"Vegetarianism" is a dietary practice that
excludes all body parts of any animal and
typically avoids products derived from animals
(such as lard, tallow, gelatin, and cochineal)
in one's diet. "Vegans"
(pronouced vee-guns but sometimes pronouced vay-guns for comic effect to make fun of how most people know very little about veganism, including its pronounciation) additionally avoid dairy products and eggs,
and some avoid honey and any/all insect-related products as well. Many "veg*ns" (vegans and vegetarians) also consider
the avoidance of products made from animal
parts (such as leather and tallow) an integral
part of their definition of veg*nism. You can learn more below.
People go veg for a variety of different
and animal rights –
Some vegetarians believe that the production
and consumption of meat and animal products
are created through inappropriate treatment
of animals. Reasons for believing this
are varied, and may include a belief in
animal rights or an aversion to inflicting
harm on other living things. Some people,
for example, philosophers Peter Singer
and Michael Berumen, believe that if alternative
means of survival exist, one ought to
choose an ethical alternative, such as
vegetarianism, as opposed to causing unnecessary
harm to animals. Other people believe
the treatment which animals receive in
the production of meat and animal products
justifies never eating meat or using animal
products, even when few or no alternatives
are available. Learn
and weight-loss – According
to sources such as the American Dietetic
Association, American Heart Association,
British Medical Association, and the Mayo
Clinic, vegetarian diets offer a number
of health benefits compared to non-vegetarian
diets. Vegetarians as a group compared
to non-vegetarians have lower body mass
indices, lower levels of cholesterol,
lower blood pressure, and less incidence
of heart disease, hypertension, type 2
diabetes, some forms of cancer, renal
disease, dementia, and osteoporosis. As
for weight loss, in a year-long study
comparing Dean Ornish's vegetarian diet
to Weight Watchers, The Zone Diet, and
The Atkins Diet, Dean Ornish's diet showed
the most weight-loss. (1) Additionally,
diets are dangerous! Learn
– Many people believe that the production
of meat and animal products is environmentally
un-sustainable. While vegetarian agriculture
produces some of the same problems as
animal production, the environmental impact
of animal production is significantly
greater. Over-grazed lands lose their
ability to support animal production,
which makes further agricultural expansion
necessary. Factory farm animal production,
while having a smaller land-use footprint,
requires large quantities of feed that
must be grown over large areas of land.
Both free-range and concentrated animal
production require large quantities of
fresh water and energy, which are currently
taken from nonrenewable sources, such
as aquifers and fossil fuels. Animal production
also creates massive amounts of damaging
animal waste. Learn
World Hunger –
Citing the same efficiency concerns as
environmentalist vegetarians and economic
vegetarians, many vegetarians see natural
resources as being freed up by vegetarianism,
Religion – A majority
of the world's vegetarians follow the
practice for religious reasons. Many religions,
including Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism,
and especially Jainism, teach that ideally
life should always be valued and not willfully
destroyed for unnecessary human gratification.
- Aesthetic and emotional
– Some vegetarians find meat, animal
products, and their production unappetizing
or emotionally disturbing.
While vegetarianism is commonly defined
strictly on the basis of dietary intake, many
religiously, ethically, or environmentally
motivated vegetarians, in common with the
animal rights and Green movements, try to
minimize the harm done to animals in all aspects
of their lives.
Many health-motivated vegetarians are also
associated with the organic food movement
and/or are concerned about the use of genetically
modified organisms in food production.
Types of Veg*nism
The types of veg*ns (vegans or vegetarians)
are as innumerable as the reasons why we become
veg*n. Here's just a sampling of some types:
Economic vegetarians are
persons who practice vegetarianism from
the philosophical viewpoint that the consumption
of meat is economically unsound. Economic
vegetarians believe that nutrition can
be acquired more efficiently and at a
lower price through vegetables, grains,
etc., rather than from meat. They argue
that a vegetarian diet is rich in vitamins,
fiber, and complex carbohydrates, and
carries with it fewer risks (such as heart
disease, obesity, and bacterial infection)
than animal flesh. Consequently, they
consider the production of meat economically
unsound. Many economic vegetarians also
promote the idea that advanced agricultural
techniques have made the production of
meat outdated and inefficient. Some promote
the idea of synthetic or cloned meat.
Economic vegetarians frequently contrast
themselves with mainstream vegetarians,
most of whom abstain from animal products
on religious or ethical grounds.
Essenes are those whose
diet is based on the Essene Gospels of
Peace, which claims that Jesus was a member
of the Essene sect, and a raw food vegetarian.
Diet consists of raw sprouts, wheatgrass,
vegetables, and fruit. Use of raw dairy
is explicitly authorized by the Essene
gospels, so the diet is often lacto-vegetarian
rather than vegan. Many Essenes use fermented
dairy products, specifically yogurt.
Flexitarians are flexible
about the degree one practices vegetarianism
or veganism. A flexitarian might make
only vegetarian dishes at home, but eat
dishes including meat at the home of family
or friends. Ethically, flexitarians tend
not to lean towards vegetarianism due
to animal rights concerns, as there would
be a stringent moral rule involved. Instead,
flexitarians are generally vegan or vegetarian
for the ethical reason that vegetarian
food conserves water and land resources,
and feeds more people.
Freegans subscribe to
a purely environmental mentality: although
meat is generally avoided, eating meat
that has been discarded by others is acceptable.
The environmental impact of this practice
is seen as null or perhaps even beneficial
(although discarded meat can be safely
composted in some facilities). Freegans
often prefer discarded food in any case,
even if it is not meat. But producing
meat is believed to have more environmental
impact than other foods, so this is often
the focus of freeganism. Freegans believe
that wasting already-cooked food does
more damage than eating it.
Fructarians, more commonly
called fruitarians, eat
only fruit, nuts, seeds and other plant
matter that can be gathered without harming
the plant. This typically arises out of
a holistic philosophy. Thus a fructarian
will eat beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins
and the like, but will refuse to eat potatoes
or spinach. Technically, fructarianism
is a kind of vegetarianism, but its much
stricter definition is very rarely seen
as being the same thing as vegetarianism.
It is also hotly disputed whether it is
possible to avoid malnutrition with a
fructarian diet. Fructarianism is much
rarer than vegetarianism or veganism.
Lacto vegetarians do
not eat meat, but may consume milk and
its derivatives, like cheese, butter or
Lacto-ovo / ovo-lacto vegetarians
do not eat meat, but may consume
animal products such as eggs and milk.
Those who are ovo-lacto vegetarians for
ethical reasons may additionally refuse
to eat cheese made with animal-based enzymes
(rennet), or eggs produced by factory
farms. The term "vegetarian"
is most commonly intended to mean "ovo-lacto
vegetarian", particularly as "vegan"
has gained acceptance as the term for
Liquidarians are those
who consumes only liquids and juices.
Usually a short-term cleansing diet, extremely
rare as a long term diet.
Macrobiotics have an
oriental-style vegetarian diet based on
elements of ancient Chinese philosophy.
Behind macrobiotic thinking stands the
idea that food, and food quality affects
our lives more greatly than is commonly
thought. It affects our health, well being
and happiness. Therefore it is better
for us to choose food that is less processed,
more natural, use more traditional methods
of cooking and cook for ourselves and
families and friends. Macrobiotics emphasizes
locally grown, whole-grain cereals, pulses,
vegetables, fruit, seaweed and fermented
soy products, combined into meals according
to the principle of balance between Yin
and Yang properties. Some people try and
extend the diet into a macrobiotic lifestyle.
People who practice a Macrobiotic lifestyle
believe they try to observe Yin &
Yang in everything they do. They strive
for balance and happiness in their daily
lives and living in harmony with nature
and their physical surrounding.
not eat meat but may eat eggs.
pronounced as English, not Italian), is
a variant of pesco-vegetarianism that
dates back in print to at least 1993 
. As of August 2004, "pescatarian",
and "pollotarian" can all also
be found on the internet, but "pescetarian"
is the most popular. "Pescavore"
is also somewhat common, formed by analogy
with "carnivore." "Fishetarian"
was also used in print as early as 1992,
but is no longer very prevalent.
pescetarians, and semi-vegetarians
are those who don't eat certain types
of meat (most commonly red meat such as
beef, pork, or lamb) while allowing others,
such as seafood (pesco) or chicken (pollo).
There are usually no restrictions on non-flesh
animal products such as dairy, eggs, or
leather. Those observing such a diet often
do so for health reasons although many
do practice for ethical or religious reasons.
Raw Foodism involves
food, usually vegan, which is not heated
above 115°F and has not been frozen;
it may be warmed slightly or raw, but
never cooked. Raw Foodists argue that
cooking destroys enzymes, and/or portions
of each nutrient. Some raw-foodists, called
"activate" the enzymes, e.g.,
by soaking in water, a while before they
plan to eat the food. Some spiritual raw-foodists
are also Fructarians and some eat only
organic foods. Most can agree that if
someone eats 75% or more of their food
as raw, they are a raw foodist.
Sproutarians eat predominantly
sprouts. Those eating only sprouts are
extremely rare; most sproutarians have
a varied raw food diet.
are vegans who adopt a "straight-edge"
lifestyle where, intentionally, and in
the face of actual opportunities, one
does not drink alcohol, smoke tobacco,
use recreational drugs, or engage in promiscuous
sex (although this is sometimes omitted).
It also generally involves some affection
for hardcore punk music. Typically, the
lifestyle is used as a stepping stone
to allow one to be more involved with
one's mental and physical health. In doing
so, many straight-edge people do not take
in caffeine, or they choose to be vegetarian
or vegan. Straight-edgers also have reservations
about medication, particularly psychoactive
medications. Many also feel having a clear
mindset is a better way to approach life
and/or spirituality. "Straight edge"
is sometimes abbreviated "sXe,"
although it is still pronounced "straight
edge." Straight edge is also symbolized
by large black X's marked on a person's
hands. (At punk rock shows, it became
common to mark an X on the hands of under-aged
concert-goers to ensure that the bouncers
would recognize a minor attempting to
drink alcohol. Early adopters of the "straight
edge" lifestyle voluntarily marked
their hands to show their commitment to
refusing alcohol.) A "straight edge"
lifestyle is not a philosophy and is not
associated with or based on any religion.
Strict vegetarians avoid
consuming all animal products (e.g.,
eggs, milk, cheese and honey). Today,
strict vegetarians are commonly called
vegans, though some reserve this term
for those who additionally avoid usage
of all kinds of animal products (e.g.,
leather and some cosmetics), not just
food. See Vegans.
Some individuals regard the suffering
of animals in factory farm conditions
to be their sole reason for avoiding meat
or meat-based foods. These people will
eat meat, or meat products, from animals
raised under more humane conditions or
hunted in the wild. Some of these people
refer to themselves as vegetarians.
- Vegans (also
sometimes casually called "herbivores"
among each other) are persons who follows
a strict vegetarian lifestyle (i.e.
avoiding animal products, eating a plant-based
diet that contains no animal products, and
using only products that contain no animal
products and were not animal tested.
The word "veganism" denotes
a philosophy and way of living which seeks
to exclude—as far as is possible
and practical—all forms of exploitation
of, and cruelty to, animals for food,
clothing or any other purpose; and by
extension, promotes the development and
use of animal-free alternatives for the
benefit of animals, including humans and
the environment. In dietary terms it denotes
the practice of dispensing with all products
derived wholly or partly from animals.
– British Vegan Society (2004)
Those who are vegans (pronounced vee-guns,
sometimes mispronounced as vay-guns) for
ethical reasons today generally oppose the
violence and cruelty they see as involved
in the (non-vegan) food, clothing, and other
industries. Though vegans are often accused
of placing more importance on non-human
animals than on their fellow humans, most
vegans are aware of human rights issues
and seek to avoid companies and organizations
that exploit others and to be "ethical
consumers"; many find themselves becoming
increasingly active in the fight for human
rights as a direct result of embracing veganism.
The group argued that the
elimination of exploitation of any kind
was necessary in order to bring about a
more reasonable and humane society. From
its inception, veganism was defined as a
"philosophy" and "way of
living." It was never intended to be
merely a diet and, still today, describes
a lifestyle and belief system that revolves
around a reverence for life. –
Joanne Stepaniak (author of The Vegan
Vegans avoid all animal products, including
all forms of meat, poultry, fish, shellfish,
eggs, dairy products, fur, leather, wool,
silk, and byproducts such as gelatin, rennet,
whey, and the like. The Vegan Society and
most vegans include insect products such
as honey and beeswax in their definition
as well. There is some debate on the finer
points of what constitutes an animal product;
some vegans avoid cane sugar that has been
filtered with bone char and some won't drink
beers and wines clarified with egg whites,
animal blood (this is exceedingly rare today),
or isinglass—even though they are
not present in the final product. Further,
some vegans won't eat food cooked in pans
if they have been used to cook meat. An
exception is human milk, when freely given
by the lactating mother.
Besides diminishing animal suffering,
a vegan diet is thought to reduce the risk
of many health problems, including heart
failure, obesity, diabetes, asthma, high
blood pressure, constipation, poisons, toxins,cancer,
psoriasis, and Eczema.
Vegans also by and large promote conservationist
environmental and energy policies and sustainable
agriculture, not least because such policies
are seen as steps toward achieving the aims
of veganism on a grander scale, in part
by reducing the amount of inefficiently
mass-produced meat. Veganism is also more
environmentally sustainable, and may improve
the conditions of low income people in and
out of third world countries by freeing
more food for human consumption.
The primary, ethical argument against
veganism attacks the concept of "indirect
responsibility" stating that it is impossible
to avoid all harm: animals are sometimes killed
in the process of producing vegan food, whether
by accident during harvest or intentionally,
as pest control. Extensions of this critique
assert the individual's moral responsibility
in terms of economic connection: those who
participate in a socioeconomic structure share
accountability for its products. Vegans tend
to accept that it is impossible to entirely
eradicate harm, but believe it is absolutely
possible to minimize harm.
There is some perception that vegans believe
themselves to be morally superior to non-vegans.
Vegans are typically aware of this and often
make extensive efforts to avoid this perception.
Some of the above information was derived
fully or in part from an
article on Wikipedia.org, the free encyclopedia
created and edited by the online user community.
This information is distributed under the
terms of GNU Free Documentation License.
- Dansinger, M.L., Gleason, J. L., Griffith,
J.L., et al., "One Year Effectiveness
of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers,
and Zone Diets in Decreasing Body Weight
and Heart Disease Risk", Presented
at the American Heart Association Scientific
Sessions November 12, 2003 in Orlando, Florida.