Vegetarianism and veganism are gaining popularity rapidly and more and more people are taking the leap to lead a meat-free lifestyle. A lot of research has been done in the past and it continues to link vegetarianism and veganism with higher levels of overall health and energy. Now, the confusion is – with so many different types of dietary preferences – and specifications attached with each, how does one identify which diet you belong to – Vegetarian or Vegan?
The movement of going meatless has brought about a huge change in the food industry around the world. Many restaurants now offer vegetarian options (and sometimes vegan) along with meat dishes in their menu and most offer substitutes like tofu and avocado to replace meats in their popular dishes. Interestingly, that might not be enough! I have been a vegetarian since birth and though I have been raised with dairy products included in my diet, I have never eaten eggs or tried meat. So, sometimes the only vegetarian item on the menu has eggs in it and that does not work with me. Many people find that confusing as most believe that vegetarians eat eggs! Did you know there is more than one type of vegetarian diet?
By the definition, a vegetarian is someone who does not eat any meat, poultry, fish, sea food or by-products of animal slaughter. A vegetarian diet includes fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, pulses and nuts but the inclusion of eggs and dairy depends on the type of the diet one follows. These can be commonly categorized as:
Vegans – vegetarians who do not consume any animal products at all, not even foods made using animal by-products. Not only that, in pure sense, vegans also do not use any product which has come from animals which includes clothes, drugs or even cosmetics that have been tested on animals.
Lacto vegetarians – Vegetarians, who avoid meat and eggs but do consume dairy products.
Lacto- Ovo Vegetarians – Vegetarians, who avoid all animal flesh, but consume eggs along with dairy products.
Apart from these broad categories which define the dietary preferences for the majority of vegetarians and vegans, there are a few other categories. For instance, those who do not eat meat or poultry but do consume fish are known as pescatarians and those who are primarily vegetarians but occasionally consume meat are called flexitarians.
I guess that makes me a Lacto vegetarian! Whether you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, the important thing is to make sure that the diet you are following is providing you with adequate energy and proteins. Especially for vegans, who do not even consume dairy products, it is important to include plant based proteins like tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable proteins and meat substitutes. These days many brands are offering meat substitutes which look and taste similar to their meat counterparts but are completely vegan. For instance, try Loma Linda’s exhaustive range of meatless products which comes in convenient packs to use and are shelf stable. You can also use mixes by Neat foods to meet your culinary needs.
So, as it turns out, there are really many ways to go when it comes to going meatless and you can choose the path you feel the most comfortable about. Either way, you are moving a step closer to making both, your body and the planet a happy place! So, which one are you?
Article by: Prachi G.