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Exploring the Varieties of Vegetarian Lifestyles

In last weeks article (Becoming a Vegetarian: Overcoming the Fear of the Unknown), I mentioned that there are slight variations between a vegetarian lifestyle, a vegan lifestyle and a whole foods/plant based lifestyle.   Today, I’m going to help you understand the differences.

There are “five” different types of vegetarians based on the extent to which they exclude animal products. Below shows the slight differences between the vegetarian categories and the food choices I currently enjoy as well.

  • Semi-Vegetarian – Eats meat, poultry, seafood, fish, dairy and eggs but is cutting back.
  • Pesco-Pollo Vegetarian – Does not eat red meat but eats chicken, seafood, fish, dairy and eggs.
  • Pesce-Vegetarian (sometimes called Pescetarians) Does not eat red meat, poultry, dairy or eggs but eats fish and seafood.
  • Pollo-Vegetarian – Does not eat red meat, seafood or fish but eats chicken, dairy and eggs.
  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian – Does not eat any red meat, poultry, seafood or fish but eats dairy and eggs.
  • Gena Livings – Does not eat any red meat, poultry, seafood, fish or dairy but currently still eats eggs.

When I began modifying my eating habits I started out in the semi-vegetarian category and gradually experimented my way through the different groups while discerning the foods that were the best fit for my goals, beliefs and lifestyle.

I’m still eating eggs but eliminating “all” animal product from my diet is my main objective as I’m on the continuum towards living a vegan lifestyle. For now, I’m learning that there are many ways to substitute eggs in recipes with delicious alternatives, which I will discuss in a later bog post.

My intention for now is to strive for progress, not perfection, and aim for the highest quality nutrition possible while still taking into consideration animal welfare and the environment.

Below is another breakdown showing the slight differences between a vegan lifestyle and a whole food/plant based lifestyle so you can get a feel for the slight variations in these two categories as well.

Vegans eliminate all animal meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products (also eggs) from their diet but eat soyfoods, legumes, nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables. This lifestyle refers to more than just the diet alone. Vegans also don’t wear animal skin and fur, don’t use animal-based products in their households and reject any products of any kind, which have been tested on animals. I share these same beliefs.

The main reason to go vegan is compassion for animals. Animals are sentient beings: they are individuals who are uniquely aware of their own existence, who feel pain and pleasure, and who bond with others in systems of kinship that they value deeply and grieve for when they are lost.

A whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants.   It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, (a tuber is a plant structure similar to a root that stores nutrients in the plant) whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.

You probably don’t want to hear about the horrific treatment of animals that are raised for food, even before they are slaughtered for our benefit. But needless to say, there are great amounts of suffering involved, and by simply cutting out meat, you are reducing your personal involvement in that.Earthlings Pig

To know more, watch the documentary Earthlings at the end of this article. This is a film about humanity’s use of animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and for scientific research. To be honest, I personally couldn’t make it all the way through this documentary without turning it off but I clearly understood the harsh “reality” of its heartbreaking message.

Today’s Food For Thought: If you just want to become vegetarian/vegan for kicks, you probably won’t stick with it for long – not because it’s hard, but because any lifestyle change or habit requires a good bit of motivation, will power and true desire. You need to first think about why you want to become vegetarian and/or vegan and really believe in it for the right reasons. The rest is easy.

Once you succeed with one small habit change, it’s easier to go for it and stack on the second and the third, and the fourth, and the fifth, and the sixth.

Your success will make you more confident in your ability to make the full transition because it makes you realize that since the first modification wasn’t as hard as you thought, the second and third won’t be either.

See you next week when we talk about receiving and overcoming opposition from friends and family members once you decide to adopt a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle.

Peace be with you, and may you always find light on your path, good health, and true friends to make the journey with you.

Gena Livings

Earthlings – Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix

Viewer discretion is advised for disturbing and violent content


  1. I really loved your article. It came at the perfect time as I’m exploring these options. I consider myself a Pesco-Pollo Vegetarian. I’m working my way up the chain! I agree with you that it’s about progress…not perfection!
    Tandy Elisala recently posted…Stepping Into My Power with Beautiful Energy Oracle Artwork by Aeriana BlueMy Profile

    • HI Tandy,
      I am so happy to hear that you are exploring all these options and I’m especially pleased to know that this article came to you in good timing.

      Blessings on your healthy journey!

  2. I have made, during my lifetime, several attempts at the lacto-ovo lifestyle. All the attempts petered out after about a year but, in the meantime, I think it benefited my health. Interesting, a couple of people I know have developed allergies to red meat and dairy in their 60’s – and one became allergic to fish. Is nature trying to tell us something?
    Alana recently posted…Music Monday – The Dark Side of RAMy Profile

    • Hi Alana,
      I do think nature is trying to tell us something and that is one reason why I chose a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. By eliminating meat, dairy and eggs from our diet we are taking ourselves out of harms way. I learned recently that over 95 percent of the meat, dairy, and eggs we eat comes from factory farms, where the animals are pumped full of drugs, hormones and antibiotics just to keep them alive. When we eat these animal products we take into our bodies what the animals take in and we become sick and allergic to the drugs as a result.

      Good luck in your journey and thank you for commenting. As you continue to cut back on animal products your health will thank you too!

      Healthy Blessings,

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