Vegan / Vegetarian Diet
 
 
What is a Vegan/Vegetarian?

A vegetarian is someone living on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with or without the use of dairy products and eggs (preferably free-range). 

A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or slaughter by-products such as gelatine or animal fats. 

Types of Vegetarian

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Eats both dairy products and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian diet. 
  • Lacto-vegetarian. Eats dairy products but not eggs. 
  • Vegan. Does not eat dairy products, eggs, or any other animal product. 
  • Fruitarian. A type of vegan diet where very few processed or cooked foods are eaten. Consists mainly of raw fruit, grains and nuts. Fruitarians believe only plant foods that can be harvested without killing the plant should be eaten. 
  • Macrobiotic. A diet followed for spiritual and philosophical reasons. Aims to maintain a balance between foods seen as ying (positive) or yang (negative). The diet progresses through ten levels, becoming increasingly restrictive. Not all levels are vegetarian, though each level gradually eliminates animal products. The highest levels eliminate fruit and vegetables, eventually reaching the level of a brown rice diet. 
  • Other terms can be used in describing various vegetarian diets, though their exact meaning can differ. The term strict vegetarian may refer to a vegan diet, though in other cases it may simply mean a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. The terms common or broad vegetarian may be used to refer to lacto-ovo-vegetarians. Demi-vegetarian is a term sometimes used to describe persons who eat no or little meat but may eat fish. Persons consuming fish but no meat are sometimes called pescetarians. 

    "The term 'Vegetarian' was coined in 1847. It was first formally used on September 30th of that year by Joseph Brotherton and others, at Northwood Villa in Kent, England. The occasion being the innaugural meeting of the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom. The word was derived from the Latin 'vegetus', meaning whole, sound, fresh, lively; (it should not be confused with 'vegetable-arian' - a mythical human whom some imagine subsisting entirely on vegetables but no nuts, fruits, grains etc!) Prior to 1847, non-meat eaters were generally known as 'Pythagoreans' or adherents of the 'Pythagorean System', after the ancient Greek 'vegetarian' Pythagoras. The original definition of 'vegetarian' was "with or without eggs or dairy products" and that definition is still used by the Vegetarian Society today. However, most vegetarians in India exclude eggs from their diet as did those in the classical Mediterranean lands, such as Pythagoras." 

    Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, and poultry. Vegans are vegetarians who abstain from eating or using all animal products, including milk, cheese, other dairy items, eggs, wool, silk, and leather. Among the many reasons for being a vegetarian are health, ecological, and religious concerns, dislike of meat, compassion for animals, belief in non-violence, and economics. The American Dietetic Association has affirmed that a vegetarian diet can meet all known nutrient needs. The key to a healthy vegetarian diet, as with any other diet, is to eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Limit your intake of sweets and fatty foods. 

    People go vegetarian for many reasons. The main reasons are for animals, the environment, and health. Some vegetarians eat eggs and milk products. Those who do sometimes refer to themselves as ovo-lacto vegetarians. Veganism may be defined as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. In dietary terms it refers to the practice of dispensing with *all* animal produce - including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, animal milks, honey, and their derivatives. Abhorrence of the cruel practices inherent in dairy, livestock and poultry farming is probably the single most common reason for the adoption of veganism, but many people are drawn to it for health, ecological, spiritual and other reasons. 

    Why Vegan?
    VEGANISM may be defined as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

    In dietary terms it refers to the practice of dispensing with *all* animal produce - including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, animal milks, honey, and their derivatives.

    Abhorrence of the cruel practices inherent in dairy, livestock and poultry farming is probably the single most common reason for the adoption of veganism, but many people are drawn to it for health, ecological, spiritual and other reasons. 

    "Land, energy and water resources for livestock agriculture range anywhere from 10 to 1000 times greater than those necessary to produce an equivalent amount of plant foods. And livestock agriculture does not merely *use* these resources, it *depletes* them.
    This is a matter of historical record. Most of the world's soil, erosion, groundwater depletion, and deforestation -- factors now threatening the very basis of our food system -- are the result of this particularly destructive form of food production" (Keith Akers, p. 81, "A Vegetarian Sourcebook", 1989). 

    Making the Change to a Vegetarian Diet
    Many people become vegetarian instantly. They totally give up meat, fish and poultry overnight. Others make the change gradually. Do what works best for you.

    Being a vegetarian is as hard or as easy as you choose to make it. Some people enjoy planning and preparing elaborate meals, while others opt for quick and easy vegetarian dishes. 

    Articles:
    Vegetarian FAQ
    What About Protein?
    Tips for Making the Switch to a Vegetarian Diet
    The Diet of Vegans: Food for Body and Spirit
    How to Win an Argument with a Meat Eater

    Websites:
    Grassroots Veganism
    The Australian Vegetarian Society
    The Vegetarian Resource Group


    International Vegetarian Union 
    The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom 

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