Vegetarian & Vegan terms explained
The Vegetarian Society of Ireland defines a vegetarian as a person living on grains, nuts, fruit and other products of nature and substances made by humans, none of which are meat, fish or fowl, with or without the use of eggs and of milk and its products. Vegetarians aim to avoid the use and consumption of battery hen eggs and slaughterhouse by-products in food, clothing, cosmetic and household products.
A vegan is one who adopts a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. In dietary terms veganism refers to the practice of dispensing with all animal produce - including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, animal milks, honey and their derivatives.
Abhorrence of the cruel practices inherent in animal (dairy and meat) and poultry farming is probably the most common reason for the adoption of veganism, but many people are drawn to it for health, ecological, resource, spiritual and other reasons.
Additional terms used
- Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian: A vegetarian who eats eggs and milk products. This is the most 'popular' form of vegetarianism.
- Ovo vegetarian: A vegetarian who eats eggs, but not milk products.
- Lacto Vegetarian: A vegetarian who eats milk products but not eggs.
- Strict Vegetarian: This originally meant vegan, but can mean a vegan or a vegetarian who adheres to all the principles under the definition of Vegetarian.
- Semi-Vegetarian: Someone who eats much less meat than the average person. Often they will eat fish and/or white meat - no red meat.
- Pseudo-Vegetarian: Someone who claims to be vegetarian, but isn't. This is particularly confusing to new vegetarians and in restaurants. A person will state that they are vegetarian, but then go on to order fish or chicken.
- Pescetarian: Someone who eats fish and shellfish in addition to vegetarian food but no meat, game or fowl. Unlike pseudo-vegetarians, however, they do know that they are not vegetarian but it is sometimes seen as a stepping stone to full vegetarianism.
- Fruitarian: Same as vegan, but only eats foods that don't kill the plant e.g. apples can be picked without killing the plant, but carrots can’t.
- Freegan: Someone who follows a vegan diet living on discarded (free) food. The salvaging of discarded food is motivated by political reasons, rather than out of economic need.
- Raw Food Vegan: Someone combining veganism and raw foodism. The diet excludes all food of animal origin, and all food cooked above 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit). It includes raw vegetables and fruits, nuts and nut pastes, grain and legume sprouts, seeds, plant oils, sea vegetables, herbs, and fresh juices.
- Nondairy: Does not have enough percentage of milk fat to be called dairy. May actually contain milk or milk derivatives.
- Nonmeat: Made without meat. May include eggs, milk, cheese. Sometimes even includes animal fats, seafood, fish or fowl.