"What type of vegetarian are you?"

In conversation with people, food is often an easy topic that seems to rears its hungry head. And inevitably at some point or another, I end up professing “I’m a vegetarian.” The response that many times I receive is along the lines of “I’m mostly a vegetarian” or “I’m a vegetarian but don’t eat red meat” or “I’m a vegetarian but only eat chicken and fish.” . . . . This prompts me to make the request in the image below:


Vegetarian Meme

. . .

yup 🙂

I’m not exactly sure when someone suddenly decided that chicken and fish joined the fruit and vegetable food group. It seems to make about as much sense as the false and sensationalized stories that Congress was trying to declare pizza as a vegetable.

That said, it’s obvious the perception and definition of a vegetarian is very loosely interpreted. So how about this – let’s focus not on what type of vegetarian that we may be, but rather what is our dietary preference?

Below is a nice summary of DIETARY PREFERENCES that should help in providing some clarity:

  • Vegan – This is one that we have all likely heard about. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum from a carnivore, vegans do not eat any meat (red or white….that includes seafood and poultry), dairy products, certain wines and sugars, honey or any animal byproducts (such as gelatin.) They also tend to abstain from the use of leather and fur products.
  • Fruitarian – This one is new to me and I only heard about it after recently watching the movie “Notting Hill.” Fruitarians lead an even stricter diet than vegans. They follow the same restrictions as a vegan however will only eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that naturally fall from a plant or tree and can be harvested without killing or harming the plant. There is some wiggle room here in that some fruitarians do not eat nuts and seeds and others do. This I’m guessing is a personal choice. I have never personally known a fruitarian but would love to hear from one. Please do email me if you know of someone. It could make for an interesting chat/post.
  • Lacto Vegetarian – Now we’re getting into the realm of true “types of vegetarians.” A lacto vegetarian (me) is the same as a vegan but does partake in dairy products such as milk and cheese. Mmmmm CHEESE. Ahem…Excuse me…I digress.
  • Ovo Vegetarian – This one is like a lacto vegetarian but with the dairy and egg restriction flipped – they avoid all meat and dairy products but they do eat eggs. Very rarely have I come across someone with this dietary preference.
  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian – A lacto-ovo vegetarian is a combo of the two vegetarians listed above but are game for eating any dairy and egg products.
  • Pescatarian – Now we’re braving into a new territory of terminology. <Insert choice of dramatic music here> Pescatarians avoid only red meat and poultry.
  • Pollo-tarian – Pronounced poyo, someone of this dietary preference avoids red meat and seafood only.
  • Flexitarian –  For some reason this particular term brings to mind an interesting image of a combo of yoga meets food…. That’s not really the case however it could make for an interesting act on “America’s Got Talent.” I have found an increasing number of my friends and acquaintances that follow this diet mainly for health reasons over anything else. They are similar to lacto-ovo vegetarians but incorporate a limited amount of seafood and poultry into their diet depending on their desire and preference at any given moment.
  • Pseudovegetarian – I made this one up but I will say that I do know some people that fit in this category. This is the person that proudly and loudly proclaims “I’m a vegetarian” and the moment you sit down at the table, they’re ordering the chicken parmigiana or beef stroganoff from the waiter. Vegetarian my ass!
  • And then at the complete opposite end of the spectrum we have the straight up carnivore. I don’t know of anyone who is a pure carnivore (at least not anyone human), but I can think of a handful of friends that come pretty darn close.

So having given the full dietary gradient, I’m sure we all fall into one bucket or another. Or perhaps have our feet in two different buckets and are in a transitory phase of evolving from one to the next.

Whatever it is and whatever your reasons may be – it is your dietary preference.


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  • fb_avatar

    There is a tidal wave of consciousness sweeping across the land. Here are two uplifting videos to help everyone understand why the number of vegans has doubled in less than 3 years and why so many are making this life affirming choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE and http://www.veganvideo.org

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    What would I be considered I eat dairy products and seafood some times but I cut out all meat I don't know what to call my self when I can telling them that I just don't meat

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Yamilet Samaniego:

    You are someone who eats what she likes

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    I went to university with a fruitarian ... his name was Ian, he was 25, he looked like jesus if jesus was as an albino...
    he had really pale white skin, long white hair and beard with incredibly pale blue eyes he would bring a half rotten paw-paw to school every day for lunch as well as a garden salad...(couldn't help but notice his salad also contained marijuana leaves haha)
    he only ever ate food that had fallen from a tree/plant and was already on the ground.... this included the tea leaves he grew himself to make the liquid concoction he drank everyday... i think it was a mixture of tea and an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices?

  • I'm one of the rare "ovo vegetarians." Milk in any form shuts my digestion down- then I find I just don't feel well after eating meats. For now eggs don't cause me a problem, so I eat about 6 a week - (two per meal). Actually I understand the "pseudos" because when dining out I have risked the meat because of lack of confidence in restaurant salads.

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    I am a flexitarian who 9/10 follows an ovo-vegetarian diet. Once in a blue moon I eat pork or chicken, no beef or shellfish ever, and rarely any regular fish. I also never eat any dairy due to a severe allergy, so it's always funny to get into discussions with people about dietary preferences. I'm working on cutting out chicken and pork to hopefully complete the transformation (lol).

  • Interesting find and read. Not sure if you're still posting about this topic? However, I totally can appreciate your approach and desire to clarify the differences between Vegetarian,Vegan,etc... after reading the types I've now added to my dramatic (add sound) pescatarian to include Lacto Vegetarian. Love me some cheese recently switched to Almond cheese and/or soy. Now looking to try vegan wine!!!
    Again I enjoy the post.
    Coach Ann

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    Vegetarian is not eating meat fish chicken or anything that comes from an animal, vegan. Or you can be an ovo lacto vegetarian that eats only things that grow out of the ground and dairy and eggs, which also don't kill animals. People who eat chicken and fish are not at all vegetarian.

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    My son is bird obsessed. Talks of being an ornithologist when he grows up. He now refuses to eat chicken, turkey, etc. He's A OK with eating cow and pig. But no birds. What would that be called? Lol

  • I was just looking for someone with the same diet as mine... but I can't seem to find one. I don't eat dairy, eggs, poultry, or red meat. I do eat seafood and plants. I don't know if i ever plan on getting off off seafood but its going to be hard going to college and not being able to cook my own food.

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    This is probably a futile effort, but here goes. There are only two types of vegetarian: complete vegetarian, eating no animal products whatsoever, and vegan. The difference is not in diet, for both observe the same dietary restrictions. A complete vegetarian can choose not to eat any food derived from animal sources for a number of different reasons, such as health, religion, influence from friends, etc. A vegan makes the choice for the reason of compassion for animals.That is the difference. A vegetarian could be a hunter, a vegan could not.

    But wait, you say. The dictionary doesn't agree with that. Correct. The dictionary reflects usage. If enough people get it wrong, then the dictionary reflects the misuse and calls it right.

    So if someone declares himself/herself a lacto/ovo "vegetarian," congratulate them for moving closer to becoming a real vegetarian. In the meantime, feel free to snicker at "vegan" foods and recipes.

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