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About Vegetarianism


Many people today prefer to reduce or completely eliminate animal foods from their diets. Nearly 12.5 million people refer to themselves as vegetarians, a number that has nearly doubled over the last ten years.


The reasons for becoming a vegetarian can range from a concern with health to ethical or moral concerns. From a health standpoint, diets that cut out meats are likely to have lower levels of fats, especially saturated fats. They may also, depending upon the type of vegetarian diet adopted, greatly reduce or even eliminate a dietary source of cholesterol.


Just as there may be many reasons for becoming a vegetarian, there is more than one type of vegetarian. The following list provides some definitions and standards for a range of vegetarian options :


Vegans : This diet is based purely on vegetable foods, and excludes all forms of animal-based foods, including eggs, honey, fish, dairy foods, poultry , and red meat. There are some special concerns vegans need to be aware of so that they can balance their nutritional needs adequately.


Fruitarian : Similar to a vegan diet, eating predominantly fruits, nuts, and seeds.


Ovo-vegetarians : This diet adds eggs but no animal flesh or dairy to the vegan's diet.


Lacto / Ovo-vegetarian : This indicates an individual who eats dairy products (milk, yogurt & cheese) in addition to the ovo-vegetarian diet. All animal flesh is excluded.


Pesco-vegetarian : fish is included, but no other type of animal flesh.


Semi-vegetarian : all food, excluding only beef, veal, pork, lamb, and game, are eaten. Fish and chicken are occasionally part of a meal.


One phenomenon today's cook needs to keep in mind is the growing number of individuals who consider themselves situational vegetarians, or alternivores. An alternivore is any person who might, given an attractive choice, opt to prefer a vegetarian or a meatless meal.

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