FAQ

Q: What is vegetarianism?
“The theory or practice of living solely upon vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts—with or without the addition of milk products and eggs—generally for ethical, ascetic, environmental, or nutritional reasons.” -Encyclopedia Britannica

Q: What is veganism?
“Vegetarians who exclude animal products altogether (and likewise avoid animal-derived products such as leather, silk, and wool).” -Encyclopedia Britannica

Q: What are the different types of vegetarians?
Lacto-vegetarian: a vegetarian who uses/consumes milk products.
Lacto-ovo vegetarian: a vegetarian who uses/consumes both milk and egg products.

Q: Do vegetarians eat fish?
A popular question, with a somewhat variable answer. Certainly, some people call themselves “vegetarian,” yet still eat fish and seafood. According to some sources, however, vegetarianism refers to individuals who don’t consume animal meat. Since fish are animals, certain groups—such as the Vegetarian Society—tend to consider these individuals non-vegetarians. As an alternative, these individuals can be referred to as pescetarian.

Q: What about people who call themselves vegetarian, but occassionally eat poultry or some other type of meat?
Again, it’s tough to provide a definitive answer. Going with the technical definition and a strict interpretation, these people aren’t vegetarians. But maybe they’re just not “full-time” vegetarians. More recently, the term “flexitarian” has become popular to describe someone who is largely a vegetarian, but who consumes meat once in a while.

Q: What is a pescetarian?
“One whose diet includes fish but no meat.” -Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Q: What is a flexitarian?
Someone who is typically a vegetarian, but occasionally eats poultry, fish, or other meat products.

Q: Why would someone become a vegetarian?
There are a wide variety of reasons for going vegetarian or vegan, including ethical, health, environmental, religious, political, cultural, economic, and other influences.
Health: a vegetarian diet is often considered to be healthy, and lauded by some organizations as being healthier than a traditional diet. This, of course, is a disputable claim and many organizations claim that a vegetarian diet offers no additional health benefits beyond a diet that includes meat. In any case, the American Diatetic Association has found that a vegetarian diet is sufficiently capable of providing all the necessary nutrients. In various studies, researchers claim vegetarianism can help in reducing the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as aiding the body in weight control.
Environmental: Meat production takes a toll on the environment in numerous ways, including soil and land degradation, release of pollution into streams and bodies of water, as well as release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. The decision to become a vegetarian or vegan may reflect an individual’s desire to protect and better the environment by reducing these externalities.
Ethical: Many people become vegetarian or vegan beceause they are unhappy with the way animals are treated on farms, in slaughterhouses, and elsewhere.
Religious/Cultural: Some groups practice vegetarianism or veganism as part of their religion or culture. For example, vegetarianism plays a strong role in Hindu tradition.

Q: What is a raw food diet? Is this the same thing as being a vegetarian or vegan?
People who only eat raw food, also called “raw foodists,” include only uncooked and unprocessed food and products in their diets. Their diets are comprised of freshly picked fruits and raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, and anything else that hasn’t yet been cooked or processed (for this reason, most traditional supermarket products aren’t part of a raw food diet, since the ingredients have been processed). This is not the same thing as being vegetarian or vegan. Often times, raw foodists are also vegan since meat products are traditionally cooked before being consumed. There are, however, raw foodists that consume uncooked fish (such as sushi) and other raw meat. Similarly, many vegetarians and vegans consume cooked and processed food products.

Q:What is a locavore?
“One who eats foods grown locally whenever possible.” -Merriam-Webster Dictionary
In other words, someone who eats food products sourced form their local community.

Q: Are all vegetarians and vegans also locavores?
Not necessarily. On the one hand, many vegetarians and vegans are concerned with food miles (the distance between a food product and its ultimate place of consumption—typically associated with some measurement of carbon output or energy use) and make sure to eat products that were farmed or processed locally. However, being one doesn’t imply the other. That is, not all vegetarians/vegans are locavores and vice versa.

Q: Is being a vegetarian or vegan synonymous with eating organic food?
Nope. Of course, there are numerous vegetarians and vegans who concern themselves with eating organic products, but that’s not always the case. Additionally, many non-vegetarians choose to eat organic products and cruelty-free meat products.