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7 Shades of Vegetarian: What Do Each of Them Entail?

It’s likely you know at least one or two people who identify as vegetarians. Certainly, it’s a movement which is on the increase. While they may go by the same identifier, you might be wondering why they don’t follow exactly the same food diet.

There are actually several vegetarian classifications, with some of them probably stretching the very definition of the term.

Before diving into the different classifications, one thing is clear: vegetarianism is about avoiding meat. However, people from varying cultures and beliefs go about this in different ways. Some may choose the stringent path of totally eliminating the meat option for their diets, while some may prefer to consume a select few animal-based products.

What are the different ways vegetarians consume food?


This is a group that mostly follows a vegetarian diet, but will not shy away from occasionally eating meat. Passionate vegetarians will most likely scoff at this label as it blatantly goes against the basic tenet of avoiding meat.

Although flexitarians may strongly prefer healthy vegan restaurants and plant-based dishes, there isn’t really any standard definition of occasional meat-eating means — whether or not it’s acceptable to eat meat once a week or twice a month.


Following the semi-vegetarian approach of flexitarians, this group takes it up a notch by limiting their meat consumption exclusively to fish and seafood. They will not eat chicken, pork, beef, and other animals.

Some resources will classify pescatarians as a slightly more stringent group of flexitarians.


This group restricts their meat consumption to poultry and fowl and they will avoid eating red meat and seafood. They are also considered as semi-vegetarians.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians

“Lacto” in Latin refers to milk, while “ovo” refers to egg.

As the most common type of vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarians will avoid red meat, fowl, and seafood entirely. However, they will welcome dairy-based products like cheese and eggs.


On the other hand, these types of vegetarians are like the previous group, except that they will not eat eggs. There are many religious groups like Hindus and Buddhists who can be classified as lacto-vegetarians.


Ovo-vegetarians do not consume dairy products, but they will accept eating eggs. This option can be ideal for some people who are lactose intolerant.


Vegans are the ultimate example of vegetarians who will entirely avoid eating meat and any animal-based products. Red meat, white meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs are off the menu for this group. They will only consume food coming from plants.

Some vegans will actually go further and avoid purchasing products like leather and wool — essentially anything that has to do with animals. Many vegans feel strongly about wildlife and animal conservation.

A growing movement

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With vegetarian approaches to food consumption increasing in popularity, people are presented with several lifestyle and diet options to choose from.

While there is no right or right or wrong choice, people who may not be ready to fully adopt a vegan diet can ease themselves into it by trying out the other less stringent approaches.

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