6 Variations Of Vegetarian Diets


Diets that are vegetarian continue to grow in popularity, in particular over the last few decades. Individuals often think eating this way of accentuating plant food over animal-based products, is linked to the plant-based movement. There are several reasons why more and more individuals are opting to go on the vegetarian diet. Plus, there are many variations of how this style of eating should be approached.

Why The Vegetarian Diet?

There are three chief reasons individuals would opt to follow some adaptation of a plant-based or vegetarian diet. They are linked to public and personal health, the animals raised for food, and the environment. Research has discovered that animal products, in particular the ones manufactured in extensive concentrated animal feeding operations, are questionable. In this case, meaning, that the likelihood of unwanted compounds, such as antibiotics, being found in the product is greater.

It is believed that the antibiotic found in the feed for the animals could be hazardous. It might result in the development of bacteria in humans becoming resistant to antibiotics. Research has also revealed the benefits of well-thought-out, nutritionally acceptable vegetarian diets. Benefits such as reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes. Plus, lowering the chance of obesity and supporting weight loss.

Individuals also report ethical apprehension as it relates to the dairy industry. They have a concern with separating cows from their calves, shortly after they have given birth. Also, milking cows that have just given birth. Other individuals might just find vegetarian diets to be more price-conscious for their homes. Others might just like the taste of plant-based food over animal products.

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diet

Several individuals consider a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet as the most conventional of the vegetarian diets. This variation of meat and fish is not allowed; however, dairy products and eggs are still included. The preface, Lacto, means dairy products or more specifically cow’s milk. Milk is produced only by mammals such as humans and cows. The other prefix, ovo, means eggs.

Adhering to a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet allows the individual to consume butter, cheese, milk, and eggs. It also allows for other dairy products such as ice cream, sour cream, and yogurt. The individual must exclude all forms of animal meats, for example, pork, chicken, fish, and beef. Some individuals have cultural or religious reasons for opting for this variation. For example, individuals who practice Buddhism and Hinduism might opt for the Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet.

Lacto-Vegetarian Diet

As the prefix would suggest, this diet allows the individual to follow a plant-based diet which permits the inclusion of dairy products. The dairy products included are ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, butter and cheese, and obviously cow’s milk. There are to be no meats of any kind and eggs are also excluded. Similar to the Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet, individuals have cultural and religious reasons for adhering to this variation.

Ovo-Vegetarian Diet

This variation does not allow for the consumption of dairy products, however as the prefix indicates, eggs are acceptable. In addition to prohibiting the consumption of fish and all types of meat, it also excludes any type of dairy product. These are foods made with ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, butter, cheese, and cow’s milk. However, eggs and egg dishes are welcomed, for example, omelets, hard-boiled eggs, and scrambled eggs. Eggs can also be an ingredient in baking, like bread, cakes, and muffins.

Flexitarian Diet

The flexitarian diet was developed to be as the name suggests, flexible. It concentrates on the benefits of plant-based foods while permitting the use of animal products in small quantities. The chief principle behind the flexitarian diet is consuming whole-plant foods and receiving the majority of protein from plants. If possible, restricting processed foods and added sugar, plus incorporating meat and animal products sporadically. Technically, a flexitarian would not be considered a vegetarian as they consume meat. The individual has the flexibility to design the diet to fit their lifestyle.

Pescatarian Diet

This variation of the vegetarian diet allows the individual to eat plant-based foods and fish as well. Although a person on the pescatarian diet will eat fish and fish-based products, for example, sushi, salmon, halibut, and tuna. They would tend to avoid all other types of meats such as pork, chicken, and beef. If the diet involves eggs and dairy products are totally at the discretion of the individual. This diet provides the advantage of taking in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which might be lacking in other variations.

Vegan Diet

This variation prohibited the consumption of all types of animal-derived products, such as fish, meats, eggs, and dairy products. Several individuals on the vegan diet would also opt-out of consuming honey due to it being produced by bees. A major reason for individuals opting for this variation is usually ethics. This is a diet that is strictly plant-based. It includes seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, fruit, and legumes, which include lentils, peas, and beans.

Vegan diets might incorporate plant-based alternatives to conventional animal products, such as plant-based milk and plant-based egg substitutes. It could also include plant-based meat substitutes such as jackfruit, seitan, tempeh, and tofu.

Dissimilar from other variations, individuals that follow the vegan diet also extend this beyond food choices. Some vegans might stay clear of buying anything that has been derived from animals, such as shoes, clothing, and cosmetics.

Individuals following this diet have a tendency to be low in certain nutrients. It is for this very reason that health care providers recommend that mineral and vitamin supplements be taken. Supplements such as zinc, omega-3 fats, iron, and vitamin B12 just to mention a few.