Story & Photos by Michelle Rojano
A person who is vegetarian is defined as someone who does not eat meat and/or use animal products. The motivation behind these diets tend to be moral, religious or health-related. Meat-free diets have steadily increased in popularity in to-
day’s society with promises of weight loss, healthier habits and longer lives. According to Harvard Health, there are five different types of vegetarian diets. Although all five types primarily focus on consuming plant-based foods, they each have
exceptions to what animal products are acceptable to consume.
Veganism means not consuming or using animal products. Vegans do not eat animals and they also do not use materials tested or made using animals or animal products. For some who practice veganism, the goal is to reduce animal cruelty and exploitation. For others, veganism is simply a healthier way of life, reducing the consumption of red meats and dairy.
Christian Tabak, Rose State alumnus and vegan for almost nine years, said his reasons for his dietary choices are solely ethical.
“I was raised an ethical vegetarian and don’t eat meat because I don’t believe in killing and eating other sentient creatures,” he said.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians are people who do not eat animal meat, including fish, but they do consume dairy products, including eggs. According to The George Washington University, recent studies have shown cutting meat out of a diet can result in weight loss without exercise.
A step away from lacto-ovo vegetarians are lacto vegetarians. The difference between the two is that lacto vegetarians cut all meat and eggs from their diets, but still consume dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy-based products. The benefits to this diet are similar to those of the lacto-ovo diet.
On the other hand, ovo vegetarians are people who cut out all meat and dairy but still consume eggs. A popular reason for consuming eggs is to have an easy source for protein. In fact, eggs are considered to be one of the best sources for protein, with 6 grams per large egg. According to the egg nutrition center, “Eggs are an all-natural source of high-quality protein and a number of other nutrients, all for 70 calories per large egg.”
Partial vegetarians are people who cut out most meats from their diets but may still consume fish and poultry. According to JAMA Internal Medicine, a long-term study done from 1980 to 2008 showed the consumption of red meat had a correlation to shorter life spans.
Making the change can be beneficial to some people. Tabak has noticed some health improvements since his decision to adopt a vegan diet.
“I’ve noticed that I’m not as sluggish as I used to be,” Tabak said. “Fatigue was a big problem for me when I was younger, but that has pretty much disappeared since I’ve gone vegan. I’ve always got energy, even without animal-based protein and
vitamin B sources.”
Despite his strong beliefs in the benefits of a vegan diet, he admits the lifestyle may not be for everyone. He also admits that the change in diet can be expensive depending on individual’s food preferences. Despite that, even small changes in a diet can make a difference.
“Depending on your reason for going vegetarian — whether ethical, health related or environmental — even cutting back a little on meat and animal products can help you reach those goals,” Tabak added.