What is a Vegetarian?

It has been over one week since I committed to a vegetarian diet and lifestyle. I feel incredible and as an added bonus I have lost 2 pounds! The biggest obstacle this past week was when I had to do a taste testing of a recipe that included turkey pepperoni. My preceptor was surprised that I wouldn’t taste it when I told him that I was a vegetarian earlier that week. And of course, I didn’t, but it also made me think about one of the things that I learned when I was at FNCE: A lot of people that say they are vegetarians do not know what it means.

There are varying degrees of vegetarians, which is why it can be confusing to so many. Here is a breakdown:

Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian: does not consume beef, poultry, pork, or fish. Still consumes milk (and dairy products) and eggs.

Lacto-Vegetarian: all of the above, but they omit eggs as well.

Ovo-Vegetarian: does not consume the meat listed above or dairy, but does eat eggs.

Pescetarian: some consider this a version of vegetariansim as they consume no meat with the exception of fish. Sometimes they will leave out eggs/dairy as well.

Vegan: does not consume beef, poultry, pork, fish, eggs or dairy. No animal products or byproducts are consumed, including honey.

So what does a vegetarian eat? Grains, nuts, beans, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and meat/dairy alternatives. It may seem limiting, but the options are really endless! FitSugar did a great post the other day about some products that one may assume were vegetarian, but had ingredients that were not vegetarian.

A vegetarian diet is not any more restrictive than a normal, healthy, balanced diet. While I definitely feel conscious of what I eat, I am not more so than I was before. Part of that came with the dietitian-in-training mindset (i.e. food on the mind all the time!), and part of that came from being overweight several years ago and knowing that I have to plan in order to succeed.

And yes, you can get all of the nutrients you need, whether you are a child, teenager, young adult, pregnant mom, breastfeeding, or aging adult. These will likely be future posts for future days.

What questions do you have about vegetarianism? What surprises you most about the vegetarian diet?

To Your Health,

Megan (Nutmegs)

(Images from here and here)

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