Vegan can be taboo in some contexts. Conversations about it often create conflict and contort meanings. A lot of people argue about what veganism is when it isn’t really that important. People’s diets have diversified so much that in the end, being aware of what production and consumption are doing to our world and everything in it is what is important.
Veganism is specifically a code, a principle to live by. “The word veganism shall mean the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.” Veganism Defined (Leslie Cross, The Vegan Society, 1951) So a vegan diet is a diet that follows this principle. There are many vegans who are completely devoted to the way of life and stick by the end through and through.
Omnivores eat meat, fish, dairy, eggs and plant-based products on a regular basis, which makes them excluded from the vegan/vegetarian list. However, some people admire veganism and would like to include the principle in their diet. Instead of consuming animal products every day, they reduce their consumption and by from local farms where the animals are well-treated at least.
These people may want to minimize the environmental impact the meat and fish industry has on the planet and want to move to a more sustainable process - away from over-fishing and over-farming. Some do not want to contribute to animal cruelty, but it finds it hard to remove animal products completely from their diet as it is what they grew up on.
Many vegetarians and vegans did not stop eating animal products overnight. Often there is a phase-out time, that could be called semi-omnivore.
A modern vegetarian does not eat animal tissues but does eat products produced by animals, such as dairy and eggs. This group of vegetarians is also called Lacto-Ovo vegetarian, where ‘Lacto’ stands for diary and ‘ovo’ for eggs. Some vegetarians do not buy leather, products with gelatin in it, or cheese with rennet since these products are derived from the body of a dead animal. Most vegetarians however just stick to the diet rules and are more flexible when it comes to gelatin, rennet, and leather.
This is a newer term in the food and lifestyle space. A flexitarian follows the rules of a vegetarian diet, but occasionally eats meat or fish. Most of the time, flexitarians refrain from eating meat for several days a week, which makes flexitarianism different from semi-omnivore.
Though as with the former, flexitarianism is often the first conscious step towards a vegetarian or vegan diet. As with flexitarians, flexans eat mainly plant-based but consume animal products now and then. Vegetarians and vegans who don’t buy animal products themselves but do eat it with other people or at a restaurant belong to this category.
Pescetarians do not eat meat and sometimes, do not buy animal-products, but they do eat fish. Crustacians and shellfish such as shrimps and mussels, are also included. The motivation for pescetarians to skip meat but not fish varies from health to preference, or both.
In the fridge of a pollotarian you will find chicken and other poultry, but no other sources of meat and fish.
Raw vegans only eat raw, plant-based foods which are not heated above 45 degrees Celcius. Soaking nuts and seeds, and sprouting grains, legumes and rice are popular ways of preparing food in the raw cuisine. Other raw movements such as raw vegetarianism and raw foodism also exist: here you find raw fish, meat, eggs or dairy included in the diet, but these movements are less common than raw veganism.
Eating plant-based without gluten – it’s possible! Gluten is the protein you find in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, triticale, spelt, kamut, farro, durum, bulgur, semolina, and couscous. Oats and oatmeal are naturally gluten-free, but often ‘cross-polluted’ with gluten from other grains. Those who follow a strict gluten-free diet should, therefore, buy oats that are explicitly labeled as ‘gluten-free’. For vegans with Coeliac Disease, eating gluten-free is a no-brainer, but gluten-free vegan food is an upcoming trend as well! Fine by me, as gluten intolerance seems to be no real. Especially modern wheat contains a lot of gluten, and many people don’t do so well on this.
Gluten-free substitutes: rice, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, corn, millet and (gluten-free) oats.
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