Our diets are constantly being put under the microscope, and recent food trends have thrown up a whole load of new labels given to people who eat meat and raw vegetables and everything in-between! We are obsessed with wanting to know which type of diet we should follow for the healthiest lifestyle, and adding to these concerns about animal welfare, a whole host of eating labels have been created, sparking some pretty strong debates in the process! Protein seems to be the new focus when it comes to what we eat, with some diets being much more protein heavy than other. So, which type of diet is best? One including meat or one totally free of animal products, or one with a mixture of both or one that only includes white meat, fish, and organic eggs!? Well, here at Netcost Market we’ve got a breakdown of some of the most common, and some of the more radical diets out there, and what they may mean for you!
Vegetarians eat fruits and vegetables both cooked and raw, but also some or all animal products, but never meat. Nowadays you may find people classifying themselves as ovo-vegetarian, which means they only eat eggs but not dairy, or Lacto-vegetarian, where milk products are consumed but not egg products. Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat both, and this is by far the most common type of vegetarian! Some vegetarians also only eat organic and free-range products, preferring to define it by how it was sourced.
All vegans eat no animal products whatsoever, although there is still some debate about whether honey should be included in this, which has descended into a conversation about whether honeybees suffer as a result. But what you may not have known is that there are also sub-categories of veganism such as raw veganism, where people only eat raw (or very very mildly cooked) fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Raw vegan purists eat everything completely raw, and some only eat organic and sustainably grown produce.
So, this is where it starts to get more complicated. There has been a rise in the number of people defining themselves as semi-vegetarian, or semi-carnivorous, depending on which side of the fence you sit on. Pescatarians only eat fish and seafood but strictly no meat. Interestingly, many people in India and Sri Lanka follow this diet, and fish provides an important source of protein for them. We also have the pollotarian, who only eats poultry, and the hybrid pollo-pescatarian, who eats both fish and poultry but no other type of meat. And then there is the somewhat jovial flexitarian, who is basically a vegetarian who eats meat when out with the family!
You may have thought this one was simple – carnivores eat meat… right? Wrong! It’s a little more complex than that. So there are simple carnivores that generally eat meat and do not define themselves as anything, and there are the purists, known as paleotarians. Now, the verdict is still out there as to the science behind the paleo diet, which attempts to mimic the diet of the hunter-gatherer human. But they tend to eat unprocessed meats only, and also exclude from their diets legumes, types of grains, starches, and sugars. There is also the organivore, who only eats organic, free range and sustainably sourced meat.
So, there you have it. Not so simple right!? But the question everyone seems to ask is: which one is the best for you? Well, the answer is, of course, all and none. Being a super strict raw vegan is not going to kill you, or even mean you live a diminished life, it simply means you will need to plan more about where to get certain nutrients, and possibly struggle to gain muscle through weight lifting and other exercise programs compared with the paleo diet. But equally, eating meat also has its benefits, with a high availability of easily absorbable protein being a major factor. So, the choice is yours!