Types of Vegetarian Diets
A vegetarian diet is one consisting entirely or mostly of foods derived from plants. Most committed vegetarians fall into one of the categories listed below.
The vegan diet is the most restrictive form of vegetarianism. Vegans eat plant products only. All animal products, including dairy products and eggs, are off limits. Even foods that might sound safe are off limits to the strictest vegans. Examples of such foods include honey, because it comes from bees, and cane sugar, which may be refined with the use of animal products. When preparing a vegetarian menu,a chef should keep in mind that a menu appropriate to a vegan diet has the broadest appeal because it can be eaten by all categories of vegetarians.
- Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products in addition to plant products but will not eat other animal products.
- Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs in addition to plant products.
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat dairy and egg products as well as plant products.
- Pesco-vegetarians eat fish and plant products but not meat or poultry. They may or may not eat dairy and egg products.
Vegetarianism may be based on strong ethical or moral beliefs or on health concerns. Naturally, the chef who cares for his or her customers is eager to respect these beliefs and concerns. Vegetarians may have chosen their diet based on deeply held ethical or religious beliefs and may be dedicated to following their diet rigorously. In addition, many people choose vegetarianism for health reasons. Vegetarian diets are usually low in fat and cholesterol and in addition are free of the hormones and drugs often used in the raising of animals. Environmental concerns also lead some people to vegetarianism. Producing plant foods requires fewer natural resources than raising meat animals. Economic factors are yet another consideration in that vegetables and grains are, on average, much less expensive than meat, poultry, and seafood. Finally, some people are occasional vegetarians simply because they enjoy the food.
– Source: Professional Cooking by Wayne Gisslen