Vegetarianism – what’s it all about?

What does being a vegetarian mean?

Vegetarianism is the approach of consuming a diet comprising generally or completely of food that originates from plant sources (such as grains, nuts, fruit and vegetables). A vegetarian can thus generally be described as someone who does not eat meat, fish, poultry or any slaughterhouse by-product such as gelatin – principally for moral, religious, political or health reasons. Environmentalism and vegetarianism are also often practised together.

However, vegetarians are often times sub-classified by means of the kind of food products they are or are not happy to eat. Of course, vegetarian dieting regimes may vary broadly and there are many different kinds of vegetarians.


Semi-vegetarian eating plans comprise mainly of vegetarian foods, but can include fish or poultry, or some other meats on an intermittent basis.

However, the vegetarians involved will likely define “meat” only as mammalian flesh. A pescetarian diet, for instance, is said to feature fish, but not meat – so there is plainly considered to be a distinction between the two.

The common use correlation and confusion amongst such diets and true vegetarianism has driven vegetarian groupings (including the Vegetarian Society) to announce that eating habits containing these foods aren’t in actual fact vegetarian, as a consequence of fish and birds being animals.


In this case, the eating regime includes eggs, but excludes dairy products.

Ethical motives for excluding dairy products correspond with apprehensions with the industrial practices. Such as, the practice of keeping a cow continuously pregnant in order for her to lactate and the killing of unwanted male calves. Some other fears include the standard practice of splitting up the mother from her calf and denying the calf its natural source of milk.

This contrasts with the industrial practices for egg-laying hens, which create eggs for human usage without having to be fertilized. However, ovo-vegetarians usually opt for free-range eggs, specifically those made by uncaged hens.

Those who practice ovo vegetarianism are called ovo-vegetarians or “eggetarians.”


A lacto vegetarian (usually known as lactarian) dietary regimen contains dairy products (for example milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, cream etc), but excludes eggs. Lacto-vegetarians also avoid cheeses that include animal rennet and yoghurts that includes gelatin.

The reasoning behind and exercise of lacto-vegetarianism by a considerable amount of people hails from ancient India and was at first centered around religious beliefs. Even now, lacto-vegetarian diet plans are usually favoured by many fans of Eastern religious practices such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism. The primary tenet guiding a lacto-vegetarian diet is the law of ahimsa, or non-violence.

Ovo-lacto vegetarian

An ovo-lacto vegetarian (or lacto-ovo vegetarian) is a vegetarian who does not consume animal flesh of any type, but is able to consume dairy and egg produce. This way of vegetarianism, as with the rest, is sometimes encouraged by life values. On the other hand, the inclusion of dairy and egg products is allowed on the basis that they don’t involve the slaughter of the animals (though turn to the arguments of ovo-vegetarians and lacto-vegetarians respectively on the treatment of dairy cows and hens).

In the Western world, ovo-lacto vegetarians are the most typical kind of vegetarian. Normally, when one uses the word “vegetarian”, an ovo-lacto vegetarian is assumed.


Veganism is the personal course of action of wiping out the use and ingestion of animal products. A vegan eating plan hence excludes all animal products, including eggs, dairy and honey.

In addition, veganism tends also to exclude animal products even where these do not involve the loss of life of the animal (for instance wool). By contrast, a lot of vegetarians simply do not wear clothes made of leather, fur, or any type of animal product which required the harming of the animal.

Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians remove them from their diet only.

The saying “vegan” was coined in England in 1944 by Donald Watson, co-founder of the British Vegan Society, to indicate “non-dairy vegetarian“; the society likewise opposed the use of eggs as food. It extended its definition in 1951 to mean “the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals,” and in 1960 H. Jay Dinshah started the American Vegan Society, linking veganism to the Jainist concept of ahimsa, the avoidance of violence against living things.

Veganism is a small, but expanding, movement. In 2007, 2% of the UK population called themselves vegans.

The Vegetarian Society

The Vegetarian Society is an educational charity “working to support, represent and increase the number of vegetarians in the UK”. Established in 1847, it is the oldest vegetarian organisation on the earth.

Diet and supplementation

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you will probably know how difficult it can often be to make sure that you are getting all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that you need on a daily basis.

Plant-based diets pose some health challenges should be borne in mind. Such as, they often times have a significantly low intake of protein (unsurprisingly), vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, there are particular nutrients (notably B12) which are found chiefly in animal-based products or don’t seem to be taken in as efficiently in their plant form.

Step one

The 1st step is to attempt to create a nutritious and well-balanced diet, which mirrors both the benefits and the troubles of a vegetarian or vegan life-style. Should you be finding it too difficult to maintain the required level of calories and/or protein (for example, you may not like legumes!), you should consider dietary supplementation.

Meal replacement powders and protein powders are great ways to enhance the nutritional content of a vegetarian or vegan diet and make sure that you are receiving all of the protein, healthy calories, vitamins and minerals that you require on a daily basis.

Have a look at our great dairy and gluten free meal replacement, MEALtime Protein Drink. MEALtime is a soya-based protein drink liquid meal loaded with high quality protein, complex carbohydrates and nutrients. This protein drink powder (with added psyllium husks for colon detoxification and cleansing), is the perfect solution for vegetarians and vegans trying to maintain ideal nutrient intake and high energy levels. What’s even better, it is dairy and gluten free, which makes it suitable for individuals with delicate stomachs and those that suffer from celiac disease and dairy allergies.

The second step

The second step is to monitor your weight. A common issue is that, frequently, vegetarians and vegans don’t take in adequate calories or protein to keep up their weight. Once again, if your are finding it an issue to meet these requirements through food, dietary supplementation (through meal replacements, protein powders or vitamin supplements) can offer a simple and straightforward method to top-up on nutrients.

Your third step

The third step is to regular exercise.

Vegetarian and vegan diets can be perfectly healthy, but care must be taken to ensure optimum nutritional content. Let us help you do that! Visit Specialist Supplements Ltd at