Types of Vegetarian Diets

If you’re just starting to learn about the different types of vegetarian diets out there, you’re head is probably swimming right now. Ovo, lacto, pesca, flexi, raw...they all mean different things but who can keep them straight?

In our modern world full of choices, decisions and yet more choices, simply saying your a vegetarian isn’t enough for some people. Of course everyone has the right to eat what they wish, and make an entirely new title to classify it but this doesn’t make the job of learning about vegetarianism any easier.

Let me break things down a bit and give you a run through of the most common, and even some totally out-there terms you may come across. In general I think all this jargon can be a bit cumbersome but it may come in handy when ordering at restaurants, relating to other non-meat-eating friends and various other occasions.

Without further adieu, let’s dive in and learn the different types of vegetarian eating!

The Spectrum from Total Carnivore to Total Vegan

  • Carnivore: this obviously isn’t a type of vegetarianism but it’s on the spectrum as the furthest one could go in this extreme. Carnivores eat only meat.

Flexible Diets

  • Omnivore: this is what most humans are, they eat both animal products and plant products.
  • Flexitarian: someone who is still an omnivore but makes an effort to eat vegetarian or plant-based meals most of the time.
  • Pollotarianism: this is someone who has given up most meat but still eats chicken. This isn’t a super popular term because most people who eat this way say something like “I gave up red meat.”
  • Pescatarianism: someone who eats mostly a plant-based diet but still eats fish and other seafood. This became a popular trend in the 90’s when fatty foods were the latest health scare. It’s also sometimes an interim stage people go through between omnivore and total vegetarian. With overfishing these days, this is likely becoming less popular though.

Standard Vegetarian Diets

  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism (aka standard vegetarianism): This is the most common type of vegetarian you can find in the western world. These folks do not eat any animal meat. Their diets consist mainly of plants but they also consume dairy products, eggs, and honey.
  • Lacto-Vegetarian: a person who follows a plant-based diet and still consumes dairy but not eggs.
  • Ovo-Vegetarian: you can probably guess this is someone who eats eggs but not dairy.

More Restrictive Diets

  • Veganism: this is the term used for people who only consume plants. They do not eat any animal flesh, products like dairy or eggs, no honey and often times do not wear clothing that is made from animals like leather, and do not purchase products that have been tested on animals.
  • Raw Veganism: a vegan who eats only fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. (i.e. they do not cook their foods; some only cook to a certain low temperature.)
  • Fruititarianism: someone who eats only fruit, nuts, seeds and plants but only those which have fallen to the ground or are obtained without harming the plant.
  • Jain Vegetarianism: a vegetarian who does not eat eggs or honey, does not eat root vegetables but does consume dairy.
  • Buddhist or Su Vegetarianism: does not eat any animal products and does not eat allium vegetables (i.e. garlic, onions, etc.)

Well, there you go. As you can see there as many different types of vegetarian diets as there are colors of crayons. I hope that helped to clarify things for you a bit if you’re trying to decided what type of vegetarian you will be! Of course there are tons of other terms like macrobiotic, local, organic but that’s a story for another day.

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