Vegetarian and Vegan Diet

Author:
Medical Editor:

Introduction to vegetarian and vegan diets

To eat meat, or not to eat meat...This is the question on many people's mind. The negative impact of animal foods on health, the damage associated with animal foods and the environment, religious beliefs, and the desire to protect and respect animals are some of the reasons for the increase in the number of people consuming vegetarian diets. Many people express an interest in consuming a vegetarian diet but don't do so because they are unsure of how to do it or are not ready to give up meat. Fortunately, there are options and lots of great resources available to help. The key to making this diet work for you is to understand what nutrients you are missing from the foods that you are not consuming and to learn how to balance your meals without these foods.

What types of vegetarian diets are there?

Type of vegetarian diet Foods that you do consume Foods that are not consumed
Vegan Only plant-based foods Meat
Poultry
Fish
Milk
Eggs
Cheese
Honey
*Also avoid: leather, fur, silk, wool, soaps, and cosmetics derived from animal product
Lacto-vegetarian Plant-based foods
Milk
Milk products
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
Meat
Poultry
Fish
Eggs
Lacto-ovo vegetarian Plant-based foods
Milk
Milk products
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
Eggs
Meat
Poultry
Fish
Flexitarian (semi-vegetarian) Plant-based foods
Occasionally consume or consume in limited quantity any or all of the following:
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
Animals foods consumed in limited quantity and/or frequency
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/27/2013

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!