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Vegetarian Diet Variations

Fitness for mind and body.

Vegetarian diets have been around for centuries.

People choose vegetarian diets for religious, economic, health-related, or other reasons.

When you hear the word "vegetarian," you automatically assume it's a diet that omits animal products, but there are several variations of the vegetarian diet:

Vegetarian plant

  • Semi-vegetarian diet -- includes fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. A person practicing a semi-vegetarian diet will generally eat fowl or fish about once a week. Some will eat beef or other meats - it's an individual choice. The other days are filled with grains, vegetables, dairy, fruits and tofu.
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet -- includes dairy products and eggs. Deciding which foods to allow in your lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is a personal choice but you avoid all meat, fish and poultry while allowing the consumption of dairy and some other animal based products.
  • Lacto-vegetarian diet -- includes dairy products but does omit all meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarian diet -- includes eggs. Many people are ovo vegetarians because they are lactose-intolerant. The prefix "ovo" comes from the Latin word for egg.
  • Vegan diet--includes only plant foods and omits all animal products.

Although you would think vegetarian diets lacked some of the nutrients of normal diets, a well-planned vegetarian diet can be just as nutritionally adequate and healthy. The key is in the planning.

Some people follow a semi-vegetarian diet, often called a flexitarian diet, which is primarily a plant-based diet but includes meat, dairy, eggs, poultry and fish on occasion or in small quantities.

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