the V word

Why Vegetarian?

What you eat is an intensely personal choice. Often, my non-veg friends ask why people decide not to eat meat. If I could give a simple answer, I would. However, it’s different for every person.

Some reasons include: animal rights, health, ecological reasons, economical reasons.

The reasons why meat-eaters choose to include vegetarian recipes into their diet are as varied. However, the most common two reasons for meat eaters to occasionally eat vegetarian food are (a) it’s often healthier; and (b) it’s often cheaper.

I want to make one thing clear: this website is not about “converting” meat-eaters to vegetarianism. That’s a personal choice, and every person has to make their own decisions about what works best for them and their lifestyle. However, adding one or two vegetarian meals a week into a meat-based diet can often have positive effects on weight and health as well as give your wallet a break.

Definitions

A lot of meat-eaters—and a surprising number of vegetarians, too—ask about the various levels of “meatlessness.” So a few definitions are in order. While there’s no unanimous agreement on what different types of vegetarians are called, here’s a list of the most commonly accepted terms:

  1. Semi-vegetarians eat no red meat, but eat fish and/or fowl, as well as eggs, dairy, and other animal products.
  2. Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat no meat at all, but they do eat eggs, dairy and other animal products (such as honey).
  3. Ovo vegetarians eat no meat and no dairy, but they will eat eggs and other animal products.
  4. Lacto vegetarians eat no meat and no eggs, but they eat dairy and other animal products.
  5. Semi-vegans do not eat meat, dairy, or eggs, but they will eat honey and other animal by-products.
  6. Vegans (also called strict vegetarians) do not eat any animal products: no meat, no eggs, no dairy, and no honey or other animal by-products.

I like to think of these eating preferences as concentric circles, with vegans in the center (smallest) circle and semi-vegetarians on the outermost (largest) circle. Wherever a person is in the circles, they will eat inward, but not outward. (In other words, a lacto vegetarian will eat not only lacto recipes, but also semi-vegan and vegan food. However, a lacto vegetarian will not eat ovo, lacto-ovo or semi-vegetarian recipes.)

For this reason, if you’re planning for a group, it’s always best to make recipes according to the strictest eater. That way, everyone can partake.

Quick vegan note: Every recipe on this site is cooked vegan at least once; if a dish is labeled “lacto” or “lacto-ovo,” it has also been made with vegan substitutes (ie, soy substitutes, egg replacer powder, etc). If a recipe does not work with vegan substitutes, I will explicitly say so in the post; otherwise, you can assume that the recipe can safely and easily be “veganized.” :)

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