happy vegetarianThere are different types of vegetarians. My goal here is to clear up the confusion about which is which.

 Dictionary.com defines vegetarian as:

“a person who does not eat or does not believe in eating meat, fish, fowl, or, in some cases, any food derived from animals,  as eggs or cheese, but subsists on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, etc.”

It may seem simple enough that a vegetarian does not eat meat, but there is another layer or two beyond the surface. There is also some misinformation that continues to pervade.

The Different Types of Vegetarians

Vegetarians can be broken down into 4 main groups:

  • Lacto-Ovo
  • Lacto
  • Ovo
  • Vegan

You might recognize the Latin root words, lacto and ovo. You will also use your critical thinking skills to come to the correct conclusion that a Lacto-ovo vegetarian consumes dairy products and eggs. Likewise, the ovo-vegetarian consumes eggs but not dairy and the lacto-vegetarian consumes dairy, but not eggs.

What about vegans? A vegan abstains from consuming any food derived from animal origin. The obvious sources of animal-derived foods would be meat, eggs, and dairy. A majority of vegans also do not eat honey. The keeping of bees is not as innocuous as one might think. The less obvious sources of animal-derived foods include gelatin, casein, and cochineal extract. If one identifies as vegan, one might also have strong moral convictions against the exploitation of animals for any purpose whatsoever, even going as far as avoiding any and all animal-derived products or products tested on animals. This includes leather, wool, lanolin, and certain cosmetics.

Do Vegetarians Eat Fish?

The answer is an emphatic and unequivocal “NO!”

Fish is not a vegetable!

If you are a pescetarian, please stop telling people you are a vegetarian. I understand you might feel (correctly so) that the average person might not be familiar with the term “pescetarian,” but an explanation such as, “the only meat I eat is fish,” is not terribly complicated, wordy, or difficult to comprehend. Likewise, there is also the belief that a vegetarian diet includes chicken. Chicken is not a vegetable either.

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