Food itself is a bonding agent. People sit together during meals and, often, end up sharing food. Along with sharing the food is the sharing of concepts, ideas, and beliefs. It is a feature of human nature that we tend to share facts (issues, blessings, and progress) of our personal lives best when we share a meal with people we like. And I, like everyone else, I’m sure, have had my share of meals with people whom I don’t feel comfortable about sharing my personal details. Do you know what I least want to do around them? Eat.
Yes, food is the most essential aspect of stewarding our bodies. The important thing to remember about the grocery store is that it doesn’t tell you how to prepare a healthy diet for yourself. You need to study these things and learn what you need ahead of time. The most confounding thing about vegetarianism can be that it is an umbrella term for many types of diets. For ease of transition, you can learn their definitions here:
Pollo-vegetarian: includes poultry and plants.
Pesco-vegetarian (pescatarian): Includes fish and plants.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: includes eggs, dairy products and plants.
Lacto-vegetarian: includes only dairy products and plants.
Ovo-vegetarian: includes eggs and plants.
Vegetable vegetarian (Popularly known as Vegan): omits all animal products from the diet, including honey and gelatin. Also omits all animal products from every area of life, choosing to use nothing that comes from animals including leather, silk, and wool.
Raw Vegan (Raw Food Diet): same as Vegan, except foods are not cooked above 115 degrees Fahrenheit/46 degrees Celsius because of the belief that foods lose their nutritional value above this temperature.
Natural Hygeine Diet: includes minimal meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Also minimizes the use of added oil, salt, and sugar. Processed foods are discouraged. Emphasizes the uncooked, unseasoned, natural state of food products. Honors the natural balance of vitamins and nutrients found in plants.
Macrobiotic Diet: includes the vegan diet plus fish. Excludes sugar and refined oils. Highly emphasizes the value of vegetables harvested from the sea.
Fruitarian: includes only raw fruit and possibly nuts and grains. Fruit may be eaten naturally, juiced, or dehydrated.
Juicearian: includes only raw fruit and vegetable juice.
Sproutarian: includes only plant sprouts.
The best things about vegetarianism is that there is much personal choice involved in deciding which version of vegetarianism is best for each person, and vegetarianism does not have to be committed to one-hundred percent of the time. I myself am closest to the natural hygiene diet, but I still eat chicken regularly and indulge in hamburgers and hot dogs a couple of times per summer at the traditional extended family barbecues.
It is important to remember that any amount of change toward sustainability is a positive change for both personal health and the environment.
By Emily Spesert
1. “The Healthy Vegetarian.” https://www.msu.edu/user/daenzerr/rd491/types.htm
2. Hackett, Jolinda. “Top 7 Types of Vegetarians.” http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/tp/TypesofVeg.htm
3. “Natural Hygiene Diet.” National Health Association and the American Natural Hygiene Society. http://www.healthscience.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=21&Itemid=86
4. “Fruitarian.” http://www.fruitarian.com/
5. “Fruitarian, Juicearian, and Sproutarian.” http://www.naturalhealthbuzz.com/fruitarian-juicearian-sproutarian.html