What’s The Right Type For You
Today, more and more people are exploring more plant foods for various health benefits and the beneficial impact that eating more plant foods can have on the environment. Traditionally, vegetarianism can include any number of variants, such as removing animal products altogether—including items that come from animals, such as milk and honey—or simply devoid of animal flesh, fish, and seafood. The term originates from a combination of the two words vegetable and agrian, and depending on your goals, it could encompass any number of variants. Here are the types of vegetarians.
Vegetarians will not eat meat, poultry, fish, or seafood but will eat dairy products, honey, and eggs. Since it includes a number of high-protein foods like eggs and lentils, it’s a pretty sustainable way to eat if you want to exclude all meat from your diet. Otherwise known as Lacto-Ovo vegetarians.
A flexitarian is more of a flexible vegetarian eating pattern, where your intake is mostly vegetarian, but you’ll eat chicken, steak, or any other animal product when you’re craving it. Think less meat and more plant-based foods. This is the least restrictive vegetarian eating pattern and could also be called “mostly plant-based”—aka, veggies make up the bulk of your plate much of the time but not always.
A pescatarian is a vegetarian who also eats fish, along with eggs and dairy. It’s a great option if you want to get some extra protein in your diet. It’s also touted as a great diet for getting ample brain-supporting omega-3 fatty acids, which are otherwise found in foods like chia seeds or walnuts.
A lacto-vegetarian abstains from eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, and fish but eats dairy. In India and Nepal, for instance, a lacto-vegetarian diet is synonymous with vegetarianism as a whole, since Hinduism considers eggs and egg products to be animals.
Ovo-vegetarians include eggs and egg products in their diet, but they don’t eat dairy or other animal proteins such as seafood, fish, poultry, and meat. Many lactose-intolerant vegetarians may choose to eat this way.
A vegan diet means eliminating all animal products, including those of animal origin. This means no eggs, dairy, or even honey. Outside of diet, most vegans also eliminate animal-based products in their daily life. For example, they won’t wear leather or fur goods or use products that include any animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin.
This is often the strictest form of a vegetarian diet. A raw vegan excludes foods of animal origin. There is no cooking involved, and the uncooked foods include vegetables, fruits, legumes, sprouted grains, nuts, herbs, and seeds, with the belief that raw and minimally cooked/heated foods (less than 114 degrees Fahrenheit) provide more nutrients than foods that are cooked. Raw vegan diets have been associated with low cholesterol levels, but there isn’t a consensus on whether one type of vegetarian diet may be healthier than another.
If you’re looking to switch to a more plant-based diet, you are not alone. Going vegetarian can actually have some incredible benefits for both your health and the environment. Plant-based diets have been linked to a lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Additionally, people are becoming more earth-conscious and opting to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle due to the environmental impact of factory farming.
To decide which type of vegetarian you want to be, iIt may sound a little obvious, but listen to your intuition and your body. Focus on what foods feel right to you in the current point of your life, with the awareness that it can change. This allows flexibility around food and creates a sense of trust within our bodies that we can honor what we need. For instance, she says some people really thrive off a mostly vegetarian diet, while others feel good incorporating certain animal products. Pay attention to your energy levels and satisfaction and see what is right for you.
In addition, work with a dietitian or check out the macros in your food so you can be sure you’re meeting the adequate nutrient requirements when it comes to your diet. Transitioning to a vegetarian diet can be totally healthy and help you reach your health goals, provided it’s done in the right way. Do your research, trust your intuition, enjoy the traditional recipes, learn to love your salads, and see how it goes.