Vegetarian Types And Labels

There are two main vegetarian types: Lacto vegetarian and Ovo vegetarian.

Here's is how to tell the difference:

First off, a vegetarian lifestyle is basically defined by the fact that a person does not consume animal flesh, including fish.

A person who eats mostly a plant based diet but also eats fish is called a pescatarian.


A lacto-vegetarian eats a plant based diet, but in addition they also consume milk or dairy products.

As you might guess, lacto is Latin for milk.

An ovo-vegetarian also does not consume any flesh of animals, but chooses to consume eggs. And of course, ovo is Latin meaning egg.

If you are a vegetarian but consume both eggs and milk/dairy products, then you would be labeled a lacto-ovo vegetarian.

Many vegetarians do eat honey, but strict vegans by implication of their lifestyle, wouldn't touch it. However, everything is personal choice as far as how far one wants to go, so the labels are just that.

Also, bear in mind that we're talking about food consumption so far.

Another classification in which you might notice within vegetarian lifestyles is ethical vegetarians vs dietary vegetarians.

Ethical vegetarians choose not to eat animal flesh because they object to animal slaughter, while dietary vegetarians choose to do away with animals products as food for health reasons.

Most vegetarians however fit both classifications. They not only reject animal flesh as food, they do not participate in using any products that resulted from an animal dying.

For example, silk, fur and leather products are usually shunned by most vegetarians and vegans.

The main philosophy behind a vegetarian who shuns meat and animal products such as leather, fur etc is that they do not believe that animals ought to be killed to satisfy human pleasure - whether that is dietary or aesthetic.

[Read: Tips on becoming a vegetarian]

You will also see terms like strict vegetarian vs mostly vegetarian. A 'mostly vegetarian' would be people who consider themselves vegetarian for the most part but occasionally eat meat or fish.

Other Labels Related to Vegetarian Types

There is other labeling within the non-meating communities that I want to take a little time to define here just for the sake of clarity.

  • Vegans

A vegan is a person that does not consume any animal products whatsoever. Some vegans consider themselves dietary vegans, meaning they do not consume animals, but they may not go as far as rejecting animal products such as leather etc.

Strict vegans on the other hand do not buy any argument that advocates killing animals for our pleasure.

  • Raw Foodist or Raw Vegan

A person that is a raw foodist or raw vegan does not consume food that is cooked. Of course it would be kinda hard to be a raw foodist that also eats meat or other animal product, but anything is possible. I haven't ever come across a raw food meat eater though.

Raw veganism is actually, quite a movement that is sweeping the health conscious community, with quite a few raw food restaurants having already sprung up.

Here in Austin, we have Beets Living Food Cafe, and having eaten there a few times, I highly recommend trying it out.

I think the most amazing raw food restaurant in existence though is The Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine, Florida. I've a bunch of friends

in Jacksoville, and every time I visit we take the 45 minute drive just to eat at Present Moment. It's an experience - I don't know what they put in their food but it tastes like love and heaven.

If nobody told you, you'd never really guess it was raw. And their desserts are to live for!

Anyway, I digress. Back to vegetarian types.....

  • Fruitarians -

A fruitarian is a person whose diet consists of only fruits and nuts and seeds. So no grains, no legumes, no vegetables - and obviously nothing cooked.

I read that the late Steve Jobs dabbled in fruitarianism at various times in his life. What a hippie :)

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