The real question should be what can't they eat? If you want to learn the ins and outs of vegetarianism, this page will show you the way and you will learn that there really is more to it then just eating your vegetables!
Vegetarianism is a matter of preference. It is a choice that you make based on your personal taste, ethical viewpoints, environmental consciousness or perhaps for health reasons. Just as there are many different reasons, there are also many different types. Whatever type you choose, it can be a very healthy way of life!
Here are the veg types:
*Lacto-Ovo - People who do not eat animal flesh of any kind but do eat dairy and eggs
*Vegan - Vegans eat no food that is derived from animals. This includes all dairy products and eggs. Believe it or not gelatin contains an ingredient that is derived from animals.
*Pescatarian - People who abstain from eating all meat and animal products with the exception of fish.
*Ovo - People who eat eggs, but no meat.
*Lacto - People who eat dairy, but no eggs or meat.
You may be asking how to become a veg, but another question you should be asking yourself is "Why should I?".
Because this diet is full of grains, seeds, vegetables, nuts, fruits and legumes it is full of nutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals that help ward off disease.
Here is a list of health benefits that you can enjoy:
1. Minimizes the risk of coronary heart disease
2. Reduces the risk of high blood pressure
3. Lowers cholesterol
4. Lowers body weight and reduces the risk of obesity
5. Minimizes the risk of certain types of cancer such as colon and breast cancer
6. Lowers the risk of digestive disorders
7. Increases Longevity (Who doesn't want a longer life?!)
Download a PDF copy of Farm Sanctuary's Guide to Veg Living:
Making the Transition
If you want to make that transition from an animal-dependent lifestyle to a vegetarian way of life it's fairly easy in today's society. There are lots of meat substitutes and dairy substitutes (if you want to be vegan) at almost every supermarket, whole foods grocery stores and co-ops. Also,most restaurants can prepare a tasty vegetarian or vegan meal.
Some people choose to eliminate meat and animal products from their diet and lifestyle over a span of time. Maybe a month or even a year either by eliminating one product at a time or by starting out on a one day a week basis without meat and building from there.
You may choose either of these ways, or go cold turkey (no pun intended). If you choose to do it all at once, you may not feel well at first. Some people may get tired faster or get headaches. That's the natural way a body reacts when it is eliminating something. That's why we recommend doing it one step at a time. It makes the transition much easier and more enjoyable, plus you're less likely to "give up".
Think of it as a great adventure. New vegetarians discover that exploring new foods is an exciting way to break out of the everyday boredom we often encounter when it comes to food. Cooking can be fun again! There are tons of books and websites that can help in your exploration. Other vegetarians and health food store owners and workers will be happy to help. You can even write to us if you have any questions.
Transitioning to Veganism
So if you've made that transition to vegetarianism, and for ethical reasons you decide to become a vegan, you would approach that transition in the same way. Wean yourself off eggs and dairy. This can be challenging at first because high fat dairy foods are addictive in nature.
You can begin by eliminating milk as a beverage and drinking soy, rice, almond or hemp milk instead. Next cut out some of the heavier cheeses like cheddar, monterey jack and american limiting yourself to goat and sheep cheese. Also, begin dropping eggs from your diet as a dish or main ingredient, such as omelets or quiche. Then start avoiding eggs in baked goods and batters. You can substitute Egg Replacer or try eliminating eggs from your recipes. Lastly avoid baked goods from restaurants and non-vegan friends kitchens.
Remember there is no perfect vegan. You shouldn't feel guilty if you eat something non-vegan either intentionally or by accident. There are so many things that have animal ingredients, sometimes it's hard to know. In time you'll know what you should and shouldn't eat. The important thing is that you're helping to decrease the demand for meat and animal byproducts.
To take your veganism to the hilt you would then start eliminating animal products in your clothing or household goods.
But that's another subject altogether, since we're talking about healthy food!
My first veg recipe book was Vegetarian Planet. This is an amazing book with tons of great and delicious recipes that even meat eaters would love. It's a great transitional recipe book if you're just beginning your vegetarianism quest.