Types of Vegetarians

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What do Vegetarians eat?
An Addendum to A Vegetarian's Culinary Alphabet

The PASSIONATE VEGETARIAN approach avoids labeling people, suggesting that ways of eating, and other people, be considered more fluidly. Besides, labeling so often leads to filing away, writing off, and just generally diminishing others).
BUT, particularly when individuals are starting to nose around ways of eating which may be new to them, they often want definitions and a way to think in categories. This is concomitant with the "What do vegetarians eat?" question.

So, here are the commonly defined "types" of vegetarians:


Vegans eat only foods of plant origin, no foods of animal origin; that means, no eggs, dairy products, or honey. Soyfoods, legumes, nuts and seitan form the protein building blocks, and are rounded out by grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians

Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat as above with the addition of dairy products (lacto) and/or eggs (ovo). This, in common parlance, is the style of eating most often meant in America when people refer to "vegetarian." Lacto-ovo food choices, in other words, do contain some foods of animal origin, but no foods composed of the animal's actual flesh, or products thereof (for instance, if rice was cooked in chicken stock, it would not be acceptable to your typical lacto-ovo vegetarian).

Pesce-Vegetarians (sometimes called Pescetarians)

In addition to the foods above, pesce-vegetarians eat fish. (Most vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians do not, by the way, consider those who eat fish "real" vegetarians --- you see why definitions can create divisions between people?)

"Vegetarian Sympathizers"

Folks who do eat meat, fish, and chicken --- but perhaps much less than they once did, and perhaps more carefully (they may choose organically raised meats). They lean somewhat towards a low- or no-meat way in their thinking. Frequently Sympathizers and Pesces are on the continuum towards a lacto-ovo or vegan way of eating.


As given on this site and in the book PASSIONATE VEGETARIAN, PV recipes are lacto-ovo, with plenty of vegan options, but always, always sensually pleasing regardless of how you define your way of eating. The recipes are frequently seasonal, not afraid of big flavors, and borrow notes from regional cuisines from all over the world. But PV attitude is just as important. It is inclusive, welcoming, non-proselytizing, and absolutely respectful of anyone's food choices. PV's know that just as you don't have to "be" Italian to love Italian food, you don't have to "be" a vegetarian to love vegetarian food. PV's set a generous, delicious table --- and everyone is welcome. 

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