Thinking about going vegetarian? You may not realize that there’s actually more than one way to be a vegetarian. Indeed, there are at least half a dozen “types” of vegetarianism, all of which have their adherents. Which is for you? It depends on why you’re choosing vegetarianism. Some people choose a vegetarian diet for health considerations, while others may go vegetarian for religious, spiritual, animal welfare, or environmental reasons.
Some of your options include:
- Vegan. Vegans eat no animal foods or foods based on animal products -- such as dairy, eggs, and honey. Many vegans also avoid other items made from animals or by animals, like leather shoes or sheep’s wool sweaters.
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian. These vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish, or poultry. They do consume dairy products and eggs.
- Ovo Vegetarians. These vegetarians avoid meat, fish, poultry, and dairy, but do eat eggs.
- Lacto Vegetarians. As you might guess, this group avoids eating meat, fish, poultry, and eggs -- but eats dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese.
- Semi- or partial vegetarian. In addition to eating vegetables, this group may sometimes eat chicken, seafood, and dairy, but avoids red meat.
- Pescatarian. This group won't eat animal products except for fish.
A 2012 Gallup poll found that 5% of American adults considered themselves to be vegetarian - a number that was unchanged from Gallup surveys in 1999 and 2001. Only 2% of American adults called themselves vegan in the 2012 poll. Findings showed that more women than men are vegetarian, and that unmarried adults and people over age 50 were likelier to forego meat.
Among the nation's celebrity vegetarians and vegans are Ellen DeGeneres, Peter Dinklage, Jessica Chastain, Carrie Underwood, and Sir Paul McCartney.