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Vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that excludes meat (including game and slaughter
by-products), fish (including shellfish and other sea animals) and poultry. There
are several variants of the diet, some of which also exclude eggs and/or some products
produced from animal labour such as dairy products and honey.
A vegan diet is a form of vegetarianism which excludes all animal products from
the diet, such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, and honey. Those who
practice veganism for ethical reasons exclude animal products from their diet as
part of a larger practice of abstaining from the use of animals for any purpose
(e.g. leather, fur, etc.), often out of support for animal rights.
Most vegetarians consume dairy products, and many eat eggs. Lacto-vegetarianism
includes dairy products but excludes eggs - ( as practiced by Vegetarian Hindu people
of India ), ovo-vegetarianism includes eggs but not dairy, and lacto-ovo-vegetarianism
includes both eggs and dairy products.
Semi-vegetarianism consists of a diet largely of vegetarian foods, but may include
fish and sometimes even poultry, as well as dairy products and eggs. The association
of semi-vegetarianism with vegetarianism in popular vernacular, particularly pescetarianism
(also called pesco-vegetarianism and described as a “vegetarian” diet that includes
fish), has led to what vegetarian groups cite as improper categorisation of these
diets as vegetarian. The Vegetarian Society, which initiated popular usage of the
term vegetarian as early as 1847, condemns the association of semi-vegetarian diets
as valid vegetarianism; the organisation points out that the consumption of fish
is not vegetarian.
Choosing Vegetarian Diet
The reasons for choosing vegetarianism may be related to morality, religion, culture,
ethics, aesthetics, environment, society, economy, politics, taste, or health. A
generic term for both vegetarianism and veganism, as well as for similar diets,
is “plant-based diets”. Properly planned vegetarian diets have been found to satisfy
the nutritional needs for all stages of life, and large-scale studies have shown
vegetarianism to significantly lower risks of cancer, ischaemic heart disease, and
other diseases. Other dietary practices commonly associated with vegetarianism:
Fruitarianism is a diet of only fruit, nuts, seeds, and other plant matter that
can be gathered without harming the plant.
Su vegetarianism originating in Buddhism, excludes all animal products as well as
the fetid vegetables: onion, garlic, scallions, leeks, or shallots.
Macrobiotic diet is a diet of mostly whole grains and beans. Not all macrobiotics
are vegetarians, as some consume fish.
Raw veganism is a diet of fresh and uncooked fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
Dietary veganism: whereas vegans do not use animal products of any kind, dietary
vegans restrict their veganism to their diet.
Some vegetarians also avoid products that may use animal ingredients not included
in their labels or which use animal products in their manufacturing i.e. cheeses
that use animal rennet, gelatin (from animal skin, bones, and connective tissue),
some sugars that are whitened with bone char (e.g. cane sugar, but not beet sugar)
and alcohol clarified with gelatin or crushed shellfish and sturgeon. Vegetarians
who eat eggs sometimes prefer free-range eggs (as opposed to battery farmed eggs)
on moral grounds.
Semi-vegetarian diets are diets that primarily consist of vegetarian foods, but
make exceptions for some non-vegetarian foods. These diets may be followed by those
who choose to reduce the amount of animal flesh consumed, or sometimes as a way
of transitioning to a vegetarian diet. These terms are neologisms based on the word
“vegetarian”. They may be regarded with contention by some strict vegetarians, as
they combine terms for vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets.
Additionally, many individuals describe themselves as simply “vegetarian” while
actually practicing a semi-vegetarian diet.
Semi-vegetarianism — A diet that excludes certain meats, particularly red meat,
but allows the consumption of others in limited amounts.
Pescetarianism — A diet that excludes all meat except fish, shellfish, and crustacea.
Pollotarianism — A diet that excludes all meat except poultry and fowl.
Flexitarianism — A diet that consists primarily of vegetarian food, but that allows
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