Definition of Vegetarian

What Is a Vegetarian?

The term vegetarian is a dietary lifestyle choice that restricts the types and quantity of animal-based proteins an individual will consume on a regular basis as part of their diet. There are many different interpretations of a vegetarian diet, though these are the main categories generally recognized:

  • Lacto ovo vegetarian: consumes eggs, dairy, and honey, but no meat, poultry, or seafood
  • Lacto vegetarian: consumes dairy but can avoid eggs, meat, poultry, and all seafood
  • Ovo vegetarian: may or may not consume honey, but will eat eggs. All other dairy, fish, poultry, and meats are excluded
  • Pescetarian: this vegetarian diet permits fish and seafood but eliminates all meat
  • Pollotarian: includes poultry and fowl but no other kinds of meat or fish
  • Semi vegetarian: includes poultry and fish, but excludes all other types of meat
  • Flexitarian: these individuals stick to one of the above vegetarian diets most of the time but allow themselves to eat meat occasionally, for example having Weekday Vegetarian diet

Though the reasons for choosing a vegetarian lifestyle are varied, generally people who make this choice do so for the following reasons:

  • Lowering greenhouse gas emissions for a smaller carbon footprint
  • Helping preserve forests and arable land from being developed for grazing livestock
  • Reducing water consumption, since raising animals for meat is very water-intensive
  • Putting an end to the exploitation of animals for human consumption
  • Land-use efficiency, since more vegetable proteins can be grown per acre compared to animal-based proteins
  • Health benefits – those eschewing meat tend to have lower incidences of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
  • Preventing the creation of super bugs which are helped by the strong, unnecessary doses of antibiotics given to healthy livestock (as prevention)
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