Holistic Approach to Wellness

Vegetarian Types

Most people probably know that vegetarians do not eat meat products but did you know there are many types of vegetarians and many reasons for becoming a vegetarian?

What about eggs ? Chicken eggs are, after all, chicken embryos (not dairy by the way). Does it matter if eggs are fertilized or not ?Are you wondering if fish is a type of meat ? Most vegetarians would probably say “yes”.

What about dairy-products – milk, cream, cheese & yogurts?

The two main types of vegetarian diet are:

Vegetarian 

No meat or fish or any product made using any part of any animal, including fish and sea-creatures, byproducts derived from live animals are acceptable so dairy products such as milk, cream, cheese and eggs are included in the diet. This type of vegetarian diet is also called ovolactovegetarian – because eggs and milk products are acceptable.

Vegan 

No meat or fish or any product made using any part of any animal, including fish and sea-creatures, and also excluding any and all products derived from animals – so dairy products such as milk, cream, cheese and eggs are not eaten and other products produced by animals e.g. honey – because that is made by bees – are also unacceptable.

To mix things up a bit there are diets that are “almost vegetarian”, “mostly vegetarian” or a specific type of vegetarian diet.

These include:

Lactovegetarian

No meat or fish products or any eggs are acceptable but dairy products such as milk, cream, cheese, ice-cream and yogurts are eaten.

Ovovegetarian

No meat, fish or dairy products such as milk, cream, cheese etc. are acceptable but eggs are eaten.

Ovolactovegetarian

Also known as lacto-ovo-vegetarian (as described above – top of page – as simply “vegetarian”, probably the most common case in which no meat or fish products are acceptable but milk and eggs are eaten, usually including eggs from both poultry and fish).

Raw Food 

In many cases vegan uncooked food, although some food processing such a blending e.g. to make smoothies is done. Raw food diets are usually followed for health reasons, although sometimes by people who were already vegetarian or vegan for other reasons. The good health of people who follow raw food diets successfully proves that this is possible, at least for them. However considerable knowledge is necessary to ensure sufficient appropriate nutrition while following a vegan raw food diet because it’s very difficult.

Fruitarian 

Raw food vegan diet but only including fruits, greens, and some nuts and seeds.

Organic-only vegetarian or vegan 

Very difficult to follow strictly in some places; implies concern about chemicals and/o the possibility of genetically modified organisms in the environment and/or food chain.

Low Fat Vegetarian 

Could be any type of vegetarian, i.e. lactovegetarian, ovovegetarian or ovolactovegetarian, with the additional constraint that the overall diet consists of less than 10% of its calories i.e. “energy” from fat. This may be due to a vegetarian diet by choice or religious commitment with modification for health/medical reasons. This would ideally be supported with appropriate expert knowledge.

Pescovegetarian also called pescatarian

No meat or any product made using any part of any land-animal including poultry and other birds, but dairy products such as milk, cream, cheese and eggs are included in the diet and fish and sea-creatures such as shell-fish e.g. crab, mussels, cockles etc., and crustaceans e.g. prawns and lobsters are eaten.
Note: This is not generally considered truly vegetarian but it is quite a widespread lifestyle choice and meets some health, environmental, and animal welfare reasons why some people choose “vegetarian” diets. One of the healthier choices.

“Semi-vegetarian” is not really a category of vegetarian diet either but is a description sometimes applied to the diets of people who do not eat a substantial type or category of meat products, e.g. “no red meat”. So, people who do not eat red meat and call themselves “semi-vegetarian” may still eat both fish and “white meats” such as chicken.
This can be confusing. If in doubt it is safest to assume that “vegetarians” do not eat any meat or fish products including strictly no animal derivatives such as gelatin in sweets or desserts.

Other variations include people who take a firm animal welfare position so will not eat farmed animal products in order to be certain that they do not consume animals whose quality of life might have been low, but will eat wild game (e.g. pheasants or other birds) and sea-fish. A different example is ovolactovegetarians who consider dairy products to be ethically acceptable but are only able to eat certain types of cheeses e.g. goats’ cheeses rather than cows’ cheeses due to allergies or intolerance.

If you have medical conditions do not start a vegetarian diet until you talk to a professional. Its my experience a lot of people who go vegetarian end up having to go back due to lack of proper nutrition.