Do you know your Pescatarian from your Fruitarian from your Vegan?
We seem to love to label people, even when it comes to our diet. There are many different diets you can follow, with fruits and vegetables as the main players but what do they all mean?
Hopefully, I have covered the most popular ones and given a little explanation of each one.
'Diet' being a name for a pattern of eating, not a restrictive practice to try to lose weight.
There has been a huge upsurge in people following a diet that is rich in whole or minimally processed plant foods. Research has proved that following such a diet has many health benefits:
Reduces risk of cancer
Helps to reduce your blood pressure
May help prevent the development of Type II Diabetes
Lowers the risk of heart disease
Reduces overall mortality.
There are ethical reasons why people try to eat more plant foods and environmental reasons.
Studies have shown that by reducing the number of animal products consumed, there are some important gains :
Deforestation could be prevented.
Greenhouse gases could be reduced
Biodiversity could be preserved
Land, Water and Energy use are reduced.
For reference please see the World Health Organisation's (WHO)'s Report
People who follow Buddhism and Hinduism may follow this type of diet and it is often considered the most traditional vegetarian diet. No meat from animals or fish is eaten.
The 'lacto' bit refers to cow's milk, so dairy products are acceptable (milk, cheese, yoghurt) and the 'ovo' bit refers to eggs, so they are included too.
A slight variation on the diet above, whilst dairy products are included, products containing eggs are not. Again, no meat from animals or fish is eaten.
Another variation - eggs are included but all dairy products are avoided together with meat and fish.
Derived from the Italian word “pesce,” meaning fish, fish-based foods are acceptable on a pescatarian diet, but all other meats are avoided.
Whether a pescatarian diet includes dairy products and eggs tends to vary from person to person.
A vegan diet is based only on plant foods and excludes all animal-derived products, including all meats and fish, dairy products, and eggs. Honey is also excluded because it is produced by bees.
Ethics are a major reason why some people choose a vegan diet, and it is not restricted to food choices but also consumer products which have either animal products in them, have been tested on animals or have come from an animal like wool and leather. Being vegan is a philosophy and way of living. It does not simply relate to a person’s diet.
Potatoes, rice and bread together with all animal products are excluded. A raw vegan diet consists of plant foods which are uncooked or only heated to low temperatures.
Sprouted grains, seeds, and beans as sources of protein and carbohydrates may be included.
This is a diet based mainly on fruit, as the name suggests. It is a highly restrictive vegan diet which excludes all animal products, like a vegan diet, and the main food source is raw fruit., although some dried fruits, seeds and nuts are included.
Someone following a plant-based diet does not necessarily eliminate all animal consumer products as a vegan would. The focus is on eating plants, with no animal products consumed in any form. There are also Whole-Food Plant-Based diets - whereby plants in their natural form and minimally processed are eaten.
A cunning combination of the words 'flexible' and 'vegetarian'. A Flexitarian diet is basically a vegetarian diet with a little bit of meat or fish here and there.
This is a great way of transitioning to a plant-based diet and can be as simple as having one meat-free meal a week, building up to meat-free days and then eventually eliminating meat altogether.
People should choose whichever variation of a vegetarian diet is right for them and best aligns with their personal values.
The above labels are handy when you eat out and you are asked if you have any dietary requirements because, for example, dairy products are often hidden in food and not obvious.