How many kinds of vegetarians are there? Your guide to a meat free diet, in case you were considering one
Lots of people are turning to a meat free diet for a number of reasons, including personal choice, health purposes and the cost factor. But as you would have figured out by now, not all meat free diets are alike. Are you vegetarian or are you vegan? What do those terms even mean?
Veganism at a glance
People who refrain from the practice of eating any form of animal produce, including shellfish and fish, are known as vegans. A vegan diet does not allow the consumption of animal flesh or any products derived from animals. Therefore, dairy foodstuffs such as cream, milk and cheese are not part of a vegan diet, and neither are eggs from hens, caviar or fish roe.
Many vegans will also avoid wearing products that have been made from animals, such as leather, wool, down or silk, as well as not using items that have been tested on animals.
The different types of vegetarians
Vegetarians, on the other hand, will not eat poultry, fish or meat, but they will drink milk, eat yoghurt, cheese and other dairy derived foods, and also eat eggs. There are different types of vegetarians, and they are divided into the following categories:
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians
To put it simply, ovo-vegetarians will eat eggs but not dairy; lacto-vegetarians will eat dairy but not eggs; and lacto-ovo vegetarians will eat both eggs and dairy.
Choosing a vegan diet
Meat, poultry and fish, as well as dairy, provide us with a number of essential nutrients for a healthy and well balanced diet, so vegans need to get these nutrients from other sources. Like a healthy vegetarian diet, the vegan diet contains a lot of vegetables and fruit, starchy foods and alternative sources of protein, iron and calcium.
Because dairy products are a good source of calcium, and calcium is needed for building and maintaining strong, healthy teeth and bones, those on a vegan diet have to compensate and find other sources of calcium. Pulses, sesame seeds and tahini contain calcium, as does a range of dried fruits such as figs, raisins, dried apricots and prunes. On the market today and readily available is a wide range of fortified soya, oat or rice drinks, as well as tofu, which is a vegetable derivative that is then calcium set.
In order for the human body to absorb calcium, it needs Vitamin D, which we produce in the body through absorbing sunlight, as well as obtain from oily fish, meat and eggs. Those on the vegan diet, however, are able to access a range of fortified, vegan-friendly fat spreads such as olive oil, soya drinks with added Vitamin D, or vitamin enriched breakfast cereals.
Protein is provided through the consumption of beans and pulses, as well as a range of whole wheat grains (such as quinoa), dark green vegetables and nut butter, just to mention a few vegan-friendly food staples.
Vegan sprouted grain bread and tempeh are also good sources of protein, and there are a number of what is called “myco-proteins” (such as soya) available, and the trademarked “Quorn”, which can be used in a variety of vegan dishes.
Omegas or essential fats largely found in fish such as salmon or sardines can also be found in flaxseeds such as hemp, linseed and rapeseed, as well as in walnuts, so that, once again, the vegan diet is able to provide these essential nutrients, thus allowing vegans to maintain a healthy lifestyle while respecting their personal beliefs.
Salad dressings for all
Regardless of whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or neither, Red Kellys Tasmania is proud to be able to provide you with high quality, Aussie made, and most importantly, delicious salad dressings. Our most popular vegan friendly varieties include our Basil & Garlic, Chilli & Lime and Tangy Traditional, plus all of our salad dressings are also gluten free! Look out for us in the major supermarkets and selected independents.
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