Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Definitions of the Various Veg*isms.

Vegetarians? Lacto/Ovo? Vegans? What's all this then?

So everyone knows what a vegetarian is, right? Well, surprisingly, there seem to be quite a spectrum of definitions in popular use. A vegetarian is a person that does not eat animal flesh, or products that contain ingredients derived from the bodies of animals. Just as there are many different reasons to practice vegetarianism, so are there many different types of vegetarian diets. I'll focus on dietary practices in this article, and leave motivations for another day.

Vegetarian - Encompasses the broad spectrum of all those that do not eat products directly derived from animal bodies. About 2-3% of the US population are estimated to be vegetarian.*
Ovo/Lacto Vegetarian - A vegetarian that includes Eggs and Dairy in their diet.
Ovo Vegetarian - A vegetarian that includes eggs in their diet.
Lacto Vegetarian - A vegetarian that includes dairy in their diet.
Strict Vegetarian - A vegetarian that excludes any animal derived products, including eggs and dairy.
Vegetarian Raw Foodist - a vegetarian that eats only uncooked and unprocessed foods.
Fruitarian - A vegetarian whose diet may consist in great part or in whole of fruit, nuts or seeds.
Vegan - A strict vegetarian that excludes all animal derived products in everyday life. For example, wool and leather products would not be acceptable to a vegan.

Other definitions
Pescatarian - Similar to vegetarianism, but includes fish.
Omnivores - A person that eats an animal and plant based diet. The majority of people are omnivores.

Some examples of things vegetarians will not eat. Fish, poultry, animal based soup stocks, honey, Mc Donalds French Fries, Jello, and Gummi bears. What's wrong with the fries? Well, in general nothing, but Mc Donalds flavors its fries with beef and dairy products in some markets **. Why not Jello and Gummi bears? Well, most Jello and Gummi bears *** contain Gelatin. Gelatin is created by boiling connective tissue such as skin, cartilage, and bones.

** (direct link no longer available)

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