Generally, today’s vegetarians come in three different forms, flexitarian, lacto-ovo, and vegan. Each of these categories represents a different style of vegetarian eating. Some vegetarians maintain one or a combination of these three eating categories throughout the year. There are no hard and fast rules to becoming a vegetarian. More and more individuals are customizing his or her diet to suit the nutritional demands of each person’s body. It is important to keep in mind as a vegetarian, regardless of what type, to replace whatever nutrients restricted by a meatless diet. Aspire to eat a balanced meatless meal with whole foods even if you are vegan, lacto-ovo, or flexitarian.
A flexitarian is a vegetarian who mainly survives on plant foods like fruits, vegetables, diary products, eggs, and, on rare occasions, fish and poultry. Red meat is, generally, avoided. Most flexitarians become flexible around Thanksgiving and Christmas. The main thing to keep in mind with a flexitarian is that fish and poultry are eaten rather sparingly. Even though a flexitarian eats poultry and fish at times, this doesn’t mean that it is not possible to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. A flexitarian, like any other vegetarian, will stand to benefit nutritionally by consuming mainly whole foods.
A lacto-ovo vegetarian is an individual who doesn’t eat meat, poultry, or fish at all. However, these individuals do eat eggs and diary products. So while this category of vegetarian is more restrictive in that it does not allow for the consumption of animal products of any kind, he or she does indulge on eggs, milk, and cheese. The main thing to remember while maintaining this dietary style is to avoid unhealthy fats and focus on consuming healthy fats found in whole foods like coconut and avocado. Serious medical complications are the results of a diet infested with unhealthy fats.
A vegan is the most disciplined of the vegetarian eating styles. A vegan consumes only plant foods. They do not consume meats, poultry, sea foods, eggs, or dairy products. The ideal diet for a vegan is one that focuses solely on whole foods. Whole foods include fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. This diet of whole foods offers a vegan a complete balanced nutritional diet. A vegan should indulge in the complete array of whole foods available on the market, and even though he or she many not be eating any animal products or bi-products, processed foods should still be avoided, due to their contents of chemicals and preservatives.
If deciding to become a vegetarian, an individual can choose to be a flexitarian, a lacto-ovo vegetarian, or a vegan. These categories range from being flexible and allowing an occasional indulgence of poultry and fish, while others are more disciplined and restrict the consumption of all types of animals and dairy products. Which one any individual chooses will depend on his or her personal nutritional needs. Perhaps a novice should consider the flexitarian diet to start with, gradually move up to lacto-ovo, then settle in on a healthy vegan diet of whole foods.