Dietary Vegetarianism Defined
The Various Names for Vegetarianism To most people, being vegetarian means nothing more than abstaining from the flesh of anything with eyes or a face, but people partake of this abstaining by drawing the line on what they will eat at different points. Some vegetarians eat dairy; some eat eggs; some eat fish; some eat varying combinations of these.
Here are a few examples: Total vegetarians or ethical vegans live on plant foods alone, eating vegetables (including greens, sprouts, and juice of grasses), fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes.
This regimen rigorously eliminates all animal foods, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and honey (because it is made by insects), and abstains from using products derived from animals, such as leather, wool, and silk, to name just a few. See page 268 for a list of popular products that utilize animal-based components.
Vegans abstain from eating all animal foods and dairy products, including honey, and live on the same plant-foods listed above; and depending on where they are on the spectrum, they also may not use products derived from animals, such as leather, wool, or silk. Lacto-vegetarians include dairy products in their diet in addition to vegetables. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians consume eggs along with dairy products and vegetables.
Pesco-vegetarians add fish to their diet. Such a diet is common in Asia where hundreds of millions live on rice, fish, and vegetables. Pollo-vegetarians eat poultry (chicken, duck, game, and birds) but omit red meat.
The term vegetarianism has evolved to connote diet alone, whereas, originally, it was used to describe the lifestyle of someone who lived naturally, in harmony with their surroundings, and acted in ways that did not harm fellow humans or the animals with which they co-existed.
The word vegetarian hails from the word vegetare, meaning “to enliven.” So, a vegetarian not only was thought to make something 22 more exciting and vital but to honor life through their every action. In its essence, vegetarianism is a spiritual undertaking, which we shall see by examining a brief history of the vegetarian movement.
Further, the term vegan was coined by Donald Watson in 1944, who defined it as follows: “Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk, and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.
Rather than descending into apathy, withdrawing into isolation and being unwilling to face these problems, this book intends to provide a deep and detailed strategy for how we can individually and collectively make a difference.
Not only is it affordable, but a vegan lifestyle will also strengthen our physical and mental health to face the challenges ahead. It is the single most important thing each of us can do to save the planet.
- James Robinson