The Breakdown: Types of Vegetarians & Vegans
What’s the difference between a vegetarian & a vegan? Are you no longer vegetarian if you have any meat? You’re a pesca-what?!
I’m not one for labels but it’s always good to know what categories of vegan-ism and/or vegetarianism that you fall into or at the very least, find about vegan/vegetarian diets that may interest you to explore further. Here’s the deal with who eats what:
1. Total Vegan
Vegans abstain from consuming any animal foods (no dairy products, eggs or certain processed foods) as well as using anything in their life outside of food that contain animal products. They refrain from utilizing products such as leather, toiletries made from animal by-products, wool and silk. There is alot more research you may need to do prior to product consumption (vs. being a vegetarian) to ensure what you’re wearing/eating/using is not animal based. There are many groups /resources / support systems out there that make it easier to obtain all this info before usage – plus it never hurts to know where your food is derived from. Also, many companies are now subscribing to the notion of making natural products thus making things such as some deodorants not necessarily targeted to vegans- “accidentally” vegan .
2. Raw Food Vegan
Those who follow a raw vegan diet only eat unprocessed vegan foods that haven’t been cooked above 115° F (or 46° C). They believe that following a raw food diet leads to a stronger immune system and more energy. In following this regime, it’s agreed that cooking food above 115°F is like eating “dead” food with lower nutritional value than in it’s natural state as well as other drawbacks like:
- Converts the food’s natural and easily-digestible minerals into inorganic minerals that are hard for the body to absorb
- Kills all/most vitamins provided by the food naturally
- Alters the pH of the food thus making it acidic in most cases
- Destroys enzymes that your body naturally produces ( it takes longer for the enzymes to help breakdown food because they are “heavier”
- Total Vegetarians – only eat plant foods and do not consume any animal foods including poultry, fish, beef, pork, shellfish, dairy products or eggs.
- Lacto-Vegetarians – eat plant foods and also include diary products into their diet
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians – eat both eggs and diary products along with their plant food diet
Semi-vegetarians have exceptions to the plant food diet including certain meats & fish.
- Pollo-Vegetarians – include poultry such as chicken, duck and turkey into their plant food diet
- Pescatarians / Pesco-Vegetarians - include fish into their plant food diets
The macrobiotic diet includes unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and allows the occasional consumption of fish. Sugar and refined oils are avoided and there’s also an emphasis on eating Asian vegetables, such as daikon, and sea vegetables. Those who practice this diet prefer locally grown, natural foods prepared and eaten in the traditional manner, such as baking, boiling, and steaming.