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The Different Kinds of Vegetarians

There are different kinds of vegetarians, depending on what they eat. The definition of a vegetarian that’s most widely accepted by fellow vegetarians is a person who eats no meat, fish, or poultry. A vegetarian consistently avoids all flesh foods, as well as byproducts of meat, fish, and poultry.

Of course, vegetarian diets vary in the extent to which they exclude animal products:

  • Semi-vegetarian: Someone who’s cutting back on his or her intake of meat, in general. A pollo vegetarian avoids red meat and fish but eats chicken. A pesco pollo vegetarian avoids red meat but eats chicken and fish.

    These terms stretch the true definition of a vegetarian, and only the term semi-vegetarian is actually used with much frequency.

  • Lacto ovo vegetarian: A lacto ovo vegetarian diet excludes meat, fish, and poultry but includes dairy products and eggs. Most vegetarians in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe fall into this category. Lacto ovo vegetarians eat such foods as cheese, ice cream, yogurt, milk, and eggs, as well as foods made with these ingredients.

  • Lacto vegetarian: A lacto vegetarian diet excludes meat, fish, and poultry, as well as eggs and any foods containing eggs. A lacto vegetarian would, however, eat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.

  • Vegan: Technically, the term vegan refers to more than just the diet alone. A vegan is a vegetarian who avoids eating or using all animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, any foods containing by-products of these ingredients, wool, silk, leather, and any nonfood items made with animal byproducts. Some vegans avoid honey.

One adaptation of a vegetarian diet is a raw foods diet, in which adherents eat a diet that consists primarily of uncooked foods. The fruitarian diet consists only of fruits; vegetables botanically classified as fruits, such as tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and avocados; and seeds and nuts.

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