Types of Vegetarians

“I’m a level 5 vegan—I don’t eat anything that casts a shadow.” –The Simpsons

People often point to some food item and ask me, “Can you eat this?” My answer is always “Sure, I can eat whatever I want.” I choose not to eat certain things. When deciding what type or kind of vegetarian you want to be, think about what you want to include or avoid. You don’t need to fit into one of these categories, but understanding them will help you think about your short-term and long-term goals when you are becom...MOREing a vegetarian

  • 01 of 07
    Chickpea and spinach curry
    Joan Ransley / Getty Images

    You don’t have to be vegetarian to love vegetarian food! “Flexitarian” is a term recently coined to describe those who eat a mostly vegetarian diet but occasionally eat meat.

  • 02 of 07
    Plate of salmon with asparagus and sauce
    Cultura RM Exclusive/Diana Miller / Getty Images

    The word “pescatarian” is occasionally used to describe those who abstain from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish. Although the word is not commonly used, more and more people are adopting this kind of diet, usually for health reasons or as a stepping stone to a fully vegetarian diet.

  • 03 of 07
    pepper corn black bean quinoa burritos
    nata_vkusidey / Getty Images

    When most people think of vegetarians, they think of lacto-ovo-vegetarians. People who do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products are lacto-ovo vegetarians (“lacto” comes from the Latin for milk, and “ovo” for egg). Lacto-vegetarian is used to describe a type of vegetarian who does not eat eggs but does eat dairy products. Ovo-vegetarian refers to people who do not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarian, that is, a vegetarian who eats both eggs and dairy products, is the most common kind of vegetarian.

    • 04 of 07
      Grain Bowl with Peanut Sauce
      Enrique Díaz / 7cero / Getty Images

      Vegans do not eat meat of any kind and also do not eat eggs, dairy products, or processed foods containing these or other animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin (as opposed who vegetarians, who usually eat dairy products and eggs). Many vegans also refrain from eating foods that are made using animal products that may not contain animal products in the finished process, such as sugar and some wines. There is some debate as to whether certain foods, such as honey, fit into a vegan diet.

      Continue to 5 of 7 below.
    • 05 of 07
      Red pepper wrap and salad
      KarinaUrmantseva/Getty Images

      A raw vegan diet consists of unprocessed vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 F (46 C). “Raw foodists” believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost a significant amount of their nutritional value and are harmful to the body.

    • 06 of 07
      Close-Up Of Millet In Spoon On Wooden Table
      Michelle Arnold / EyeEm / Getty Images

      The macrobiotic diet, revered by some for its healthy and healing qualities, includes unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and allows the occasional consumption of fish. Sugar and refined oils are avoided. Perhaps the most unique qualifier of the macrobiotic diet is its emphasis on the consumption of Asian vegetables, such as daikon, and sea vegetables, such as wakame and other seaweeds.

    • 07 of 07
      Grilled tofu
      Steve Brown Photography / Getty Images

      If you're interested in exploring a healthy vegetarian diet but haven't yet made the leap, check out my tips for how to become vegetarian.