Not all vegetarians are created equal. And those who call themselves vegan do not necessarily eat the same way. There are different types of vegan diets and some of it is listed as follows:
- Ovo-lacto. These are the people to tag themselves as ‘vegetarians” without being really specific as to what they eat. Meaning, they can eat dairy products and eggs, but not meat or fish. This is probably the most popular type of vegan diet. There are also those who are “ovo-vegetarians” who can eat eggs but never dairy, and the “lacto-vegetarians” who can eat dairy foods but not eggs.
- Vegan. People who are under this category simply won’t consume any type of animal products like fish, meat, dairy and eggs as well any kind of animal by-products. The strictest of vegans won’t also consider even dressing themselves with clothing made from animal-based materials such as silk, wool, leather, mink and fur. They will also most likely to skip eating honey or use beeswax for any purpose.
- Raw vegan. They avoid all animal products, and in addition they won’t consume anything that’s been cooked. They mostly believe that cooking damages the natural nutrients found in food. They do however eat food that has been processed in some other ways like smoothies, juices, sprouted legumes, dried fruits and nut butters.
- Pescetarian. They are the ones who don’t eat meat but can tolerate fish and shellfish.
- Flexitarian. They are what are known as the “semi-vegetarians.” Their diets consist mainly of plant-based foods, but they don’t avoid meats in a complete fashion.
The Benefits of Going Vegetarian
People may have a huge number of reasons of going on a veggie or meatless diet. Some do it because of religion like that of Hinduism, Jainism and some branches of Buddhism, others skip meats because of animal welfare concerns, and some just want to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle simply because they feel that it’s a healthier way to live.
Another benefit of going vegan is probably its cost. Meat is rather expensive, and giving up on its consumption can make a huge plus on your budget. Although, only a few people really give up eating meat due to monetary concerns, the cost savings is something like an added frill for anyone who has shifted to a vegetarian lifestyle.
- Animal welfare advocacy. Most vegetarians skip meats because they are not supporters of killing animals for food and are fierce believers of animal rights.
- Environmental benefits. Maintaining factory farms are not just hard on the animals themselves, they’re also quite taxing to the environment as they produce waste products that can pollute its surrounding bodies of water and land.
- Health benefits. Cutting down from meat consumption can result to healthier bodies, so to speak. Previous research has shown that vegetarians are likely to reap the following health benefits, all thanks to their meatless diets:
- Lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases
- Lower blood pressure levels
- Lower levels of bad cholesterol
- Lower risk for diabetes type 2
- Lower BMI (body-mass index; an indicator of healthy weight)
- Lower risks for cancer development
The Challenges of Being a Vegetarian
Being a vegetarian certainly comes with a lot of perks; however, not a lot of people are too keen on jumping on the lifestyle. The challenge to being vegetarian is changing your lifestyle entirely by learning a new way to eat and enjoy those meatless food varieties. Before going full vegan, it’s only natural for people to wonder where they’ll get the all the other nutrients their body needs in the absence of meat and what to do probably they’ve decided to eat out. Also, in some cases, vegetarians sometimes have to worry about how they’ll deal with relatives and friends who might not understand their preferred eating habits.
Another challenge to being a vegan is meeting their nutritional needs. Some of the nutrients that they need to focus on may include protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.
If you want to try going vegetarian but is unsure if it will fit you, please remember that it should not be an all-or nothing decision. Instead of going cold turkey on meat, start by cutting down on the meat portions that you eat. By giving up meat on a one night per week basis, you can in turn save a bit of cash, lessen your carbon footprint, and manage to add a bit of variety into your diet. Once you’ve grown more familiar with the concept of going vegan and green, you can then decide if you want to pursue it as a lifestyle.