Most people who live in bigger urban areas have probably met some sort of vegetarian in their life. If you haven’t met someone who is currently abstaining from meat, there’s a good chance that you know someone who has given it up at some point in time. There are many reasons why people chose to eat veggies instead of animal protein; environmental concerns, health concerns, animal rights concerns, and religious reasons are just a few off the top of my head. Some people will just dabble in vegetarianism for a short period of time, maybe for lent or for weight loss, others will keep going for a lifetime.
Vegetarianism isn’t as black and white as it may seem. Just as there are many reasons why people chose this lifestyle, there are also many different types of vegetarians. Many vegetarian organizations will state that the term should only be reserved for people who don’t eat animals, but regardless of this there are people who follow different diets, and those have been named. The definitions below are based on what is considered typical. Each person is different and some may having varying terms or meanings for the ones below.
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: This is someone who abstains from all animal protein, including fish and poultry. They will however consume dairy and eggs.
Vegan: Is a vegetarian who does not consume any animal product including dairy, eggs, and honey. Many vegans will not wear silk or leather as they are made by/from animals.
Semi-Vegetarian: This is a very loose term. In general it refers to someone who abstains from eating mammals (cows, pigs, sheep, etc.) but will still consume seafood and poultry. I like to refer to them as F&F veggies, short for fish and fowl. They are also known as Pollo-pescetarians.
Pescetarian: This is someone who does not eat any animals or birds but will consume seafood.
Ovo Vegetarian: Is a vegetarian who does not eat any animal protein or dairy, but will eat eggs.
Lacto Vegetarian: This is a person who does not consume any meat, fish, eggs or poultry, but will consume dairy.
Fruitarians: Is a vegan who will only eat plant matter that can be collected without harming the plant.
Flexitarian: This yet again is a very loose term. In general a flexitarian is someone who follows a vegetarian diet of some sort the majority of the time, but who sometime eats meat.
A lot of vegetarians tend to get flack for deciding to moo-ve away from eating meat (pun intended). If you haven’t ever tried it, I recommend that you give it a go on occasion. Believe it or not swapping meat out even one day a week can help you save money. Have a look at the Meatless Monday movement (http://meatlessmondays.ca/) if you are open to trying it once a week. Track your grocery bills for one week before and one week after and see the difference (just make sure that you are buying comparable items in those weeks). If your household consists of carnivores try adding tofu, beans or other legumes to you meat dishes leading up to your first veggie meal.