10 Minute Vegetarian: What Are The Different Types Of Vegetarianism?

Posted Sat, 02/20/2010 - 12:00am by Denise Reynolds

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The term vegetarian means different things to different people. Although the word technically describes someone who does not eat meat, there are many interpretations and views about what a vegetarian actually is.



A new term has been created to describe someone who is trying to eat a more plant-based diet, but does not necessarily shun all animal foods. A Flexitarian is someone who perhaps regularly eats vegetarian meals, but sometimes will include chicken or fish in the diet. Most of the time, people who eat beef would not consider themselves flexitarians.

Another author created the term “less meatatarian” to describe what he is trying to accomplish in his diet. Author Mark Bittman describes it as a person who occasionally eats meat. “Meatless Mondays” were created by the Johns Hopkins University (and promoted by prominent vegetarians such as Paul McCartney) to encourage people to reduce their meat intake. The goal of Meatless Monday is to reduce meat consumption in the United States by 15% for both personal health and the environment.

A pescatarian is one who avoids beef and chicken, but will eat fish and shellfish. Some people use this diet as a stepping stone into giving up meat completely. The macrobiotic diet is a version of the pescatarian diet, allowing occasional fish intake, but generally adhering to a vegetarian lifestyle. Other foods not permitted on the macrobiotic diet include fatty products, most dairy, sugar, coffee and caffeinated tea, stimulating beverages (such as sodas), chocolate, alcohol, refined flour and chemicals and preservatives.


A vegetarian is someone who does not eat the flesh of any animal. Even here, there are varying types of vegetarianism. A lacto-ovo vegetarian is one who eats dairy products and eggs, but no beef, chicken or seafood. Breaking it down even further, a lacto-vegetarian will consume milk but not eggs (ovo means egg).


A strict vegetarian or total vegetarian is more commonly known as a vegan. Aside from shunning all animal flesh, they also avoid dairy, milk, and honey. Many also avoid animal products in other areas of their lives, such as avoiding leather, suede and fur.

The raw food diet takes it a step further. Not only is the diet based a total vegetarian/vegan meal plan, but at least 75% of the diet must also be raw — uncooked, and unprocessed. Drying of foods is okay, such as in the case of dried fruits.

Everyone has a different reason or philosophy for eating less meat or becoming vegetarian. However, eating more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods, and less animal products has been shown over time to be very beneficial to health, so I encourage you to give one of these vegetarian lifestyles a try.

This is a part of my ongoing series, 10 Minute Vegetarian. I’m busy, you’re busy. We want to be healthy, but we don’t have a lot of time. In the 10 minutes it takes you to read this article, you can learn something about the health benefits of the vegetarian diet and how to implement it in your own hectic schedule.



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