Vegetarianism

December 2, 2010 at 9:51 am

Vegetarianism is the practice of following a plant-based diet including fruits, vegetables, cereal grains, nuts, and seeds, mushrooms, with or without dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat meat, including red meat, game, poultry, fish, crustacea, and shellfish, and may also abstain from by-products of animal slaughter such as animal-derived rennet and gelatin. As some cheeses contain animal-derived rennet, and gelatin-derived products may contain unfamiliar animal ingredients, these products may unknowingly be consumed by vegetarians.

Vegetarianism is adopted for various reasons: ethical, health, environmental, religious, political, cultural, aesthetic, economic, culinary (some people simply do not enjoy consuming meat) or other reasons, and there are a number of vegetarian diets. A lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs, an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, and an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products. A vegan diet excludes all animal products, such as dairy products, eggs, and honey.

Semi-vegetarian diets consist largely of vegetarian foods, but may include fish or poultry, or other meats on an infrequent basis. Those with diets containing fish or poultry may define “meat” only as mammalian flesh and may identify with vegetarianism.A pescetarian diet, for example, includes “fish but no meat”. The common use association between such diets and vegetarianism has led vegetarian groups such as the Vegetarian Society to state diets containing these ingredients are not vegetarian, because fish and birds are animals.

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