Because I've been in and out of the vegetarian culture for quite some time now, I forget that there are terms I throw around that others might not have heard of, or might not have a clear understanding of. So, I thought I'd create a little glossery, or "cheat sheet," of some words, regarding diet choices and specifically, vegetarianism, that might be helpful.
Vegetarians - People who adhear to a plant-based diet
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians - People who eat a plant based diet, plus eggs and dairy. But, they eat no animal flesh or biproducts of animal slaughter like geletin or rennet (most cheese has rennet)
Lacto Vegetarians - all the above, but they do not eat eggs
Ovo Vegetarians - same as lacto-ovo, without the lacto
Omnivores - People who eat whatever doesn't eat them first. This is what I was for a while.
Semi-Vegetarians - People who eat almost anything, with the exception of red-meat. I think there should be another name for this, but...
Flexitarians - Not much different from semi-vegetarians. They eat primarily vegetable based diet, but will occassionally eat meat, dairy and eggs.
Pescetarians - People who eat fish as their only source of animal flesh, along with their dairy, eggs and vegetables. I've heard of some who don't eat eggs or dairy, but keep the fish.
Vegans - Those who choose an all-plant based diet, with no dairy, eggs or honey. Some don't eat sugar that has been processed with bone meal. Many vegans choose this diet for moral reasons, opting to not wear leather or fur, and don't support any companies that use or exploit animals. But, just because you are vegan does NOT mean you don't eat processed foods or unhealthy foods. I'll finish my coconut milk ice cream while I type this.
Raw Vegans or Raw Foodists - People who choose to consume only raw or very slightly cooked, unprocessed foods. Nothing can be heated over 115 degrees, and some opt for no frozen foods either, and are often called Living Foodists.
(I did see some freak-show about people who eat raw meat, but could find no scientific catagory for it on the internet, and the people who were living this lifestyle looked so unhealthy, I think it was their own little cult)
Macrobiotic Vegans - Those who eat unprocessed foods, in specific ratios. Ideally, 50% grain, 25% vegetables, 15% beans, and 10% seeds or other healthy fats. They avoid processed oils, coffee and processed sugar. They include sea vegetables, and try to eat locally and seasonally. I LOVE macrobiotic eating, but find it difficult for me to maintain.
Fruitatarians - I did this for a while in college. You eat only seeds and things with seeds. So the obvious apple would be included, but so would bell peppers and tomatoes. I understand there are some variations on this diet choice. Some don't eat anything that caused harm to the plant it came from, and some opt out of the seeds. I'm not sure how you'd pull this off and still be able to form a sentance, but maybe. I ate a lot of almonds and avocados. I lasted about a semester.
Locavore - This is a dietary movement that is a big hit with environmentalists. Most try to keep their food sources, which typically include both plants and animals, within a 100 mile range. The FDA allows a 400 mile distance to qualify as "local." Wow.
Organics - Plants and animals that are raised with minimal to no non-organic pesticides, and no genetic modification. Animals are raised without hormones, and are often labeled "free-range," but that can be deceiving. Organic does NOT mean humanly treated animals. And it does not mean unprocessed foods. The FDA allows an organic certification to anything containing at least 95% organic ingredients.
Fair Trade Certified Foods - This is often a label found on coffee, cocoa or sugar, and refers to the workers who harvest or process the foods. It promises the workers are given a fair wage and they have decent working conditions. Also, that their products are sustainable to their region. You will see this a great deal on products from developing or third-world countries.
Kosher - This can be tricky, but is based on Jewish dietary laws. It's tricky as different groups interperat the dietary laws differently. There is no pork or shellfish eaten. There is no dairy mixed with flesh (so no cheeseburger or sausage pizza). It's more complicated than this, but packaged foods that are Kosher usually have a K or U stamped on them. I will say, while Kosher hotdogs might come from better parts of the cow, the cows are NOT treated more humanely. And, for the rest of the cow parts? Well, that's where we get the rest of the hotdogs. Just a little tidbit for you.
Halal - These are foods prepared according to Islamic law, and are basically the same as Kosher, as far as I can see. There probably are a few differences, but this is not as common in the U.S., and I've actually only seen things marked with the H in Germany and France.