Vegetarianism /vɛdʒɪˈtɛəriənɪzəm/ 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
vegan diet excludes all animal products, including eggs and dairy.
Some vegans also avoid other animal products such as beeswax, leather
or silk clothing, and goose-fat shoe polish.
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.
4 Health effects
4.1.4 Fatty acids
4.3 Heart health
4.5 Alternative medicine
4.7 Mental disorders
5 Ethics and diet
5.2 Ethics of killing for food
Dairy and eggs
5.4 Treatment of animals
5.5 Classical Greek and Roman philosophy
6 Religion and diet
6.1 Bahá'í Faith
6.3.1 Seventh-day Adventist
7 Environment and diet
8 Labor conditions and diet
9 Economics and diet
10.2 Country-specific information
11 See also
14 Further reading
15 External links
The term "vegetarian" has been in use since 1839 to refer to what was
previously described as a "vegetable diet". The word is commonly
believed to be a compound of vegetable and the suffix -arian (as in
agrarian). According to John Davis, "vegetarian" probably did not
directly derive from the Latin word vegetus. 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
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".
Vegetarian lunch at Mysore, India
Main article: History of vegetarianism
The earliest record of vegetarianism comes from Indus Valley
Civilization as early as the 7th century BCE, inculcating
tolerance towards all living beings.
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. It is unclear
whether the Greek religious teacher
Pythagoras actually advocated
vegetarianism, but later writers presented him as doing so. A
fictionalized portrayal of
Pythagoras appears in Book XV of Ovid's
Metamorphoses, in which he advocates a form of strict
vegetarianism. It was through this portrayal that
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 vegetarianism 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.
Labeling is mandatory in India to distinguish vegetarian products
(green) from non-vegetarian products (brown).
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.
Roadside café near Kullu, India
Semi-vegetarianism § Comparison of vegetarian and
Comparison of the main vegetarian diets
There are a number of vegetarian diets that exclude or include various
Buddhist vegetarianism. Different Buddhist traditions have differing
teachings on diet, which may also vary for ordained monks and nuns
compared to others. Many interpret the precept "not to kill" to
require abstinence from meat, but not all. In Taiwan, su vegetarianism
excludes not only all animal products but also vegetables in the
allium family (which have the characteristic aroma of onion and
garlic): onion, garlic, scallions, leeks, chives, or shallots.
Jain vegetarianism permit only fruit, nuts, seeds,
and other plant matter that can be gathered without harming the
Jain vegetarianism also includes dairy, but excludes eggs,
honey, and root vegetables.
Macrobiotic diets consist mostly of whole grains and beans.
Lacto vegetarianism includes dairy products but not eggs.
Ovo vegetarianism includes eggs but not dairy products.
Ovo-lacto vegetarianism (or lacto-ovo vegetarianism) includes animal
products such as eggs, milk, and honey.
Sattvic diet (also known as yogic diet), a plant-based diet which may
also include dairy and honey, but excludes eggs, red lentils, durian,
mushrooms, alliums, blue cheeses, fermented foods or sauces, and
alcoholic drinks. Coffee, black or green tea, chocolate, nutmeg, and
any other type of stimulant (including excessively pungent spices) are
sometimes excluded, as well.
Veganism excludes all animal flesh and by-products, such as milk,
honey (not always), and eggs, as well as items refined or
manufactured through any such product, such as animal-tested baking
soda or white sugar refined with bone char.
Raw veganism includes only fresh and uncooked fruit, nuts, seeds, and
vegetables. Food must not be heated above 118 °F (48 °C)
to be considered "raw". Usually, raw vegan food is only ever "cooked"
with a food dehydrator at low temperatures.
Within the "ovo-" groups, there are many who refuse to consume
fertilized eggs (with balut being an extreme example); however, such
distinction is typically not specifically addressed.
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
Semi-vegetarian diets include:
Macrobiotic diet consisting mostly of whole grains and beans, but may
sometimes include fish.
Pescetarianism, which includes fish and possibly other forms of
Pollo-pescetarianism, which includes poultry and fish, or "white meat"
Pollotarianism, which includes chicken and possibly other poultry.
Semi-vegetarianism is contested by vegetarian groups, such as the
Vegetarian Society, which states that vegetarianism excludes all
On average, vegetarians consume a lower proportion of calories from
fat (particularly saturated fatty acids), fewer overall calories, more
fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, than do non-vegetarians. Vegetarians
generally have a lower body mass index. These characteristics and
other lifestyle factors associated with a vegetarian diet may
contribute to the positive health outcomes that have been identified
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 – A report issued by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human
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
A vegetarian diet which is poorly planned can lead to
hyperhomocysteinemia and platelet disorders; this risk may be offset
by ensuring sufficient consumption of vitamin B 12 and polyunsaturated
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and
Dietitians of Canada
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
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 British study of almost 10,000 men found that those who gave up meat
were almost twice as likely to suffer from depression as people on a
conventional balanced diet. The study found that the 350 committed
vegetarians studied had a higher average depression score compared to
Vegetarian nutrition and vegan nutrition
A fruit stall in Barcelona
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
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 fortified foods
(including some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and dietary
Vitamin B12 can also be obtained from
fortified yeast extract products.
The recommended dietary allowance of B12 in the United States is, per
day, 0.4 mcg (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 very small, deficiency of the
vitamin is very serious leading to anemia and irreversible nerve
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.[clarification needed]
Recently, some companies have begun to market vegetarian DHA
supplements containing seaweed extracts. Similar supplements providing
both DHA and EPA have also begun to appear. 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
Vegetarian Resource Group and the Vegetarian
Calcium Fact Sheet from the Academy of
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,
supplementation may be necessary.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa subsp. sativa), shoot: 4.8 μg (192 IU)
vitamin D2, 0.1 μg (4 IU) vitamin D3
Fungus, from USDA nutrient database:
Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to ultraviolet light, raw:
11.2 μg (446 IU)
Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to ultraviolet light, grilled: Vitamin
D2: 13.1 μg (524 IU)
Mushrooms, shiitake, dried:
Vitamin D2: 3.9 μg (154 IU)
Mushrooms, shiitake, raw:
Vitamin D2: 0.4 μg (18 IU)
Mushrooms, portabella, raw:
Vitamin D2: 0.3 μg (10 IU)
Mushroom powder, any species, illuminated with sunlight or artificial
ultraviolet light sources
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.
There have been many comparative and statistical studies of the
relationship between diet and longevity, including vegetarianism and
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
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."
Adventist Health Studies
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
surviving to age 30 was 83.3 years for men and 85.7 years for
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".
According to studies by the Permanente Journal and the National
Institute for Health (NIH), vegetarian diets are affordable and can
help reduce health risks like high blood pressure, cardiovascular
disease, and cholesterol levels. A plant based diet has the potential
to lower the risk of heart disease as well as reducing the amount of
medications prescribed in instances of chronic illness. A change to a
plant based diet, or vegetarianism, has had dramatic positive effects
on the health of patients with chronic illnesses, significantly more
than exercise alone 
Vegetarian diets have been studied to see whether they are of benefit
in treating arthritis, but no good supporting evidence has been
Certain alternative medicines, such as
Ayurveda and Siddha, prescribe
a vegetarian diet as a normal procedure.
Maya Tiwari notes that
Ayurveda recommends small portions of meat for some people, though
"the rules of hunting and killing the animal, practiced by the native
peoples, were very specific and detailed". Now that such methods of
hunting and killing are not observed, she does not recommend the use
of "any animal meat as food, not even for the Vata types".
The human digestive system is omnivorous, capable of consuming a wide
variety of plant and animal material. Some nutritional
experts believe that early hominids evolved into eating meat as a
result of huge climatic changes that took place three to four million
years ago, when forests and jungles dried up and became open
grasslands and opened hunting and scavenging
opportunities.[further explanation needed]
American Dietetic Association
American Dietetic Association has presented evidence that
vegetarian diets may be more common among adolescents with eating
disorders. At the same time the association cautions however, that the
adoption of a vegetarian diet may not necessarily lead to eating
disorders, rather that "vegetarian diets may be selected to camouflage
an existing eating disorder". Other studies and statements by
dietitians and counselors support this conclusion.[nb 1]
Vegetarianism is associated with increased risk of depression,
anxiety, and somatoform disorder, although causality cannot be
Ethics and diet
Main article: Ethics of eating meat
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.
Ethics of killing for food
Main article: Bioethics
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.
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,
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 behaviour in a way other animals are
not, and therefore subject to higher standards.
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
Dairy and eggs
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. 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 cows milk production has dropped, they are
considered "spent" and sent to slaughter for beef and their hides. A
dairy cow's natural life expectancy is about twenty years.
In battery cage and free-range egg production, unwanted male chicks
are culled or discarded at birth during the process of securing a
further generation of egg-laying hens.
Treatment of animals
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.
Classical Greek and Roman philosophy
Pythagoras advocating vegetarianism, painting by Rubens
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.
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!
Religion and diet
Vegetarianism and religion
Indian cuisine offers a wide range of vegetarian delicacies because
the two main sects of Hinduism, practised by the majority of India's
population, encourage a vegetarian diet. Shown here is a vegetarian
Taiwanese Buddhist cuisine
Jainism teaches vegetarianism as moral conduct as do some major
sects of Hinduism. Buddhism in general does not prohibit meat eating,
Mahayana Buddhism encourages vegetarianism as beneficial for
developing compassion. Other denominations that advocate a
vegetarian diet include the Seventh-day Adventists, the Rastafari
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
`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'
A vegetarian dinner at a Japanese Buddhist temple
Main article: Buddhist vegetarianism
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.
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.
Main article: Christian vegetarianism
Christians have always been free to make their own decisions about
what to eat; however, there are groups within Christianity that
practice specific dietary restrictions for various reasons. 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'
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
Cowherd encouraged members to abstain from eating of meat as a form of
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
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
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 are required to abstain from
meat (defined as all animal flesh 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
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
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.
Sanitarium products for sale
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
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
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
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.
An estimated 35% of Adventists practice vegetarianism or veganism,
according to a 2002 worldwide survey of local church
Main article: Diet in Hinduism
Fruit/vegetable shop in Meppadi
Though there is no strict rule on what to consume and what not to,
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 sentient 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,
Hindus who eat meat prescribe
Jhatka meat, while some
Hindus believe that the cow is a holy animal whose slaughter for meat
is forbidden. This belief varies according to region.
Islam and animals
Islam and animals and Islamic dietary laws
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
Vegetarianism has been practiced by some influential Muslims including
the Iraqi theologian, female mystic and poet Râbi‘ah
al-‘Adawîyah of Basrah, 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
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was also famously a
In January 1996, The
International Vegetarian Union
International Vegetarian Union announced the
formation of the Muslim Vegetarian/
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.
Main article: Jain vegetarianism
The food choices of Jains are based on the value of Ahimsa
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.
Main article: Jewish vegetarianism
Basket of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in Israel
While it is neither required (required only on special holidays
[Pessach, Sukot and Shavuot] according to some traditions, but not on
Shabbat [Friday], when just bread and wine/grape juice is required)
nor prohibited for Jews to eat meat, a number of medieval scholars of
Jewish religion (e.g.,
Joseph Albo and Isaac Arama) regard
vegetarianism as a moral ideal, not just because of a concern for the
welfare of animals, but because the slaughter of animals might cause
the individual who performs such acts to develop negative character
traits. One modern-day scholar who is in favour of vegetarianism is
the late Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the Chief Rabbi of Mandate
Palestine. In his writings, Rabbi Kook speaks of vegetarianism as an
ideal, and points to the fact that Adam did not partake of the flesh
of animals, as all humans and animals were originally commanded by God
to only eat plants. In context, Rabbi Kook makes those comments
in his portrayal of the eschatological (messianic) era. However, he
personally refrained from eating meat except on the Sabbath and
Festivals, and one of his leading disciples, Rabbi David Cohen, known
as the "Nazirite" of Jerusalem, was a devout vegetarian. Several other
members of Rabbi Kook's circle were also vegetarians.
According to some Kabbalists, only a mystic, who is able to sense and
elevate the reincarnated human souls and "divine sparks", is permitted
to consume meat, though eating the flesh of an animal might still
cause spiritual damage to the soul. A number of Orthodox 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. Jewish
law also commands people to ritually slaughter animals when killing
them, and goes into precise detail on the rituals of both animal
sacrifice and ordinary slaughter (shechita). According to medieval
sage Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz, author of the Torah commentary
Kli Yakar, the complexity of these laws was intended to discourage the
consumption of meat and make it less painful for the animals.
According to (Genesis 1:29-30), consumption of meat was banned. After
the Great Flood, Noah was given permission to consume meat:
"Behold, I have given to you all herbage-yielding seed that is on the
surface of the earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit; it
shall be yours for food. And to every beast of the earth, to every
bird of the sky, and to everything that moves on the earth, within
which there is a living soul, every green herb is for food." (Genesis
Within the Afro-Caribbean community, a minority are
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
Main article: Diet in Sikhism
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 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
Guru Granth Sahib
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.
Environment and diet
Main article: Environmental vegetarianism
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
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.
Labor conditions and diet
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
Economics and diet
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."
Prejudice researcher Gordon Hodson observes that vegetarians and
vegans frequently face discrimination where eating meat is held as a
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
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.
Vegetarianism by country
Adolf Hitler and vegetarianism
Environmental impact of meat production
Food and drink prohibitions
History of vegetarianism
List of diets
List of vegetarian festivals
List of vegetarian restaurants
List of vegetarians
Vegetarianism and religion
Vegetarianism by country
Vegetarian Diet Pyramid
Vegetarianism and Romanticism
^ Vesanto Melina, a British Columbian registered dietitian and author
of Becoming Vegetarian, stresses there is no cause and effect
relationship between vegetarianism and eating disorders, although
people who have eating disorders may label themselves as vegetarians
"so that they won't have to eat." Indeed, research indicates that
the large majority of vegetarian or vegan anorexics and bulimics chose
their diets after the onset of their disease. The "restricted" eating
patterns of vegetarianism and veganism can legitimize the removal of
numerous high-fat, energy-dense foods such as meat, eggs, cheese.
However, the eating pattern chosen by those with anorexia or bulimia
nervosa is far more restrictive than a healthful vegetarian diet,
eliminating nuts, seeds, avocados, and limiting overall caloric
^ "What is a vegetarian?".
Vegetarian Society. Archived from the
original on March 18, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
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
^ "FAQ: Gelatin". IVU World Vegfest. International
March 8, 2013. Archived from the original on April 3, 2014. Retrieved
March 18, 2018.
'Kosher Gelatin Marshmallows: Glatt Kosher and "OU-Pareve",' an
article that appeared in Kashrus Magazine, explains the distinctions.
A quote from the article is as follows: '...since the gelatin product
is from hides or bones—not real flesh—and has undergone such
significant changes, it is no longer considered 'fleishig' (meat) but
'pareve', and can be eaten with dairy products.' [...]
Rennet is like
gelatin in the sense that it's a common food additive but the foods
containing it are often considered vegetarian.
^ a b c d e "Why Avoid Hidden
Animal Ingredients?". North American
Vegetarian Society. Archived from the original on March 18, 2018.
Retrieved March 18, 2018.
Surprisingly, some people who consider themselves vegetarian continue
to consume products that contain remains of slaughtered animals such
as gelatin (made from ground-up skin and bones, found in Jell-O,
supplement capsules, and photographic film) and rennet (made from the
lining of calves' stomachs, used to coagulate hard cheese). Some of
these people may be unaware that these hidden animal ingredients even
exist. Others know about them but feel that they are just minor
components of a product, and that their presence is therefore not
important. [...] Many people who do not eat meat for ethical reasons
do use animal by-products that are obtained while the animals are
Dairy is a good example, as many vegetarians who consume
it rationalize their behavior by pointing out that cows are not killed
in order to provide humans with this particular by-product.
^ a b c Forrest, Jamie (December 18, 2007). "Is Cheese Vegetarian?".
Serious Cheese. Serious Eats. Archived from the original on March 18,
2018. Retrieved March 18, 2018. Some vegetarians are OK eating cheeses
made with animal rennet, but many will seek out ones made with
vegetarian rennet, especially since the latter are quite prevalent
^ a b c "Fact Sheets: Things to look out for if you are a
Vegetarian Society. September 2015. Archived from
the original on March 18, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
^ a b Keevican, Michael (November 5, 2003). "What's in Your Cheese?".
Vegetarian Resource Group. Archived from the original on March 18,
2018. Retrieved March 18, 2018. 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.
^ "FAQ: Food Ingredients".
Vegetarian Resource Group. Archived from
the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2018. Why are
some cheeses labeled as 'vegetarian cheese'? Why wouldn't cheese be
vegetarian? What is rennet?
^ a b c
Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (2002 and 2007) defines
"vegetarian" (noun) as "A person who on principle abstains from animal
food; esp. one who avoids meat but will eat dairy produce and eggs and
sometimes also fish (cf. VEGAN noun)."
^ a b Barr SI, Chapman GE (March 2002). "Perceptions and practices of
self-defined current vegetarian and nonvegetarian women". Journal of
the American Dietetic Association. 102 (3): 354–360.
doi:10.1016/S0002-8223(02)90083-0. PMID 11902368.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster.
Archived from the original on March 18, 2018. Retrieved March 18,
2018. Definition of pescatarian: one whose diet includes fish but no
^ a b c "Vegetarians don't eat fish, shellfish or crustacea, but they
can still enjoy one of the healthiest diets available". Vegetarian
Society. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March
18, 2018. 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.
^ Davis, John (June 1, 2011). "The Vegetus Myth". VegSource. Archived
from the original on March 18, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
Vegetarian can equally be seen as derived from the late Latin
'vegetabile' – meaning plant – as in Regnum Vegetabile / Plant
Kingdom. Hence vegetable, vegetation – and vegetarian. Though others
suggest that 'vegetable' itself is derived from 'vegetus'. But it's
very unlikely that the originators went through all that either –
they really did just join 'vegetable+arian', as the dictionaries have
said all along.
^ a b OED vol. 19, second edition (1989), p. 476; Webster’s Third
New International Dictionary p. 2537; The Oxford Dictionary of English
Etymology, Oxford, 1966, p. 972; The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology
(1988), p. 1196; Colin Spencer, The Heretic's Feast. A History of
Vegetarianism, London 1993, p. 252. The OED writes that the word came
into general use after the formation of the
Vegetarian Society at
Ramsgate in 1847, though it offers two examples of usage from 1839 and
1839: "If I had had to be my own cook, I should inevitably become a
vegetarian." (F. A. Kemble, Jrnl. Residence on Georgian Plantation
1842: "To tell a healthy vegetarian that his diet is very uncongenial
with the wants of his nature." (Healthian, Apr. 34) The 1839
occurrence remains under discussion; the Oxford English Dictionary's
1839 source is in fact an 1863 publication: Fanny Kemble, Journal of a
Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838–1839. The original
manuscript has not been located.
^ a b c Davis, John. "History of Vegetarianism: Extracts from some
journals 1842–48 – the earliest known uses of the word
Vegetarian Union. Archived from the
original on March 18, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2018. 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
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^ "Three Strategic Issues: A World Survey". General Conference of
Seventh-day Adventists, 2002. See question 26, on page 14 etc.
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(Winter 2006), p22–27
^ Tähtinen, Unto: Ahimsa. Non-Violence in Indian Tradition, London
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^ "lokpriya!". Lokpriya.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
^ "IVU News – Islam and Vegetarianism". Ivu.org. Retrieved August 9,
Vegetarianism Good For The Self And Good For The Environment" at
The Jain Study Circle
^ "Spiritual Traditions and Vegetarianism" at the
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^ Matthews, Warren: World Religions, 4th edition, Belmont:
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^ Noah Lewis. "Why honey is not vegan". vegetus.org. Retrieved
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^ "The Vision of Eden:
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Law and Mysticism", Orot 2003
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Sikhism Religion of the Sikh People". Sikhs.org. Retrieved
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ISBN 978-81-7304-058-0: "Throughout Sikh history, there have been
movements or subsects of
Sikhism which have espoused vegetarianism. I
think there is no basis for such dogma or practice in Sikhism."
^ Surindar Singh Kohli, Guru Granth Sahib, An Analytical Study, Singh
Bros. Amritsar ISBN 81-7205-060-7: "The ideas of devotion and
service in Vaishnavism have been accepted by Adi Granth, but the
insistence of Vaishnavas on vegetarian diet has been rejected."
^ a b Gopal Singh, History of the Sikh People, World Sikh Univ. Press,
Delhi, ISBN 978-81-7023-139-4: "Nowadays in the Community Kitchen
attached to the Sikh temples, and called the Guru's Kitchen (or
Guru-ka-langar), meat dishes are not served at all. Maybe it is on
account of its being, perhaps, expensive or not easy to keep for long.
Or perhaps the
Vaishnava tradition is too strong to be shaken off."
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Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar: "As a true Vaisnavite, Kabir remained
a strict vegetarian. Kabir, far from defying Brahmanical tradition as
to the eating of meat, would not permit so much as the plucking of a
flower (G.G.S. p. 479), whereas Nanak deemed all such scruples to be
^ "Volunteer. Guru Ka Langar. Mata Khivi Made Langar a Reality".
Sikhwomen.com. March 6, 2005. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
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Gurus. New Delhi: Lotus Press. p. 38.
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2004. Archived from the original on December 23, 2007. Retrieved
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April 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., A literature review July
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Retrieved February 6, 2016.
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(Asexuals)". Psychology Today. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
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