Types of Vegetarians
When you're cooking for vegetarians, it helps to know what "kind" they are. Yes, there are many different kinds of vegetarians. Every person makes their own individual food choices, but most vegetarians can be divided into these main categories:
- Vegans avoid all animal products. They don't eat eggs, dairy products, or even honey. Many vegans also avoid anything made from animal products, such as leather, fur, and wool.
- Fruitarians eat only fruits, seeds, nuts, and other plant components that can be gathered without harming the plant.
- Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products, but not eggs. They may or may not avoid non-dietary use of animal products.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products. This is the most common group of vegetarians and what most people think of when someone says they're "a vegetarian."
- Pesce-vegetarians include fish in their diet.
- Pollo-vegetarians eat fowl, such as chicken and turkey, but avoid red meat and pork.
- Flexitarians mainly eat vegetarian food, but will occasionally make exceptions.
Very strict vegetarians don't really consider people who place themselves in the pesce, pollo, or flexitarian categories to be "real" vegetarians, but it's not like there are firm labeling guidelines. Many people begin their transition to vegetarianism by eliminating red meat and then slowly purging their diet of other animal products. And once people discover the incredible variety of vegetarian choices, they'll never miss the meat!
Do you have some vegetarian friends coming for dinner and you're unsure what to make them? Check out our article on welcoming vegetarians into your home.