Have friends or roommates that are vegetarians? Or maybe you’re thinking of becoming vegetarian? Do you wonder what the heck vegetarians eat? How come some of them are eating fish and others won’t touch it. Then again some eat eggs and drink milk while some don’t. To clear up this confusion, let’s talk about the different types of vegetarians:
Lacto-vegetarian- eats dairy and not eggs or any meat.
Ovo-vegetarian- eats eggs but not dairy or any meat.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian- can you guess? Ok, they exclude all animal products including dairy and eggs.
Pesco-vegetarian- eats fish, dairy, eggs, but no meat
Semi-vegetarian- eats all foods except red meat
Vegan- no meat, egg or dairy (basically NO animal products)
So how do vegetarians get all of the nutrients they need? Without careful planning, they may be deficient in some nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
Protein- vegetarians who don’t eat meat, need to replace it with high-protein vegetarian foods, such as nuts, peanut butter, soy foods, and legumes like beans, peas, and lentils.
Iron- is found not only in the same foods high protein vegetarian foods listed above but also in dark green leafy veggies (broccoli, spinach) and iron fortified breakfast cereal.
Calcium- the obvious sources of calcium comes from dairy products, but vegans or ovo-vegetarians (no dairy), can find it from sources such as dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli. Foods such as soymilk, orange juice and cereal are also fortified with calcium …just make sure to read the label!
B12- this is the only one exclusively found in animal products and must be added to a vegan-vegetarian diet. Nutritional yeast flakes, fortified soy milk and fortified cereals may contain vitamin B12.