In recent years, the vegetarian diet has massively grown in popularity. This is largely due to people considering this way of eating being healthier, as vegetarian diets emphasise eating plant-based foods over animal products, with a focus on fresh fruit and vegetables.
There are many reasons as to why you might choose to start following a vegetarian diet and numerous different ways in which you approach this way of eating. With that in mind, here are 3 different types of vegetarian diets that you can follow.
Why Follow A Vegetarian Diet?
Whilst everyone’s reasons for becoming vegetarian are different, there are some main reasons as to why someone might decide to follow a vegetarian or some plant-based diet. Studies have shown that animal products, particularly those produced on a large scale, can include unwanted substances or cause certain side effects, which can cause people to transition to a plant-based diet.
Following a vegetarian or plant-based diet can also provide individual health benefits that can support weight loss and reduce your risk of developing health concerns such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Some people may choose to go plant-based due to the environmental concerns associated with a carnivore diet, or due to ethical reasons.
Most people choose to follow a vegetarian or plant-based diet due to health, ethical or environmental reasons. Alongside the traditional vegetarian diet, which excludes all meat products and by-products, there are different variations of the vegetarian diet that almost everyone can follow. It’s up to the individual to design the vegetarian diet to fit their lifestyle.
An ovo-vegetarian diet is a vegetarian diet that doesn’t include dairy products, but does incorporate eggs. In addition to excluding fish and meat, an ovo vegetarian diet excludes all dairy products and foods made using them, such as cheese, milk, butter, sour cream, ice cream and yoghurt. However, someone following an ovo vegetarian diet would include eggs as part of their diet and they would also use eggs in baking or cooking.
A flexitarian diet is designed to be a more flexible approach to vegetarianism and instead of following a strict vegetarian diet, allows a bit more variety in terms of diet. It is a diet that emphasises the benefits of plant-based foods, whilst allowing small and irregular amounts of animal products. Flexitarian diets take a plant-focused approach to eating but include some animal products such as eggs and dairy, if not already consumed regularly, in moderation. The main basis of a flexitarian diet includes consuming a diet that consists mostly of whole plant foods, meaning that almost all protein comes from plants, as opposed to animal products.
Most flexitarian diets also limit sugar intake and processed foods, if possible, and incorporate animal and meat products occasionally. A person who eats a flexitarian diet technically wouldn’t be considered a vegetarian, as they still consume animal products, even if only regularly.
A vegan diet is one that excludes all animal products, including meats, fish, eggs and dairy products. Those on vegan diets may also choose to exclude honey, as it is a product produced by the bees, which is an example of why ethics are a major reason as to why some people choose a vegan diet.
A vegan diet is one that consists solely of plants foods, such as fruits vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. Vegan diets also incorporate plant-based alternatives to meat and animal products, such as plant-based egg substitutes and plant-based meat replacements such as jackfruit, tofu and tempeh.
Some people who choose to follow a vegan diet also carry this into their everyday life, as opposed to just their diet. This can include avoiding products such as clothing, shoes and cosmetics and instead choosing natural materials.
There are many different variants of the vegetarian diet and no matter your preferences or choices, there is likely to be a diet that is right for you. If you decide to follow a vegetarian diet, then ensure that you continue to eat a varied and balanced diet. Some vegetarian diets can be low in nutrients and vitamins, which can lead to health concerns such as iron deficiency, fatigue or mood swings. It is recommended that, if you consume a vegetarian diet, you take certain vitamin and mineral supplements, including magnesium supplements, vitamin B12, iron and omega-3.