They do not consume any type of red or white meat and neither fish or kinds of seafood. But they do eat dairy products and eggs.
People who don’t know much about the different categories, tend to call them just the traditional vegetarians.
They chose this diet also for the environmental and ethical reasons, believing that it is not that bad to consume occasionally dairy or eggs. Most of them believe that by not killing the animals is good enough to protect life on Earth. They are trying to do their best and this type of people are generally in a transition towards Veganism.
Pescatarians or Pescetarians cannot eat red or white meat, but they do consume fish and seafood, in addition to eggs and dairy.
Again, people choosing this eating habit have it for ethical and health reasons.
On the health part, see food contains lots of Omega 3 and Omega 6, essential for brain development. The fish oil is one of the biggest natural vitamin D supplement. Especially for babies and small children, it is extremely important to have a diet full of folic acid that can be found in Fish. Statistically, lots of vegetarian pregnant women decide to introduce fish in their diet in order to provide healthy nutrition for the baby.
As for ethical reasons, biblical it is considered that the fish are not really animals. In the Bible, it is being stated that whatever lives on Earth has a different value then what lives in the Water, or the underworld.
Pollotarians eat a lot of chicken or fowl, but no red meat or fish. They are another type of so-called semi-vegetarians. For some people, this is the middle way. They still want to eat meat, but they chose the most healthy one, the one with the lowest level of cholesterol. Also, on an empathetic level, they can not eat red meat because they consider the animals like the pig or the cow highly sensitive in comparison with the birds. The intelligence of the pig is for scientists ranked as being higher than dogs.
Flexitarians have a predominantly plant-based diet, but sometimes they make exceptions and eat casual meat. They are trying to their best to reduce the meat consumption, but they are not there yet 100%. They also consider that sometimes exceptions can be made. For courtesy reasons especially, when invited at dinner, they might try the special recipe, but they refuse to buy and cook meat in their own house.
This is a middle way trying to compromise things - which we still appreciate!