Vegetarianism is a diet based primarily or exclusively on plants. Depending on the type, it includes or excludes certain animal products.
There are many reasons why a person chooses a vegetarian diet. Whether the reason is religious, philosophical or ideological, there are different types of vegetarianism, as demonstrated in the table below.
Table 1. The different types of vegetarianism
|Foods consumed||Cereal products||Cereal products||Cereal products||Cereal products||Cereal products|
|Fruits and vegetables||Fruits and vegetables||Fruits and vegetables||Fruits and vegetables||Fruits and vegetables|
|Nuts, grains and legumes||Nuts, grains and legumes||Nuts, grains and legumes||Nuts, grains and legumes||Nuts, grains and legumes|
|Dairy products||Dairy products||Dairy products|
|Fish and seafood|
Most vegetarians exclude meat, poultry, fish and seafood from their diet. Vegans exclude all animal products from their diet, such as dairy products and eggs.
A vegetarian diet that is varied and balanced can cover the needs of a healthy adult. However, the more restricted a diet is (e.g. veganism), the more varied it should be, as to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Additionally, pregnant women on a vegan diet should pay careful attention to their diet.