Thursday, March 4, 2010

What Exactly Is A Vegetarian Diet?

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Originally published on Planned Diet veggieNews with Evelyn.

Many people are finding ways to eat a healthier diet.  Some are even crossing over from eating an animal-based diet to eating a plant-based diet.  If any of these people were asked why they have switched to a predominately plant-based diet, they will have many different reasons.  The main reason that people switch to a plant-based (vegetarian) diet is usually for health reasons.

What Is A Vegetarian Diet?

A Vegetarian Diet is one in which one eats mostly a plant-based diet.  However, there are different types of vegetarians.  Not all people who say they are vegetarians, actually adhere to a strict vegetarian diet.  There is a lot of flexibility here in the vegetarian world.

Types of Vegetarian Diets

Vegan - A vegan is one who does not eat any animal flesh or animal by products.  Some will eat honey.  This diet is strictly a plant based diet.  A vegan eats fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, and sprouts.  Some include sea vegetables and wild edible greens.

Raw vegan - A raw vegan is similar to a vegan except he/she does not cook foods above 105 degrees.  No animal flesh or animal by products are eaten, but some will eat honey.

Fruitarian - A fruitarian is one who eats fruit, seeds and nuts.  No animal products, vegetables and grains are eaten.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian - A lacto-ovo vegetarian is one who does not eat any animal flesh, but will eat dairy, cheese, and eggs along with plant-based foods.

Lacto vegetarian - A lacto vegetarian is one who does not eat animal flesh and eggs, but will eat dairy and cheese.

Ovo vegetarian - An ovo vegetarian is one who does not eat animal flesh and dairy products, but will eat eggs.

Pesco-vegetarian - A pesco-vegetarian is one who only eats fish/seafood and does not eat any other animal flesh.  Some also include eggs and dairy.

Semi-vegetarian/flexitarian - A semi-vegetarian is one who does not eat red meat, but will eat poultry, fish, and/or seafood. 

As you can see there are many types of vegetarian diets.  When transitioning to a vegetarian diet, most people will start out being a semi-vegetarian and work their way up to the vegetarian diet they feel works best for them.  

Gradually transitioning is the best way to go.  Going cold turkey can cause you to return back to the way you were eating which can result in your deciding that a vegetarian diet does not work for you.

Have a wonderful day!

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