Most people assume that when someone says he is a vegetarian that he eats only vegetables. Such is not the case. There are many classes of vegetarians, and the categories often overlap as one rarely fits exclusivly within a single group. It is difficult to fathom some of the categories of “vegetarianism” since, it seems, all are covered under one liberal use of the term. So, to appear more knowledgeable, it might be wise to ask “Which kind of vegetarian are you?” To this, you should receive one of the following replies:
- Vegans: use plant foods only. No animal foods are consumed. Some vegans use all plant foods, while others avoid one or more such food groups as processed foods, cooked foods, legumes, cereals, grains, or fruits and, sometimes, honey.
- Lacto-vegetarians: use dairy products along with plant foods; but no other animal products.
- Ovo-vegetarians: use eggs with plant food.
- Lacto-Ovo-vegetarians: use both dairy products and eggs with plant foods.
- Pesco-vegetarians: use fish as well as dairy products and eggs with plant foods.
- Pollovegetarians: use only chicken in addition to vegetables. (Pollo is Spanish for chicken)
- Semi-vegetarians: use dairy products, eggs, fish, and chicken along with plant foods. This category is generally reserved for those seeking a “healthy heart” diet.
- Fruitarians: generally limit their food intake to raw and dried fruits, nuts, oil, and honey. They may also eat certain vegetables.
- Non-interventionist vegetarians: those who take no living things for food, but rely on fallen nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables that can be harvested without killing the host plant.
- Macrobiotic Vegetarians: eat only grains, sea and land vegetables, beans, and miso.
- Zen Macrobiotic: are dependant on the proper balance between Ying and Yang foods, which is composed of ten stages of elimination (desserts, fruits, salads, animal foods, soup, and vegetables in that order), culminating with exclusive consumption of cereal grains, all the while restricting fluid intake.
- Natural hygienists: are those who eat only plant foods and combining them in certain ways and accompanying periodic fasting.
- Raw foodists: eat only uncooked non-meat foods.
- Red-Meat Abstainers: also consider themselves to be vegetarians and could be grouped in with some other categories.
- Intense Production Abstainers: also consider themselves to be vegetarians. They refuse to eat any meat produced under animal duress, but will eat “free range” items.
- Flexitarian: a new term that describes a vegetarian who eats meat on occasion. These people are not particularly motivated by animal rights but are influenced by the increasing data that suggests health benefits from eating more vegetarian foods.
We would be negligent, however, if we did not include two other words in our glossary of terms since these words are often used by some vegetarians in describing meat-eaters.
Carnivore: any animal, or plant, that eats flesh, particularly mammals of the order Carnivora, which includes cats, dogs, bears, etc. Many use this word to describe human meat eaters, which is not quite fair.
Omnivore: those that eat both plant and animal products. Most people come under this category.
(Updated June 2012)-1>