8 Common Types of Vegetarians

Muna Hassan

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There are many health benefits of becoming a vegetarian. This includes full time vegetarianism as well as simply following a plant-based diet a few days a week. (Meatless Monday anyone?)

Navigating the world of vegetarianism can be confusing. There are so many different types of vegetarians out there. Which makes it hard to try to figure out what your recently-converted vegetarian friend can and can’t eat. Or maybe you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian yourself, but you’re not sure where to start. In that case, take a look at the list below.

I’ve mapped out the top eight most common types of vegetarians. The list starts with the most lenient category and transitions to the most strict.

Common Types of Vegetarians

Flexatarian or Semi-Vegetarians are newer terms. These diets can include chicken, fish or even red meat on occasion, but generally follow a plant-based diet. Flexetarians are the most lenient types of vegetarians. While meat is allowed in moderation, the vast majority of the diet consists of plants.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs. This is great for people who can't imagine not being able to eat an omlet, traditional baked goods (that would include eggs) or cheese pizza.

Lacto-vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. Dairy products – such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter – are included. If you are willing to give up eggs but still want to eat cheese, this is the type of vegetarian for you.

Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs. The opposite of lacto-vegetarians, for people who are not willing to give up eggs but you're ok with giving up cheese, milk and butter, this is the option to choose.

Vegan diets exclude meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products – and foods that contain these products. Depending on how strict a person is, there are some vegans who opt to not eat anything that is a biproduct of animals, including honey.

Macrobiotic diets are plant-based, and feature grains, vegetables and legumes with fewer fruits, nuts, and seeds. This type of vegetarian is not as popular as the previous types, but for people who want to minimize exposure to nut allergies, this diet would allow for that.

Fruitarians eat fruits, nuts and seeds. They usually avoid grains, legumes and vegetables that are not the fruit of the plant. Similar to macrobiotic diets, becoming a fruitarian is not as popular as many of the other types of vegetarians on this list.

Raw food diets are often plant-based. Uncooked and unprocessed foods are the basis of a raw food diet. Because it is typically not safe to eat raw meat, traw foodists are often classified within the vegan/vegetarian diet groups.

These are just the most common types of vegetarians. As time goes on, new and different strains of meatless eaters are popping up. If you’re thinking of becoming a vegetarian, it might be wise to start with the most lenient vegetarian option out there. (That’s a flexitarian, in case you missed it.) That way, you can ease into the lifestyle instead of throwing yourself into the deep end.

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Health Benefits of Being a Vegetarian

Studies have shown time and time again that following a plant-based diet can have big health impacts in a positive way.

One of the most highly recommended diet, the Meditteranean diet, encourages followers to eat a mostly plant-based diet.

Of the many health benefits of being a vegetarian include the following:

  • Live longer.
  • Happy, healthy heart.
  • Shed the pounds.
  • Improve mood.
  • Decrease illness.
  • Save money.
  • Eat the rainbow.
  • Increase energy.

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Muna has been a journalist and fitness professional for more than 10 years. With degrees in exercise science and dietetics, Muna focuses on informing people about how to lead a healthier lifestyle. Muna is the owner of Body and Mind by Muna, an online gym for at-home workouts, as well as MuslimahFit, a fitness app for women.

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