Friday, 8 February 2013

Defining Your Vegetarianism

It seems to me that a lot of people think there is one standard definition for a vegetarian and that any variation is not acceptable.  These people are sadly misled because there are actually several different types of vegetarianism.

Some vegetarians are stricter than others and therefore they follow a more rigid diet.  The most popular varieties of vegetarianism are ovo-, lacto-, ovo-lacto, semi- and vegan. 
  • Ovo-vegetarian: includes eggs but not dairy
  • Lacto-vegetarian: includes dairy but not eggs
  • Ovo-lacto vegetarian: includes both eggs and dairy 
  • Semi-vegetarian: includes fish and/or free-range poultry

Every one of these diets is similar, except for semi-vegetarian, in that they exclude all forms of meat.  Semi-vegetarians consume fish and/or poultry because they define meat only as “mammalian flesh”, as defined by Wikipedia.

Vegans are a completely different breed of vegetarian, if you ask me, but I will discuss that at a later date.  

As you can see, not all vegetarians are alike.  We all have our reasons for eating, or not eating, what we do, and there is no right or wrong way to be a vegetarian.  Vegetarianism is a personal lifestyle choice (key word being ‘personal’) and everyone has the right to define the parameters of their life.


  1. Thank you for defining these! I knew there were variations but I never knew the exact terminology. Thanks for clearing things up Erin!

  2. I think it's important to recognize that it's a personal choice. I never understand why people criticize other people for not eating meat! I think it's great! People who use ill informed attacks like "how will you get nutrients?!" or "that's dumb" are just ignorant, and probably don't know about all the unhealthy choices in their own diet!

  3. Very good description. Next time people ask me what kind of vegetarian I am and then say "what's that mean?" I will just point them to this site. I understand people are interested but it can get frustrating having to explain it to every person you know. Thank you for making pointing out the definitions to everyone.

  4. I never really understood who would be considered what type of vegetarian. Thanks for the post. It cleared things up for me.

  5. I should send these definitions to my sister because she is a different kind of vegetarian every week and never knows how to defy her vegetarian-ism!!! (that's not a word haha)

  6. I didn't know there were so many different terms. Thanks for educating me further.