Believe it or not, I was not born a vegetarian. I had to work hard at it and I did take baby steps. I did not just jump right into the vegetarian lifestyle. I began eliminating meat from my diet at the age of 12. I had to figure it out (and I am still trying to figure it out) and learn how to replace meat with healthy foods that would not only nourish my body, but keep me feeling full and just as important, tasted great. ‘My father, the vegan,’ was a vegetarian for a couple of years, then became a vegan. So as I took my journey to become a vegetarian, there was a point in time when I was still eating seafood (and no other flesh) and I remember him saying to me, “Ebbie Webbie (that’s what he calls me) when are you going to become a REAL VEGETARIAN?” I was like what, are you kidding me? I thought I was a real vegetarian. Who defines who the real vegetarians are? Are you less of a vegetarian because you eat dairy, eggs, or fish? My answer is “no” but others would say differently. Either way, you have to start the vegetarian transition somewhere and to help you design a meatless plan that works best for you, here are 10 different types of vegetarian diets that you can adopt to assist you with becoming a “real” vegetarian:
Lacto Ovo – This vegetarian diet consists of eggs & diary, but do not consist of any animal flesh or seafood.
Ovo – If you are an Ovo Vegetarian then you don’t eat any flesh, seafood, or diary products, but you still consume eggs.
Lacto – Lacto Vegetarians do not eat any flesh, seafood or eggs, but still enjoys the taste of diary products.
Pollo – If you are a Pollo – Vegetarian, then you are probably still trying to ease into the vegetarian lifestyle. You still eat chicken, but no seafood or other animal flesh.
Pesco Pollo – I was a pesco-pollo vegetarian when I was 12. I ate seafood and poultry and no other animal flesh.
Semi (part-time) – If you are a part-time vegetarian then you still eat meat/flesh but you have reduced your consumption. For example, you may be a vegetarian Monday – Friday, but once the weekend hits, you want chicken or steak.
Pesco – Pescatarians just eat seafood and no other flesh or meats.
Fruitarian – I would like to meet a fruitarian. Fruitarians only eat fruits and veggies that do not hurt, harm, or suck the life out of the plants from which they stemmed from. An example would be oranges and apples.
Vegan – Don’t eat any flesh or any products that come from something that once had a face (is how I like to describe it). They don’t eat honey, wear leather, silk, or use or eat gelatin products.
Raw – Raw vegetarians only eat whole grains, raw or lightly steamed vegetables and fresh foods. Some raw vegetarians don’t even cook their grains and beans, they just let them soak for a couple of days until they are soft enough to consume.
Remember, which ever path you take to become a vegetarian is yours and yours alone. Just remember to eat a healthy, diverse range of fruits, vegetables, and plant based proteins to support your smart and new decision to become a vegetarian.