Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal), and may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter.
Vegetarianism may be adopted for various reasons. Many people object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, as well as animal rights advocacy. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, economic, or personal preference. There are variations of the diet as well: an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products, an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, and a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs. A strict vegetarian diet – referred to as vegan – excludes all animal products, including eggs and dairy. Avoidance of animal products requires dietary supplemental vitamin B12 from fortified manufactured foods or supplement products to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to high homocysteine blood levels – a risk factor for several chronic health disorders.
Packaged and processed foods, such as cakes, cookies, candies, chocolate, yogurt, and marshmallows, often contain unfamiliar animal ingredients, so may be a special concern for vegetarians due to the likelihood of such additions. Often, prior to purchase or consumption, vegetarians will scrutinize products for animal-derived ingredients. Vegetarians' feelings vary with regard to these ingredients. For example, while some vegetarians may be unaware of animal-derived rennet's role in the production of cheese, and may therefore unknowingly consume the product, other vegetarians may not take issue with its consumption.
Semi-vegetarian diets consist largely of vegetarian foods but may include fish or poultry, or sometimes other meats, on an infrequent basis. Those with diets containing fish or poultry may define meat only as mammalian flesh and may identify with vegetarianism. A pescetarian diet has been described as "fish but no other meat". The common-use association between such diets and vegetarianism has led vegetarian groups such as the Vegetarian Society to state that diets containing these ingredients are not vegetarian, because fish and birds are also animals.
|Description||A vegetarian diet is derived from plants, with or without eggs or dairy, but without meat|
|Varieties||Ovo, Lacto, Ovo-lacto, Veganism, Raw veganism, Fruitarianism, Buddhist vegetarianism, Jain vegetarianism, Jewish vegetarianism|
The first written use of the term "vegetarian" originated in the early 19th century, when authors referred to a vegetable regimen diet. Modern dictionaries explain its origin as a compound of vegetable (adjective) and the suffix -arian (in the sense of agrarian). The term was popularized with the foundation of the Vegetarian Society in Manchester in 1847, although it may have appeared in print before 1847. The earliest occurrences of the term seem to be related to Alcott House—a school on the north side of Ham Common, London—which was opened in July 1838 by James Pierrepont Greaves. From 1841, it was known as A Concordium, or Industry Harmony College, from which time the institution began to publish its own pamphlet entitled The Healthian, which provides some of the earliest appearances of the term "vegetarian".
The earliest record of vegetarianism comes from the 7th century BCE, inculcating tolerance towards all living beings. Parshwanatha and Mahavira, the 23rd & 24th tirthankaras in Jainism respectively revived and advocated ahimsa and Jain vegetarianism in 8th to 6th century BC; the most comprehensive and strictest form of vegetarianism. Vegetarianism was also practiced in ancient Greece and the earliest reliable evidence for vegetarian theory and practice in Greece dates from the 6th century BC. The Orphics, a religious movement spreading in Greece at that time, also practiced and promoted vegetarianism. Greek teacher Pythagoras, who promoted the altruistic doctrine of metempsychosis, may have practiced vegetarianism, but is also recorded as eating meat. A fictionalized portrayal of Pythagoras appears in Ovid's Metamorphoses, in which he advocates a form of strict vegetarianism. It was through this portrayal that Pythagoras was best known to English-speakers throughout the early modern period and, prior to the coinage of the word "vegetarianism", vegetarians were referred to in English as "Pythagoreans".
Vegetarianism was also practiced about six centuries later in another instance (30 BCE–50 CE) in the northern Thracian region by the Moesi tribe (who inhabited present-day Serbia and Bulgaria), feeding themselves on honey, milk, and cheese.
In Indian culture, vegetarianism has been closely connected with the attitude of nonviolence towards animals (called ahimsa in India) for millennia and was promoted by religious groups and philosophers. The ancient Indian work of Tirukkural explicitly and unambiguously emphasizes shunning meat and non-killing. Chapter 26 of the Tirukkural, particularly couplets 251–260, deals exclusively on vegetarianism or veganism. Among the Hellenes, Egyptians, and others, vegetarianism had medical or ritual purification purposes.
Following the Christianization of the Roman Empire in late antiquity, vegetarianism practically disappeared from Europe, as it did elsewhere, except in India. Several orders of monks in medieval Europe restricted or banned the consumption of meat for ascetic reasons, but none of them eschewed fish. Moreover, the medieval definition of "fish" included such animals as seals, porpoises, dolphins, barnacle geese, puffins, and beavers. Vegetarianism re-emerged during the Renaissance, becoming more widespread in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1847, the first Vegetarian Society was founded in the United Kingdom; Germany, the Netherlands, and other countries followed. In 1886, the vegetarian colony Nueva Germania was founded in Paraguay, though its vegetarian aspect would prove short-lived.:345–358 The International Vegetarian Union, an association of the national societies, was founded in 1908. In the Western world, the popularity of vegetarianism grew during the 20th century as a result of nutritional, ethical, and—more recently—environmental and economic concerns.
There are a number of vegetarian diets that exclude or include various foods:
Some vegetarians also avoid products that may use animal ingredients not included in their labels or which use animal products in their manufacturing. For example, sugars that are whitened with bone char, cheeses that use animal rennet (enzymes from animal stomach lining), gelatin (derived from the collagen inside animals' skin, bones, and connective tissue), some cane sugar (but not beet sugar) and beverages (such as apple juice and alcohol) clarified with gelatin or crushed shellfish and sturgeon, while other vegetarians are unaware of, or do not mind, such ingredients.
Individuals sometimes label themselves "vegetarian" while practicing a semi-vegetarian diet, as some dictionary definitions describe vegetarianism as sometimes including the consumption of fish, or only include mammalian flesh as part of their definition of meat, while other definitions exclude fish and all animal flesh. In other cases, individuals may describe themselves as "flexitarian". These diets may be followed by those who reduce animal flesh consumed as a way of transitioning to a complete vegetarian diet or for health, ethical, environmental, or other reasons. Semi-vegetarian diets include:
Studies on the health effects of vegetarian diets observe heterogeneous effects on mortality. One review found a decreased overall risk of all cause mortality, cancer (except breast) and cardiovascular disease; however, a meta-analysis found lower risk for ischemic heart disease and cancer but no effect on overall mortality or cerebrovascular disease. Possible limitations include varying definitions used of vegetarianism, and the observation of increased risk of lung cancer mortality in those on a vegetarian diet for less than five years. An analysis pooling two large studies found vegetarians in the UK have similar all cause mortality as meat eaters. An older meta analysis found similar results, only finding decreased mortality in vegetarians, pescatarians, and irregular meat eaters in ischemic heart disease, but not from any other cause.
Vegetarian diets have been shown to prevent and treat gallstones, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, diverticular disease, renal disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietitians of Canada have stated that at all stages of life, a properly planned vegetarian diet is "healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provides health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases". Large-scale studies have shown that mortality from ischemic heart disease was 30% lower among vegetarian men and 20% lower among vegetarian women than in non-vegetarians. Vegetarian diets offer lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein, and higher levels of carbohydrates, fibre, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals.
"Vegetarian diets can meet guidelines for the treatment of diabetes and some research suggests that diets that are more plant-based reduce risk of type-2 diabetes. Rates of self-reported Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) were less than half of those of the general population, and, among SDA, vegetarians had lower rates of diabetes than non-vegetarians. Among possible explanations for a protective effect of vegetarian diet are the Lower BMI of vegetarians and higher fiber intake, both of which improve insulin sensitivity."
The relationship between vegetarian diet and bone health remains unclear. According to some studies, a vegetarian lifestyle can be associated with vitamin B 12 deficiency and low bone mineral density. However, a study of vegetarian and non-vegetarian adults in Taiwan found no significant difference in bone mineral density between the two groups. Other studies, exploring animal protein's negative effects on bone health, suggest that vegetarians may be less prone to osteoporosis than omnivores, as vegetarian subjects had greater bone mineral density and more bone formation.
The China-Cornell-Oxford Project, a 20-year study conducted by Cornell University, the University of Oxford, and the government of China has established a correlation between the consumption of animal products and a variety of chronic illnesses, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancers of the breast, prostate and bowel (see The China Study).
A strict vegetarian diet avoiding consumption of all animal products risks vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to hyperhomocysteinemia, a risk factor for several health disorders, including anemia, neurological deficits, gastrointestinal problems, platelet disorders, and increased risk for cardiovascular diseases. This risk may be offset by ensuring sufficient intake of vitamin B12 by consuming fortified foods with vitamin B12 added during manufacturing, or by using a dietary supplement product.
Western vegetarian diets are typically high in carotenoids, but relatively low in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Vegans can have particularly low intake of vitamin B and calcium if they do not eat enough items such as collard greens, leafy greens, tempeh and tofu (soy). High levels of dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, and magnesium, and low consumption of saturated fat are all considered to be beneficial aspects of a vegetarian diet. A well planned vegetarian diet will provide all nutrients in a meat-eater's diet to the same level for all stages of life.
Protein intake in vegetarian diets is lower than in meat diets but can meet the daily requirements for most people. Studies at Harvard University as well as other studies conducted in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and various European countries, confirmed vegetarian diets provide sufficient protein intake as long as a variety of plant sources are available and consumed. Pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, hemp seed, almonds, pistachio nuts, flaxseed, tofu, oats, soybeans, walnuts, are great sources of protein for vegetarians. Proteins are composed of amino acids, and a common concern with protein acquired from vegetable sources is an adequate intake of the essential amino acids, which cannot be synthesised by the human body. While dairy and egg products provide complete sources for ovo-lacto vegetarian, several vegetable sources have significant amounts of all eight types of essential amino acids, including lupin beans, soy, hempseed, chia seed, amaranth, buckwheat, pumpkin seeds spirulina, pistachios, and quinoa. However, the essential amino acids can also be obtained by eating a variety of complementary plant sources that, in combination, provide all eight essential amino acids (e.g. brown rice and beans, or hummus and pita, though protein combining in the same meal is not necessary. A 1994 study found a varied intake of such sources can be adequate.
Vegetarian diets typically contain similar levels of iron to non-vegetarian diets, but this has lower bioavailability than iron from meat sources, and its absorption can sometimes be inhibited by other dietary constituents. According to the Vegetarian Resource Group, consuming food that contains vitamin C, such as citrus fruit or juices, tomatoes, or broccoli, is a good way to increase the amount of iron absorbed at a meal. Vegetarian foods rich in iron include black beans, cashews, hempseed, kidney beans, broccoli, lentils, oatmeal, raisins, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, black-eyed peas, soybeans, many breakfast cereals, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, tomato juice, tempeh, molasses, thyme, and whole-wheat bread. The related vegan diets can often be higher in iron than vegetarian diets, because dairy products are low in iron. Iron stores often tend to be lower in vegetarians than non-vegetarians, and a few small studies report very high rates of iron deficiency (up to 40%, and 58% of the respective vegetarian or vegan groups). However, the American Dietetic Association states that iron deficiency is no more common in vegetarians than non-vegetarians (adult males are rarely iron deficient); iron deficiency anaemia is rare no matter the diet.
According to the United States National Institutes of Health, vitamin B12 is not generally present in plants and is naturally found in foods of animal origin. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can obtain B12 from dairy products and eggs, and vegans can obtain it from manufactured fortified foods (including plant-based products and breakfast cereals) and dietary supplements.
The recommended daily dietary intake of B12 in the United States and Canada is 0.4 mcg (ages 0–6 months), rising to 1.8 mcg (9–13 years), 2.4 mcg (14+ years), and 2.8 mcg (lactating female). While the body's daily requirement for vitamin B12 is in microgram amounts, deficiency of the vitamin through strict practice of a vegetarian diet without supplementation can increase the risk of several chronic diseases.
Plant-based, or vegetarian, sources of Omega 3 fatty acids include soy, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, canola oil, kiwifruit, hempseed, algae, chia seed, flaxseed, echium seed and leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage and purslane. Purslane contains more Omega 3 than any other known leafy green. Olives (and olive oil) are another important plant source of unsaturated fatty acids. Plant foods can provide alpha-linolenic acid which the human body uses to synthesize the long-chain n-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA can be obtained directly in high amounts from oily fish or fish oils. Vegetarians, and particularly vegans, have lower levels of EPA and DHA than meat-eaters. While the health effects of low levels of EPA and DHA are unknown, it is unlikely that supplementation with alpha-linolenic acid will significantly increase levels. Recently, some companies have begun to market vegetarian DHA supplements containing seaweed extracts. Whole seaweeds are not suitable for supplementation because their high iodine content limits the amount that may be safely consumed. However, certain algae such as spirulina are good sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid (AA).
Calcium intake in vegetarians and vegans can be similar to non-vegetarians, as long as the diet is properly planned. Lacto-ovo vegetarians that include dairy products can still obtain calcium from dairy sources like milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Non-dairy milks that are fortified with calcium, such as soymilk and almond milk can also contribute a significant amount of calcium in the diet. The calcium found in broccoli, bok choy, and kale have also been found to have calcium that is well absorbed in the body. Though the calcium content per serving is lower in these vegetables than a glass of milk, the absorption of the calcium into the body is higher. Other foods that contain calcium include calcium-set tofu, blackstrap molasses, turnip greens, mustard greens, soybeans, tempeh, almonds, okra, dried figs, and tahini. Though calcium can be found in Spinach, swiss chard, beans and beet greens, they are generally not considered to be a good source since the calcium binds to oxalic acid and is poorly absorbed into the body. Phytic acid found in nuts, seeds, and beans may also impact calcium absorption rates. See the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements for calcium needs for various ages, the Vegetarian Resource Group and the Vegetarian Nutrition Calcium Fact Sheet from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for more specifics on how to obtain adequate calcium intake on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Vitamin D needs can be met via the human body's own generation upon sufficient and sensible exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light in sunlight. Products including milk, soy milk and cereal grains may be fortified to provide a source of Vitamin D. For those who do not get adequate sun exposure or food sources, Vitamin D supplementation may be necessary.
Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol is found in fungus (except alfalfa which is a plantae) and created from viosterol, which in turn is created when ultraviolet light activates ergosterol (which is found in fungi and named as a sterol from ergot). Any UV-irradiated fungus including yeast form vitamin D2. Human bioavailability of vitamin D2 from vitamin D2-enhanced button mushrooms via UV-B irradiation is effective in improving vitamin D status and not different from a vitamin D2 supplement according to study. For example, Vitamin D2 from UV-irradiated yeast baked into bread is bioavailable. By visual assessment or using a chromometer, no significant discoloration of irradiated mushrooms, as measured by the degree of "whiteness", was observed making it hard to discover if they have been treated without labeling. Claims have been made that a normal serving (approx. 3 oz or 1/2 cup, or 60 grams) of mushrooms treated with ultraviolet light increase their vitamin D content to levels up to 80 micrograms, or 2700 IU if exposed to just 5 minutes of UV light after being harvested.
A 1999 metastudy combined data from five studies from western countries. The metastudy reported mortality ratios, where lower numbers indicated fewer deaths, for fish eaters to be 0.82, vegetarians to be 0.84, occasional meat eaters (eat meat less than once per week) to be 0.84. Regular meat eaters had the base mortality rate of 1.0, while the number for vegans was very uncertain (anywhere between 0.7 and 1.44) due to too few data points. The study reported the numbers of deaths in each category, and expected error ranges for each ratio, and adjustments made to the data. However, the "lower mortality was due largely to the relatively low prevalence of smoking in these [vegetarian] cohorts". Out of the major causes of death studied, only one difference in mortality rate was attributed to the difference in diet, as the conclusion states: "...vegetarians had a 24% lower mortality from ischaemic heart disease than non-vegetarians, but no associations of a vegetarian diet with other major causes of death were established".
In Mortality in British vegetarians, a similar conclusion is drawn:
British vegetarians have low mortality compared with the general population. Their death rates are similar to those of comparable non-vegetarians, suggesting that much of this benefit may be attributed to non-dietary lifestyle factors such as a low prevalence of smoking and a generally high socio-economic status, or to aspects of the diet other than the avoidance of meat and fish."
The Adventist Health Studies is ongoing research that documents the life expectancy in Seventh-day Adventists. This is the only study among others with similar methodology which had favourable indication for vegetarianism. The researchers found that a combination of different lifestyle choices could influence life expectancy by as much as 10 years. Among the lifestyle choices investigated, a vegetarian diet was estimated to confer an extra 1–1/2 to 2 years of life. The researchers concluded that "the life expectancies of California Adventist men and women are higher than those of any other well-described natural population" at 78.5 years for men and 82.3 years for women. The life expectancy of California Adventists surviving to age 30 was 83.3 years for men and 85.7 years for women.
The Adventist health study is again incorporated into a metastudy titled "Does low meat consumption increase life expectancy in humans?" published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which concluded that low meat eating (less than once per week) and other lifestyle choices significantly increase life expectancy, relative to a group with high meat intake. The study concluded that "The findings from one cohort of healthy adults raises the possibility that long-term (≥ 2 decades) adherence to a vegetarian diet can further produce a significant 3.6-y increase in life expectancy." However, the study also concluded that "Some of the variation in the survival advantage in vegetarians may have been due to marked differences between studies in adjustment for confounders, the definition of vegetarian, measurement error, age distribution, the healthy volunteer effect, and intake of specific plant foods by the vegetarians." It further states that "This raises the possibility that a low-meat, high plant-food dietary pattern may be the true causal protective factor rather than simply elimination of meat from the diet." In a recent review of studies relating low-meat diet patterns to all-cause mortality, Singh noted that "5 out of 5 studies indicated that adults who followed a low meat, high plant-food diet pattern experienced significant or marginally significant decreases in mortality risk relative to other patterns of intake."
Statistical studies, such as comparing life expectancy with regional areas and local diets in Europe also have found life expectancy considerably greater in southern France, where a low meat, high plant Mediterranean diet is common, than northern France, where a diet with high meat content is more common.
A study by the Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, and Institute of Physiological Chemistry looked at a group of 19 vegetarians (lacto-ovo) and used as a comparison a group of 19 omnivorous subjects recruited from the same region. The study found that this group of vegetarians (lacto-ovo) have a significantly higher amount of plasma carboxymethyllysine and advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) compared to this group of non-vegetarians. Carboxymethyllysine is a glycation product which represents "a general marker of oxidative stress and long-term damage of proteins in aging, atherosclerosis and diabetes" and "[a]dvanced glycation end products (AGEs) may play an important adverse role in process of atherosclerosis, diabetes, aging and chronic renal failure".
The American Dietetic Association discussed that vegetarian diets may be more common among adolescents with eating disorders, indicating that vegetarian diets do not cause eating disorders, but rather "vegetarian diets may be selected to camouflage an existing eating disorder".
Various ethical reasons have been suggested for choosing vegetarianism, usually predicated on the interests of non-human animals. In many societies, controversy and debate have arisen over the ethics of eating animals. Some people, while not vegetarians, refuse to eat the flesh of certain animals due to cultural taboo, such as cats, dogs, horses or rabbits. Others support meat eating for scientific, nutritional and cultural reasons, including religious ones. Some meat eaters abstain from the meat of animals reared in particular ways, such as factory farms, or avoid certain meats, such as veal or foie gras. Some people follow vegetarian or vegan diets not because of moral concerns involving the raising or consumption of animals in general, but because of concerns about the specific treatment and practises involved in the raising and slaughter of animals, i.e. factory farming and the industrialisation of animal slaughter. Others still avoid meat because meat production is claimed to place a greater burden on the environment than production of an equivalent amount of plant protein.
Ethical objections based on consideration for animals are generally divided into opposition to the act of killing in general, and opposition to certain agricultural practices surrounding the production of meat.
Princeton University professor and animal rights activist Peter Singer believes that if alternative means of survival exist, one ought to choose the option that does not cause unnecessary harm to animals. Most ethical vegetarians argue that the same reasons exist against killing animals in the flesh to eat as against killing humans to eat, especially humans with cognitive abilities equal or lesser than the animals in question. Singer, in his book Animal Liberation, listed possible qualities of sentience in non-human creatures that gave such creatures the scope to be considered under utilitarian ethics, and this has been widely referenced by animal rights campaigners and vegetarians. Ethical vegetarians also believe that killing an animal, like killing a human, especially one who has equal or lesser cognitive abilities than the animals in question, can only be justified in extreme circumstances and that consuming a living creature for its enjoyable taste, convenience, or nutrition value is not a sufficient cause. Another common view is that humans are morally conscious of their behavior in a way other animals are not, and therefore subject to higher standards. One author proposes that denying the right to life and humane treatment to animals with equal or greater cognitive abilities than mentally disabled humans is an arbitrary and discriminatory practice based on habit instead of logic. Opponents of ethical vegetarianism argue that animals are not moral equals to humans and so consider the comparison of eating livestock with killing people to be fallacious. This view does not excuse cruelty, but maintains that animals do not possess the rights a human has.
One of the main differences between a vegan and a typical vegetarian diet is the avoidance of both eggs and dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter and yogurt. Ethical vegans do not consume dairy or eggs because they state that their production causes the animal suffering or a premature death.
To produce milk from dairy cattle, calves are separated from their mothers soon after birth and slaughtered or fed milk replacer in order to retain the cows milk for human consumption. Many vegans state that this breaks the natural mother and calf bond. Unwanted male calves are either slaughtered at birth or sent for veal production. To prolong lactation, dairy cows are almost permanently kept pregnant through artificial insemination. After about five years, once the cow's milk production has dropped, she is considered "spent" and sent to slaughter for beef and her hide. A dairy cow's natural life expectancy is about twenty years.
Ethical vegetarianism has become popular in developed countries particularly because of the spread of factory farming, faster communications, and environmental consciousness. Some believe that the current mass demand for meat cannot be satisfied without a mass-production system that disregards the welfare of animals, while others believe that practices like well-managed free-ranging and consumption of game, particularly from species whose natural predators have been significantly eliminated, could substantially alleviate the demand for mass-produced meat.
Ancient Greek philosophy has a long tradition of vegetarianism. Pythagoras was reportedly vegetarian (and studied at Mt. Carmel, where some historians say there was a vegetarian community), as his followers were expected to be.
Roman writer Ovid concluded his magnum opus Metamorphoses, in part, with the impassioned argument (uttered by the character of Pythagoras) that in order for humanity to change, or metamorphose, into a better, more harmonious species, it must strive towards more humane tendencies. He cited vegetarianism as the crucial decision in this metamorphosis, explaining his belief that human life and animal life are so entwined that to kill an animal is virtually the same as killing a fellow human.
Everything changes; nothing dies; the soul roams to and fro, now here, now there, and takes what frame it will, passing from beast to man, from our own form to beast and never dies...Therefore lest appetite and greed destroy the bonds of love and duty, heed my message! Abstain! Never by slaughter dispossess souls that are kin and nourish blood with blood!
Jainism teaches vegetarianism as moral conduct as do some major sects of Hinduism. Buddhism in general does not prohibit meat eating, while Mahayana Buddhism encourages vegetarianism as beneficial for developing compassion. Other denominations that advocate a vegetarian diet include the Seventh-day Adventists, the Rastafari movement, the Ananda Marga movement and the Hare Krishnas. Sikhism does not equate spirituality with diet and does not specify a vegetarian or meat diet.
While there are no dietary restrictions in the Bahá'í Faith, `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the religion's founder, noted that a vegetarian diet consisting of fruits and grains was desirable, except for people with a weak constitution or those that are sick. He stated that there are no requirements that Bahá'ís become vegetarian, but that a future society should gradually become vegetarian. `Abdu'l-Bahá also stated that killing animals was contrary to compassion. While Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Bahá'í Faith in the first half of the 20th century, stated that a purely vegetarian diet would be preferable since it avoided killing animals, both he and the Universal House of Justice, the governing body of the Bahá'ís have stated that these teachings do not constitute a Bahá'í practice and that Bahá'ís can choose to eat whatever they wish but should be respectful of others' beliefs.
Theravadins in general eat meat. If Buddhist monks "see, hear or know" a living animal was killed specifically for them to eat, they must refuse it or else incur an offense. However, this does not include eating meat which was given as alms or commercially purchased. In the Theravada canon, Buddha did not make any comment discouraging them from eating meat (except specific types, such as human, elephant meat, horse, dog, snake, lion, tiger, leopard, bear, and hyena flesh) but he specifically refused to institute vegetarianism in his monastic code when a suggestion had been made.
In several Sanskrit texts of Mahayana Buddhism, Buddha instructs his followers to avoid meat. However, each branch of Mahayana Buddhism selects which sutra to follow, and some branches, including the majority of Tibetan and Japanese Buddhists, do eat meat, while many Chinese Buddhist branches do not.
Early Christians disagreed as to whether they should eat meat, and later Christian historians have disagreed over whether Jesus was a vegetarian. Various groups within Christianity have practiced specific dietary restrictions for various reasons. The Council of Jerusalem in around 50 AD, recommended Christians keep following some of the Jewish food laws concerning meat. The early sect known as the Ebionites are considered to have practiced vegetarianism. Surviving fragments from their Gospel indicate their belief that – as Christ is the Passover sacrifice and eating the Passover lamb is no longer required – a vegetarian diet may (or should) be observed. However, orthodox Christianity does not accept their teaching as authentic. Indeed, their specific injunction to strict vegetarianism was cited as one of the Ebionites' "errors".
At a much later time, the Bible Christian Church founded by Reverend William Cowherd in 1809 followed a vegetarian diet. Cowherd was one of the philosophical forerunners of the Vegetarian Society. Cowherd encouraged members to abstain from eating of meat as a form of temperance.
Seventh-day Adventists are encouraged to engage in healthy eating practices, and ova-lacto-vegetarian diets are recommended by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Nutrition Council (GCNC). They have also sponsored and participated in many scientific studies exploring the impact of dietary decisions upon health outcomes. The GCNC has in addition adapted the USDA's food pyramid for a vegetarian dietary approach. However, the only kinds of meat specifically frowned upon by the SDA health message are unclean meats, or those forbidden in scripture.
Additionally, some monastic orders follow a vegetarian diet, and members of the Orthodox Church follow a vegan diet during fasts. There is also a strong association between the Quakers and vegetarianism dating back at least to the 18th century. The association grew in prominence during the 19th century, coupled with growing Quaker concerns in connection with alcohol consumption, anti-vivisection and social purity. The association between the Quaker tradition and vegetarianism, however, becomes most significant with the founding of the Friends' Vegetarian Society in 1902 "to spread a kindlier way of living amongst the Society of Friends."
According to Canon Law, Roman Catholics ages 14 and older are required to abstain from meat (defined as all mammal and fowl flesh and organs, excluding water animals) on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent including Good Friday. Canon Law also obliges Catholics to abstain from meat on the Fridays of the year outside of Lent (excluding certain holy days) unless, with the permission of the local conference of bishops, another penitential act is substituted. The restrictions on eating meat on these days is solely as an act of penance and not because of a religious objection to eating meat.
Since the formation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the 1860s when the church began, wholeness and health have been an emphasis of the Adventist church, and has been known as the "health message" belief of the church. Adventists are well known for presenting a health message that recommends vegetarianism and expects adherence to the kosher laws in Leviticus 11. Obedience to these laws means abstinence from pork, shellfish, and other animals proscribed as "unclean". The church discourages its members from consuming alcoholic beverages, tobacco or illegal drugs (compare Christianity and alcohol). In addition, some Adventists avoid coffee, tea, cola, and other beverages containing caffeine.
The pioneers of the Adventist Church had much to do with the common acceptance of breakfast cereals into the Western diet, and the "modern commercial concept of cereal food" originated among Adventists. John Harvey Kellogg was one of the early founders of Adventist health work. His development of breakfast cereals as a health food led to the founding of Kellogg's by his brother William. In both Australia and New Zealand, the church-owned Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company is a leading manufacturer of health and vegetarian-related products, most prominently Weet-Bix.
Research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health has shown that the average Adventist in California lives 4 to 10 years longer than the average Californian. The research, as cited by the cover story of the November 2005 issue of National Geographic, asserts that Adventists live longer because they do not smoke or drink alcohol, have a day of rest every week, and maintain a healthy, low-fat vegetarian diet that is rich in nuts and beans. The cohesiveness of Adventists' social networks has also been put forward as an explanation for their extended lifespan. Since Dan Buettner's 2005 National Geographic story about Adventist longevity, his book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest, named Loma Linda, California a "blue zone" because of the large concentration of Seventh-day Adventists. He cites the Adventist emphasis on health, diet, and Sabbath-keeping as primary factors for Adventist longevity.
Though there is no strict rule on what to consume and what not to, paths of Hinduism hold vegetarianism as an ideal. Some reasons are: the principle of nonviolence (ahimsa) applied to animals; the intention to offer only "pure" (vegetarian) food to a deity and then to receive it back as prasad; and the conviction that a sattvic diet is beneficial for a healthy body and mind and that non-vegetarian food is not recommended for a better mind and for spiritual development.
However, the food habits of Hindus vary according to their community, location, custom and varying traditions. Historically and currently, those Hindus who eat meat prescribe Jhatka meat,Hindus believe that the cow is a holy animal whose slaughter for meat is forbidden.
Some followers of Islam, or Muslims, chose to be vegetarian for health, ethical, or personal reasons. However, the choice to become vegetarian for non-medical reasons can sometimes be controversial due to conflicting fatwas and differing interpretations of the Quran. Though some more traditional Muslims may keep quiet about their vegetarian diet, the number of vegetarian Muslims is increasing.
Vegetarianism has been practiced by some influential Muslims including the Iraqi theologian, female mystic and poet Rabia of Basra, who died in the year 801, and the Sri Lankan Sufi master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, who established The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship of North America in Philadelphia. The former Indian president Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was also famously a vegetarian.
In January 1996, The International Vegetarian Union announced the formation of the Muslim Vegetarian/Vegan Society.
Many non-vegetarian Muslims will select vegetarian (or seafood) options when dining in non-halal restaurants. However, this is a matter of not having the right kind of meat rather than preferring not to eat meat on the whole.
Followers of Jainism believe that all living organisms whether they are micro-organism are living and have a soul, and have one or more senses out of five senses and they go to great lengths to minimise any harm to any living organism. Most Jains are lacto-vegetarians but more devout Jains do not eat root vegetables because they believe that root vegetables contain a lot more micro-organisms as compared to other vegetables, and that, by eating them, violence of these micro-organisms is inevitable. So they focus on eating beans and fruits, whose cultivation do not involve killing of a lot of micro-organisms. No products obtained from dead animals are allowed, because when a living beings dies, a lot of micro-organisms (called as decomposers) will reproduce in the body which decomposes the body, and in eating the dead bodies, violence of decomposers is inevitable. Jain monks usually do a lot of fasting, and when they knew through spiritual powers that their life is very little, they start fasting until death. Some particularly dedicated individuals are fruitarians. Honey is forbidden, because honey is the regurgitation of nectar by bees  and may also contain eggs, excreta and dead bees. Some Jains do not consume plant parts that grow underground such as roots and bulbs, because the plants themselves and tiny animals may be killed when the plants are pulled up.
While classical Jewish law neither requires nor prohibits the consumption of meat, Jewish vegetarians often cite Jewish principles regarding animal welfare, environmental ethics, moral character, and health as reasons for adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet.
A number of medieval rabbis (e.g., Joseph Albo and Isaac Arama) regard vegetarianism as a moral ideal because the slaughter of animals might cause the individual who performs such acts to develop negative character traits. Many modern rabbis, by contrast, advocate vegetarianism or veganism primarily because of concerns about animal welfare, especially in light of the traditional prohibition on causing unnecessary "pain to living creatures" (tza'ar ba'alei hayyim).
According to Genesis, consumption of meat was prohibited to human beings (1:29-30) though Noah was given permission to consume meat after the Great Flood. Some advocates of Jewish vegetarianism, such as Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, describe vegetarianism as an eschatological ideal to which all human beings must eventually return. A number of Jewish vegetarian groups and activists promote such ideas and believe that the halakhic permission to eat meat is a temporary leniency for those who are not ready yet to accept the vegetarian diet. For some commentators, such as Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz, the complexity of the laws of sacrifice and slaughter (shechita) was intended to discourage the consumption of meat and make it less painful for the animals.
Jewish vegetarianism and veganism have become especially popular among Israeli Jews. In 2016, Israel was described as "the most vegan country on Earth", as five percent of its population eschewed all animal products. Interest in veganism has grown among both non-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews in Israel.
Within the Afro-Caribbean community, a minority are Rastafari and follow the dietary regulations with varying degrees of strictness. The most orthodox eat only "Ital" or natural foods, in which the matching of herbs or spices with vegetables is the result of long tradition originating from the African ancestry and cultural heritage of Rastafari. "Ital", which is derived from the word vital, means essential to human existence. Ital cooking in its strictest form prohibits the use of salt, meat (especially pork), preservatives, colorings, flavorings and anything artificial. Most Rastafari are vegetarian.
The tenets of Sikhism do not advocate a particular stance on either vegetarianism or the consumption of meat, but leave the decision of diet to the individual. The tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, however, prohibited "Amritdhari" Sikhs, or those that follow the Sikh Rehat Maryada (the Official Sikh Code of Conduct) from eating Kutha meat, or meat which has been obtained from animals which have been killed in a ritualistic way. This is understood to have been for the political reason of maintaining independence from the then-new Muslim hegemony, as Muslims largely adhere to the ritualistic halal diet.
"Amritdharis" that belong to some Sikh sects (e.g. Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Damdami Taksal, Namdhari and Rarionwalay, etc.) are vehemently against the consumption of meat and eggs (though they do consume and encourage the consumption of milk, butter and cheese). This vegetarian stance has been traced back to the times of the British Raj, with the advent of many new Vaishnava converts. In response to the varying views on diet throughout the Sikh population, Sikh Gurus have sought to clarify the Sikh view on diet, stressing their preference only for simplicity of diet. Guru Nanak said that over-consumption of food (Lobh, Greed) involves a drain on the Earth's resources and thus on life. Passages from the Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of Sikhs, also known as the Adi Granth) say that it is "foolish" to argue for the superiority of animal life, because though all life is related, only human life carries more importance: "Only fools argue whether to eat meat or not. Who can define what is meat and what is not meat? Who knows where the sin lies, being a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian?" The Sikh langar, or free temple meal, is largely lacto-vegetarian, though this is understood to be a result of efforts to present a meal that is respectful of the diets of any person who would wish to dine, rather than out of dogma.
Environmental vegetarianism is based on the concern that the production of meat and animal products for mass consumption, especially through factory farming, is environmentally unsustainable. According to a 2006 United Nations initiative, the livestock industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation worldwide, and modern practices of raising animals for food contribute on a "massive scale" to air and water pollution, land degradation, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. The initiative concluded that "the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."
In addition, animal agriculture is a large source of greenhouse gases. According to a 2006 report it is responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions as estimated in 100-year CO2 equivalents. Livestock sources (including enteric fermentation and manure) account for about 3.1 percent of US anthropogenic GHG emissions expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents. This EPA estimate is based on methodologies agreed to by the Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC, with 100-year global warming potentials from the IPCC Second Assessment Report used in estimating GHG emissions as carbon dioxide equivalents.
Meat produced in a laboratory (called in vitro meat) may be more environmentally sustainable than regularly produced meat. Reactions of vegetarians vary. Rearing a relatively small number of grazing animals can be beneficial, as the Food Climate Research Network at Surrey University reports: "A little bit of livestock production is probably a good thing for the environment".
In May 2009, Ghent, Belgium, was reported to be "the first [city] in the world to go vegetarian at least once a week" for environmental reasons, when local authorities decided to implement a "weekly meatless day". Civil servants would eat vegetarian meals one day per week, in recognition of the United Nations' report. Posters were put up by local authorities to encourage the population to take part on vegetarian days, and "veggie street maps" were printed to highlight vegetarian restaurants. In September 2009, schools in Ghent are due to have a weekly veggiedag ("vegetarian day") too.
Public opinion and acceptance of meat-free food is expected to be more successful if its descriptive words focus less on the health aspects and more on the flavor.
Some groups, such as PETA, promote vegetarianism as a way to offset poor treatment and working conditions of workers in the contemporary meat industry. These groups cite studies showing the psychological damage caused by working in the meat industry, especially in factory and industrialised settings, and argue that the meat industry violates its labourers' human rights by assigning difficult and distressing tasks without adequate counselling, training and debriefing. However, the working conditions of agricultural workers as a whole, particularly non-permanent workers, remain poor and well below conditions prevailing in other economic sectors. Accidents, including pesticide poisoning, among farmers and plantation workers contribute to increased health risks, including increased mortality. According to the International Labour Organization, agriculture is one of the three most dangerous jobs in the world.
Similar to environmental vegetarianism is the concept of economic vegetarianism. An economic vegetarian is someone who practices vegetarianism from either the philosophical viewpoint concerning issues such as public health and curbing world starvation, the belief that the consumption of meat is economically unsound, part of a conscious simple living strategy or just out of necessity. According to the Worldwatch Institute, "Massive reductions in meat consumption in industrial nations will ease their health care burden while improving public health; declining livestock herds will take pressure off rangelands and grainlands, allowing the agricultural resource base to rejuvenate. As populations grow, lowering meat consumption worldwide will allow more efficient use of declining per capita land and water resources, while at the same time making grain more affordable to the world's chronically hungry."
A 1992 market research study conducted by the Yankelovich research organisation concluded that "of the 12.4 million people [in the US] who call themselves vegetarian, 68% are female, while only 32% are male".
At least one study indicates that vegetarian women are more likely to have female babies. A study of 6,000 pregnant women in 1998 "found that while the national average in Britain is 106 boys born to every 100 girls, for vegetarian mothers the ratio was just 85 boys to 100 girls". Catherine Collins of the British Dietetic Association has dismissed this as a "statistical fluke" given that it is actually the male's genetic contribution which determines the sex of a baby.
A vegetarian is someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, fungi, algae, yeast and/or some other non-animal-based foods (e.g. salt) with, or without, dairy products, honey and/or eggs. A vegetarian does not eat foods that consist of, or have been produced with the aid of products consisting of or created from, any part of the body of a living or dead animal. This includes meat, poultry, fish, shellfish*, insects, by-products of slaughter or any food made with processing aids created from these
Many vegetarians don't consider that some of the cheeses they are eating could actually contain unfamiliar animal ingredients. That's right cheese, a common staple in many vegetarian diets, is often made with rennet or rennin, which is used to coagulate the dairy product.
Why are some cheeses labeled as 'vegetarian cheese'? Why wouldn't cheese be vegetarian? What is rennet?
Definition of pescatarian: one whose diet includes fish but no other meat
Many things have changed since the Vegetarian Society was founded way back in 1847, but fish have always been cold-blooded water dwelling animals and vegetarians do not eat animals.
In 1841 the [Alcott House] was re-invented as A Concordium, or Industry Harmony College though the building remained 'Alcott House'. Also in 1841 they began printing and publishing their own pamphlets, which now seem to be lost, but we have the relevant extracts, with the earliest known use of 'vegetarian', from their first journal which began in December 1841[.]
The term 'Vegetarian' was first used around 1840 by the community closely associated with Alcott House School, near London, and they used it to refer exclusively to foods derived from plants—plus all the ethical values associated today with Veganism. [...] The word 'Vegetarian' was first formally used on September 30th of 1847 at Northwood Villa in Kent, England. The occasion being the inaugural meeting of The Vegetarian Society.
For discerning consumers, a recent Health Ministry notification had made it mandatory for packed food containing animal parts contained in a box, to sport a brown dot prominently on its label.
Seals, porpoises, dolphins, barnacle geese, puffins, and beavers are all classed as fish as their lives begin in the sea or in a river. Hence they are eaten gleefully, even on nonmeat days.
Definition of meat [2a]: 2b; also: flesh of a mammal as opposed to fowl or fish
Most Useful: word or phrase which most fills a need for a new word – Winner flexitarian: noun, a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat. 31–41
The central issue for the vegetarian community is what has been called the "ethical" issue […] ethical vegetarianism is incompatible with the orthodox view of a meat-eating Jesus
Towards the end of his life, Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) followed a vegetarian diet. It is not clear when he adopted it, since some accounts of his dietary habits prior to the Second World War indicate that he consumed meat as late as 1937. By 1938, Hitler's public image as a vegetarian was already being fostered, and from 1942, he self-identified as a vegetarian. Personal accounts from people who knew Hitler and were familiar with his diet indicate that he did not consume meat as part of his diet during this period, with several contemporaneous witnesses—such as Albert Speer (in his memoirs, Inside the Third Reich)—noting that Hitler used vivid and gruesome descriptions of animal suffering and slaughter at the dinner table to try to dissuade his colleagues from eating meat. An examination of Hitler's remains carried out by French scientists in 2017 found no traces of meat fibre in the tartar on Hitler's teeth.
Some modern day analysis has speculated that Hitler's vegetarianism may have been for health reasons due to Richard Wagner's historical theories, or even a psychological reaction to his niece's death rather than a commitment to animal welfare. In contrast, several eyewitness sources maintain Hitler was a vegetarian because of his concern for animal suffering, noting that he was often distressed by images of animal cruelty and suffering, and was an antivivisectionist.Buddhist cuisine
Buddhist cuisine is an East Asian cuisine that is followed by monks and many believers from areas historically influenced by Chinese Buddhism. It is vegetarian or vegan, and it is based on the Dharmic concept of ahimsa (non-violence). Vegetarianism is common in other Dharmic faiths such as Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism, as well as East Asian religions like Taoism. While monks and a minority of believers are vegetarian year-round, many believers follow the Buddhist vegetarian diet for celebrations.
Vegetarian cuisine is known as sùshí (素食) ("vegetarian food"), chúnsù (纯素) ("pure vegetarian"), zhāicài (斋菜) ("lent / fasting food") in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan; đồ chay in Vietnam; shōjin ryōri (精進料理, devotion cuisine) in Japan; sachal eumsik (사찰음식, "temple food") in Korea; jay (เจ) in Thailand and by other names in many countries. The dishes that comprise Buddhist cuisine in any given place will be influenced by the general local cuisine.
The origin of "Buddhist food" as a distinct sub-style of cuisine is tied to monasteries, where one member of the community would have the duty of being the head cook and supplying meals that paid respect to the strictures of Buddhist precepts. Temples that were open to visitors from the general public might also serve meals to them and a few temples effectively run functioning restaurants on the premises. In Japan, this practice is generally known as shōjin ryōri (精進料理, devotion cuisine), and served at many temples, especially in Kyoto. A more recent version, more Chinese in style, is prepared by the Ōbaku school of zen, and known as fucha ryōri (普茶料理); this is served at the head temple of Manpuku-ji, as well as various subtemples. In modern times, commercial restaurants have also latched on to the style, catering both to practicing and non-practicing lay people.Buddhist vegetarianism
Buddhist vegetarianism is the belief that following a vegetarian diet is implied in the Buddha's teaching. In Buddhism, however, the views on vegetarianism vary between different schools of thought. According to Theravada, the Buddha allowed his monks to eat pork, chicken and fish if the monk was aware that the animal was not killed on their behalf. The Mahayana schools generally recommend a vegetarian diet; according to some sutras the Buddha himself insisted that his followers should not eat the flesh of any sentient being. Monks of the Mahayana traditions that follow the Brahma Net Sutra are forbidden by their vows from eating flesh of any kind.Diet in Hinduism
Diet in Hinduism varies with its diverse traditions. The ancient and medieval Hindu texts strongly prohibit eating meat, they do strongly recommend ahimsa—non-violence against all life forms including animals because they believe that it minimizes animal deaths. Many Hindus prefer a vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian lifestyle, and methods of food production that are in sync with nature, compassionate, and respectful of other life forms as well as nature.The diet of many Hindus includes eggs, fish or meat. For slaughtering animals and birds for food, meat-eating Hindus often favor jhatka (quick death) style preparation of meat since Hindus believe that this method minimizes trauma and suffering to the animal. Ancient Hindu texts describe the whole of creation as a vast food chain, and the cosmos as a giant food cycle.Hindu mendicants (sannyasin) avoid preparing their own food, relying either on begging for leftovers or harvesting seeds and fruits from forests, as this minimizes the likely harm to other life forms and nature.Diet in Sikhism
In Sikhism, only lacto-vegetarian food is served in the Gurdwara (Sikh temple) Sikhs are bound to be meat-free. The general consensus is that Sikhs are not supposed to eat meat because doing so would harm another living being Sikhs, once they become Amritdhari (baptised) via the Amrit Sanchaar (baptism ceremony), are forbidden from eating Kutha or ritually-slaughtered (Halal, Kosher) meat because it transgresses one of the four restrictions in the Sikh Code of Conduct.Environmental vegetarianism
Environmental vegetarianism is the practice of vegetarianism when motivated by the desire to not contribute to the negative environmental impact of meat production. Livestock as a whole is estimated to be responsible for around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, significant reduction in meat consumption has been advocated by, among others, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and as part of the 2017 World Scientists' Warning to Humanity.Other than climate change, environmental concerns about the production of animal products may also relate to pollution, deforestation, unsustainability and the use of water and land.Forks Over Knives
Forks Over Knives is a 2011 American advocacy film and documentary that advocates a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet as a way to avoid or reverse several chronic diseases. The film stresses that processed foods and all oils should be avoided. This is sometimes confused with a vegan diet, which in practice can be very different. The whole-food, plant-based diet promotes eating whole, unrefined or minimally refined plant-based foods. Those who adopt the lifestyle will base their diets around foods such as whole grains, legumes, tubers, vegetables, and fruits. It seeks to exclude or minimize any sources of animal-based protein and highly refined foods such as refined sugars, bleached flours, and oils.History of vegetarianism
The earliest records of vegetarianism as a concept and practice amongst a significant number of people are from ancient India and the ancient Greek civilizations in southern Italy and Greece. In both instances, the diet was closely connected with the idea of nonviolence toward animals (called ahimsa in India), and was promoted by religious groups and philosophers.Following the Christianization of the Roman Empire in late antiquity (4th–6th centuries), vegetarianism nearly disappeared from Europe. Several orders of monks in medieval Europe restricted or banned the consumption of meat for ascetic reasons, but none of them abstained from the consumption of fish; these monks were not vegetarians, but some were pescetarians. Vegetarianism was to reemerge somewhat in Europe during the Renaissance and became a more widespread practice during the 19th and 20th centuries. The figures for the percentage of the Western world which is vegetarian varies between 0.5% and 4% per Mintel data in September 2006.Jain vegetarianism
Jain vegetarianism is practiced by the followers of Jain culture and philosophy. It is one of the most rigorous forms of spiritually motivated diet on the Indian subcontinent and beyond. The Jain cuisine is completely vegetarian and also excludes underground vegetables such as garlic, etc, to prevent injuring small insects and microorganisms; and also to prevent the entire plant getting uprooted and killed. It is practised by Jain ascetics and lay Jains.Jain objections to the eating of meat, fish and eggs are based on the principle of non-violence (ahimsa, figuratively "non-injuring"). Every act by which a person directly or indirectly supports killing or injury is seen as act of violence (himsa), which creates harmful reaction karma. The aim of ahimsa is to prevent the accumulation of such karma. The extent to which this intention is put into effect varies greatly among Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Jains believe nonviolence is the most essential religious duty for everyone (ahinsā paramo dharmaḥ, a statement often inscribed on Jain temples). It is an indispensable condition for liberation from the cycle of reincarnation, which is the ultimate goal of all Jain activities. Jains share this goal with Hindus and Buddhists, but their approach is particularly rigorous and comprehensive. Their scrupulous and thorough way of applying nonviolence to everyday activities, and especially to food, shapes their entire lives and is the most significant hallmark of Jain identity. A side effect of this strict discipline is the exercise of asceticism, which is strongly encouraged in Jainism for lay people as well as for monks and nuns. Out of the five types of living beings, a householder is forbidden to kill, or destroy, intentionally, all except the lowest (the one sensed, such as vegetables, herbs, cereals, etc., which are endowed with only the sense of touch).Jewish vegetarianism
Jewish vegetarianism is a commitment to vegetarianism that is connected to Judaism, Jewish ethics or Jewish identity. Jewish vegetarians often cite Jewish principles regarding animal welfare, environmental ethics, moral character, and health as reasons for adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet.Lacto vegetarianism
A lacto-vegetarian (sometimes referred to as a lactarian; from the Latin root lact-, milk) diet is a diet that includes vegetables as well as dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ghee, cream, and kefir.
In India, lacto vegetarian is considered synonymous to vegetarian, while eating eggs is considered a form of non-vegetarian diet. The concept and practice of lacto-vegetarianism among a significant number of people comes from ancient India. In other parts of the world, vegetarianism generally refers to ovo lacto vegetarianism instead, allowing eggs into the diet.Ovo-lacto vegetarianism
An ovo-lacto vegetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian is a vegetarian who consumes some animal products, such as eggs and dairy. Unlike pescatarians, they do not consume fish or other seafood. A typical ovo-lacto vegetarian diet may include fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, roots, fungi, milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir, and eggs.Ovo vegetarianism
Ovo vegetarianism is a type of vegetarianism which allows for the consumption of eggs but not dairy products, in contrast with lacto vegetarianism. Those who practice ovo vegetarianism are called ovo-vegetarians or "eggetarians". "Ovo" comes from the Latin word for egg.Pescetarianism
Pescetarianism, also spelled pescatarianism, () is the practice of adhering to a diet that incorporates seafood as the only source of meat in an otherwise vegetarian diet. Most pescetarians are ovo-lacto vegetarians who eat seafood along with dairy products and eggs, often colloquially defined as "fish but no other meat". Vegetarian groups have had to clarify that pescetarian diets fall outside of the range of vegetarianism.Semi-vegetarianism
A semi-vegetarian diet (SVD), also called a flexitarian diet, is one that is plant-based or with the occasional inclusion of meat. In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year's most useful word. Flexitarian is a portmanteau of the words flexible and vegetarian, signifying its followers' less strict diet pattern when compared to other vegetarian pattern diets.Veganism
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. A follower of the diet or the philosophy is known as a vegan ( VEE-gən). Distinctions may be made between several categories of veganism. Dietary vegans (also known as strict vegetarians or plant-based dieters) refrain from consuming animal products, not only meat but also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances. The term ethical vegan is often applied to those who not only follow a vegan diet but extend the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and oppose the use of animals for any purpose. Another term is environmental veganism, which refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.Well-planned vegan diets are regarded as appropriate for all stages of life, including during infancy and pregnancy, by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, New Zealand Ministry of Health, Harvard Medical School, and the British Dietetic Association. The German Society for Nutrition does not recommend vegan diets for children or adolescents, or during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In preliminary clinical research, vegan diets lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and ischemic heart disease. Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and phytochemicals; and lower in dietary energy, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. As with any poorly-planned diet, unbalanced vegan diets may lead to nutritional deficiencies that nullify any beneficial effects and may cause serious health issues. Some of these deficiencies can only be prevented through the choice of fortified foods or the regular intake of dietary supplements. Vitamin B12 supplementation is especially important because its deficiency causes blood disorders and potentially irreversible neurological damage.Donald Watson coined the term vegan in 1944 when he co-founded the Vegan Society in England. At first he used it to mean "non-dairy vegetarian", but from 1951 the Society defined it as "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals". Interest in veganism increased in the 2010s, especially in the latter half. More vegan stores opened and vegan options became increasingly available in supermarkets and restaurants in many countries.Vegetarianism and religion
Vegetarianism is strongly linked with a number of religions that originated in ancient India (Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism). In Jainism, vegetarianism is mandatory for everyone; in Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism, it is advocated by some influential scriptures and religious authorities. Comparatively, in the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), the Bahá'í Faith and Dharmic religions such as Sikhism, vegetarianism is less commonly viewed as a religious obligation, although in all these faiths there are groups actively promoting vegetarianism on religious grounds.Vegetarianism and wine
Wine is sometimes finished with animal products. Specifically, finings used to remove organic impurities and improve clarity and flavour include several animal products, including casein, albumen, gelatin and isinglass.Vegetarianism by country
Vegetarianism by country is the comparison of vegetarian and vegan dietary practices among countries. It identifies food standards, laws, and general cultural attitudes of vegetarian diets. Some countries have strong cultural or religious traditions that promote vegetarianism, such as India, while other countries have secular ethical concerns, including animal rights, environmental protection, and health concerns. In many countries, food labeling laws make it easier for vegetarians to identify foods compatible with their diets.
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