Many people think of vegetarians as one homogeneous group. Really, nothing could be further from the truth! There are different categories as diverse as the reasons for going meat free in the first place. When you choose to go meat-free (yay!) you’ll generally fall into one of the following categories:
A vegetarian is generally defined as someone who doesn’t eat meat. But someone who is vegetarian could conceivably eat dairy products such as milk, eggs and cheese.
- A lacto ovo vegetarian doesn’t eat meat, fish or poultry, but does consume eggs, milk, or cheese.
- A lacto vegetarian consumes milk and cheese products, but doesn’t consume eggs.
A vegan is someone who doesn’t consume any animal product or by-product, including dairy food. They eat only vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and legumes. They also don’t use animal products, such as leather. Vegans also don’t use white sugar because it’s often processed with a substance derived from animal bones that whitens the sugar. In my strong opinion, being vegan is possibly one of the noblest things you can do for animals due to the cruel nature of dairy farms.
A fruitarian eats mostly fruit. Their rationale is that fruits, including fruits such as tomatoes, are self-perpetuating and don’t need to be planted to create the food source. They consider it a way of eating that’s most in balance and harmony with the earth, the most natural. I have yet to meet a fruitarian, but they certainly do exist.
Among all the groups I mention above, there is a growing movement towards eating more raw, or living foods. This based on the assumption that cooking food processes most of the nutrients out of it, and to get all the nutritional value, vitamins and amino acids from food, it’s best consumed raw, or juiced. If you want to try eating more raw foods for the nutritional benefits, if food is cooked at all, it should only be cooked to slightly over 100 degrees, so the nutrients are still retained.
At the end of the day, whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or something in between, stay educated to be sure you’re getting all the necessary proteins and vitamins to maintain good health, especially muscle and heart health. It can take some practice, fails, and successes, but I promise it will be 100% worth it!