Learn the difference between vegetarians, vegans, and more.
If you are deciding what type or kind of vegetarian you want to be, or thinking about what types of food you want to include or avoid in your daily diet, this list will hopefully help you make a more informed choice.
So whether you are becoming a vegetarian yourself, or simply trying to better support your vegetarian friends and family, read on for a guide on the key points about vegetarians, vegans and more.
5 Reasons Why People Choose a Vegetarian Diet
1. Compassion for animals
According to DownToEarth: “Animals on today’s factory farms have no legal protection from cruelty that would be illegal if it were inflicted on dogs or cats. Yet farmed animals are no less intelligent or capable of feeling pain than are the dogs and cats we cherish as companions. A vegetarian lifestyle awakens our spirit of compassion and guides us towards a kinder, gentler society in which we exercise a moral choice to protect animals — not exploit them.”
2. Religious Reasons
There is also a strong tradition of vegetarianism in religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. For those who hold these beliefs, living a vegetarian lifestyle advocates nonviolence and is part of spiritual fulfilment.
3. Health Reasons
Many people give up meat for health reasons; they believe that a meat-based diet contributes to heart disease and other illnesses. Studies show that a vegan or vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of cancer, obesity and heart disease.
4. Weight Control
Vegetarian diets typically focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods are rich in fibre, micronutrients, and beneficial plant compounds, and tend to be lower in calories, fat, and protein than animal foods. Studies show that following a vegetarian diet can be an effective way to lose weight.
5. Reduce Global Warming
The choice in the food we consume has an impact on our own health and on climate change. If we follow a plant-based diet and avoid eating animal products, this relieves Mother Earth of the ecologically destructive side effects of animal agriculture which contributes to climate change.
Vegetarian: What Does It Mean?
Generally speaking, a vegetarian eats fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, nuts and seeds and avoids meat, fish, and fowl. However, within the vegetarian category, there are a number of subgroups, including the following:
Does not consume any food derived from animals and typically does not use other animal by-products such as gelatin, animal broths, eggs, dairy and honey.
Does not consume any food derived from animals and typically does not use certain animal by-products, like eggs but may consume some dairy products.
Does not consume any food derived from animals, and typically does not use certain animal by-products like milk and cheese but may consume eggs.
Does not consume any meat, but does consume eggs and dairy.
Does not consume any red meat (beef, lamb, pork, venison), fish and seafood, but does consume poultry, eggs and dairy
Does not consume any red meat (beef, lamb, pork, venison) and poultry but does consume fish and seafood, eggs and dairy
Someone who eats mostly vegetarian food but eats meat or fish occasionally.