people think of vegetarians as one homogeneous group that just
doesnít eat meat. But nothing could be further from the truth.
There are different categories of vegetarians as diverse as the
reasons for going vegetarian in the first place.
A vegetarian is generally defined as
someone who doesnít eat meat. But someone who is vegetarian could
conceivably eat dairy products such as milk, eggs and cheese. A
lacto ovo vegetarian doesnít eat meat, fish or poultry, but does
consume eggs, milk or cheese. A lacto vegetarian consumes milk and
cheese products, but doesnít consume eggs.
A vegan is someone who doesnít consume
any animal product or by-product, including dairy food. They eat
only vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and legumes. They also donít
use animal products, such as leather. Vegans also donít use white
sugar because itís often processed with a substance derived from
animal bones that whitens the sugar.
are other categories within the vegetarian community. Fruitarians,
for example, eat only fruit. Their rationale is that fruits,
including fruits such as tomatoes, are self-perpetuating and donít
need to be planted to create the food source. They consider it a
way of eating thatís most in balance and harmony with the earth,
the most natural. There is also a type that eats mostly as a
vegetarian with a little meat, poultry, eggs, milk and cheese.
This type is called flextarian.
All of the above will eat cooked
vegetables, fruits and legumes. There is also a growing movement
towards eating only 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, itís best consumed raw, or juiced. If cooked at
all, it should only be cooked to slightly over 100 degrees, so the
nutrients are still retained.
The more restrictive you become with your
diet, however, the more educated you need to become to be sure
youíre getting all the necessary proteins and vitamins that you
need to maintain good health, especially muscle and heart health.