What does vegetarian actually mean? Is it a diet? A lifestyle? What foods can they eat?
As a former vegetarian turned vegan, I’ll let you know the insider scoop of this trending word, what it means, what they eat (and what they don’t), and all the different types of vegetarians you might meet.
What Does Vegetarian Mean?
In general, a vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat and seafood. However, depending on the type of vegetarian (which you’ll learn more about in the upcoming paragraphs), some may choose to eat seafood or omit eggs or dairy. But in general, all vegetarians do not eat meat from land animals such as beef, chicken, etc.
There are many reasons why someone chooses to become vegetarian. Some do it for dietary changes and some for moral or religious reasons.
In general, being vegetarian is seen more as a diet than a moral standpoint. So it’s not uncommon to see vegetarians wearing leather or buying products made with animal ingredients or that were tested on animals.
What Does a Vegetarian Eat (and Not Eat)?
Vegetarians eat a wide range of plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Overall, vegetarians have a lot of options. A lot of commonly known foods are vegetarian, so don’t be surprised if you see one of them eat a slice of pizza or stop by a popular fast food joint.
It’s also important to note that vegetarians do eat honey and other bee by-products. This is an important distinction from vegans who don’t.
Depending on the type of vegetarian, what they don’t eat can vary. But all vegetarians do not eat meat from land animals. But some do eat dairy, eggs, or seafood, while others don’t.
Let’s next go over the 5 different types of vegetarians.
The 5 Different Types of Vegetarians
Surprisingly, there are many different types of vegetarians. Here are 5 of the most common ones you might meet:
Vegetarian – Does not eat meat and seafood. But does eat dairy and eggs.
Lacto-Vegetarian – Does not eat meat, seafood, and eggs. But does eat dairy.
Ovo-Vegetarian – Does not eat meat, seafood, and dairy. But does eat eggs.
Pescatarian – Does not eat meat, dairy, and eggs. But does eat seafood.
Flexitarian – Occasionally eats vegetarian.
A Final Note
All in all, vegetarian means a diet without any meat. Depending on the type, some may omit seafood, while others may omit dairy or eggs (or a combo of this).
Being vegetarian is usually not a dietary choice, rather than a moral standpoint. So you may also see vegetarians buy items made out of animal ingredients or purchase products that were tested on animals.