Guest Author - Tracy Webb
People choose to become vegetarian for many reasons. Some take it more seriously than others. The decision can be based on health reasons, or it may be based on a deeper sense of morals.
There are four main categories of vegetarian: Pescatarian, Lacto-Vegetarian, Ovo-Vegetarian and Vegan.
A Pescatarian is the name given to someone who abstains from the meat of animals with the exception of fish.
The most commonly known vegetarian is the lacto-vegetarian. Lacto comes from the Latin for milk. These kinds of vegetarians will not eat the meat of an animal, though they will eat some animal bi-products, for example; milk, cheese, eggs, cream etc.
An ovo-vegetarian is someone who does not eat the meat of an animal, or any dairy products, though they will include eggs in their diet.
A vegan practices the purest form of vegetarianism. Vegans will not eat anything that is derived from an animal. It can be challenging to find pure vegan foods in the shop that do not contain any products that are of animal origin. Honey, most alcohol, shampoo with keratin among other things, skin products that contain lanolin and toothpaste with glycerine of animal origin would all be unacceptable to vegans.
Depending on how strongly you feel about being a vegetarian will reflect in your lifestyle choices. Many vegetarians will not buy leather goods, clothing made from animal skins or wools, participate in, or support sports that involve animals, for example; horse racing, fishing or dog racing. This is seen as cruelty.
There are many people who are vegan for religious reasons, and others who will eat only one type of meat. If you have chosen to be vegetarian for health reasons, I can imagine that some of the issues highlighted her would probably be of no concern, as cutting out meat would be your prime objective.
If you are vegetarian for moral reasons, it can be quite difficult to find your level of acceptable vegetarianism. How far does your moral dilemma go, and what is going to make your life more difficult as a result of your choices? It surprised me to learn all the hidden ways that animal products are used in everyday items.
When shopping it can take a lot of time and effort to find toiletries, alcohol and foods that do not contain animal products. Patience and time are required to read the labels of everything before you buy it. If it is suitable it will carry the familiar vegetarian/vegan symbol, if it does not carry the symbol, you have to assume it contains something derived from animal products, or animal products are used in the processing of that item.