Posted on January 02 2018
The general term Vegetarianism is used in describing the act of eliminating meat from a diet. But on a technical scale, this is too broad a description to encompass the various types of diet being engaged in by people making a decision to eliminate meat from their diet. There are so many different aspects to a vegetarian diet and these have their own terminologies. Vegetarianism involves the exclusion of all types of meat; poultry, seafood or other types of animal from the individual’s diet. It might also include abstinence from products gotten from slaughtered animals.
Varieties of vegetarianism include veganism, ovo-vegetarianism, lacto-vegetarianism, ovo-lacto vegetarianism, Raw veganism, fruitarianism, Hindu vegetarianism, and Buddhist vegetarianism.
Vegans are the most extreme variety of vegetarians, they avoid all animal related forms of food, including dairy and egg products and some go as far as avoiding completely all products gotten from animals, including fur, leather, beeswax, goose-fat polish and even silk clothing. Vegetarians are inspired to develop this lifestyle by a variety of factors. Health practitioners have on occasion prescribed vegetarian or vegan diets to patients in order to treat certain conditions or keep them under control. Social, cultural, religious, economic, aesthetic and ethical or even political issues drive most vegetarians to take up this lifestyle, while the health benefits come in as a close second or a bonus to them for taking up a plant-based or plants only diet. Most vegans opt for a vegan diet due to their respect or value for sentient life and therefore frown on any sort of situation that might harm animals in any way; physically or psychologically. They are most often the proponents of animal rights and environmentally favourable laws.
Ovo-vegetarianism and Lac to-vegetarianism
An Ovo-lacto vegetarian or Lacto-ovo vegetarian does not indulge in eating meat, fish or sea food, but does take eggs and dairy which are animal products. The terms Ovo and Lacto are gotten from the Latin terms of egg (ovum) and milk (Lacto) respectively. Ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes fruits, nuts, milk, cheese, eggs, kefir, grains, yogurts, roots and fungi. Most vegetarians are assumed to be Ovo-Lacto vegetarians, and are widely catered to around the world, and a lot of religious sects are practitioners of this form of vegetarianism, including various Hindu and Christian sects. This sort of vegetarianism makes up for some of the main dietary deficiencies in a vegan diet such as Calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12 and necessary proteins and amino acids. This form of vegetarianism might be easier to maintain as there is not much deficiency to be dealt with and animal products avoidance is minimal.
There are also Lacto vegetarians who do not take egg products at all but are okay with taking dairy products, and Ovo-vegetarians who take eggs and egg based food but avoid dairy products completely.
Fruitarianism consists of an entirely fruit based diet, sometimes with a bit of nuts in the mix, which is often a form of dietary veganism, excluding all animal products. This diet might be adopted due to religious, ethical, cultural or economic reasons, but is highly unsuitable as a long term diet and totally unsuitable for children and teens. A particular study into this diet alluded to the effects of certain fruitarian diets in improving glucose tolerance and giving way to ideal weight in previously overweight participants in the study. This of course has great potential in the world of weight loss and dieting, but warnings of dieticians that this diet is not wholly suitable for adults in the long run and could prove fatal when imposed on children should be taken into cognizance.
Raw veganism is another aspect of veganism combined with Raw Foodism, diet which not only excludes meat and meat based products but also does not include foods cooked at a temperature above 48 degrees Celsius. There are a lot of restrictions imposed by the requirements of this diet and most participants in raw veganism might have to result to taking supplements to make up their average dietary requirements especially vitamin B12 which is not found in most raw vegetables and plants.
There is a general consensus that a vegetarian diet naturally results in loss of excess weight, while most vegans especially low-fat vegans seems to show the highest rate of weight loss. With a below ten percent obesity rate among vegetarians and vegans, it is quite easy to accept that a vegetarian diet is the best way to lose weight. A well carried out vegetarian or vegan diet results in a highly reduced consumption of cholesterol and fat-rich food, and higher consumption of fiber rich and organic healthy foods, all proponents of weight loss as a whole. Although a whole lot of studies are coming up about the risks or benefits of animal fats over plant derived fats, there is still so much more evidence for the vegetarian lifestyle if done right.
Claims of reduced cardiovascular health problems and various cancers among vegetarians as opposed to meat eaters have been proposed to advance the benefits of eliminating animals from human diets. Taking the vegan way is an almost sure fire way to weight loss but can only be wholly effective when the diet is followed right. Also, nutritional deficiencies of any vegan or vegetarian diets should be taken into cognizance to prevent negative or undesirable results.
Vegan or vegetarian foods are not altogether healthy foods automatically, as highly processed vegan foods and faux meat products which constitute vegan substitutes for unhealthy non-vegetarian foods might themselves be highly unhealthy or nutritionally deficient. Over indulgence in sweets and candies is absolutely counter-productive to the vegetarian diets as whole foods and healthy produce is the basic requirements for plant based diets. Going vegetarian is not about getting rid of meat or meat based products only, but primarily about a vegetable based diet as the etymology implies. Vegetarian diets have long been credited for the health and longevity of certain religious sects which recommend and practice it, sects such as most Buddhist or Hindu monks, and Asians as a whole who have a much less obese population than most western and European nations.