If this is your first venture towards
being vegetarian then the "New Veggies Information Path"
here on your left should make things easier for you. Just follow
the seven step menu to help you on your way to a healthy, animal
Before making any extreme changes to your diet, VeggieGlobal suggests
that you seek medical advice first.
This is so you can be individually assessed for any possible nutritional
deficiency you may already have - or in case you have any other
health problems that require a specific diet.
Becoming Vegetarian ... The Moral
What exactly defines being Vegetarian,
Vegan, Fruitarian? .... And what about the new "imposter-arians"?!
Vegetarian - The
problem with the word vegetarian is that there isn't actually a
universal meaning of the term which defines the types of foods which
should always be omitted. For example, besides no meat or
fish, the usual meaning of vegetarian in India also means no eggs
... and this is what is also generically termed as lacto vegetarian.
So in India, if someone says they are "vegetarian", it
can mean something quite different in another part of the world
... i.e. if you are a "lacto-ovo vegetarian" that means
fish and meat are out but eggs and dairy are OK.
For whatever reason you
are becoming veggie and whichever type of vegetarian, you can't
call yourself vegetarian at all if you eat any kind
of fish or meat - or if you eat cheese with animal rennet or any
foods with gelatin. (There are lots of other hidden animal-derivatives
in unassuming products which you can learn
more about here)
derived clothing - to wear or not to wear - is just the first turning
into the complex moral maze of becoming veggie, so before you go
throwing away a perfectly good pair of leather shoes and woolen
jumper see VeggieGlobal's
Q and A regarding the vegan clothing quandary.
So remember, to be a "non-hypocritical"
or "responsible" vegetarian, it's:
No fish eggs (fish are killed to collect them).
No cheese with animal rennet.
No wines, beers or spirits with animal-derived fining agents or
No food products with gelatine (parts of hooves and legs of horses
No food with animal-derived ingredients and colours (see
new leather (but best none at all).
No new silk.
... if you really want to be a well-tuned-in 21st century veggie,
make a conscious effort not buy foods or other items that destroy
precious animal habitats. This includes foods with palm oil - produced
by flattening rain forests and in turn killing thousands of primates
and other animals (see
more here). Also, always check the source of organic
soy based products, because again, rain forests are being wiped
off the face of the earth to grow organic soy beans. (see
So, with palm oil and soy, ask questions in your supermarket to
find out from where exactly
the ingredients were sourced ... If from the Brazilian or Indonesian
rain forest areas, then don't buy it.
And one other thing you may not have previously thought about ...
don't buy jewellery that has been made from new-mined precious metals
or stones ... (and obviously no pearls, and other animal-based derivatives)
Only buy jewellery made from recycled precious metals and reclaimed
antique stones. The jewellery mining industry is responsible for
continually digging up huge swaths of natural forests, rivers and
hillsides, destroying complex eco-systems forever and displacing
flora and fauna in its wake. Don't be greenwashed by so-called "ethical"
jewellers trying to sell you fair-trade gold, silver or platinum
either. All fair-trade precious metals are new-mined ... and whether
they try to convince you it's ethical qualities with words like
"green" "sustainable", "organic",
"natural" etc ... don't be fooled. We repeat, it is mined
and most of all mining is NOT a "sustainable" industry
... once the gold is mined, it's gone.
For more on this see VeggieGlobal's
Q and A's.
Being Vegan - Vegans won't
eat any dairy products, eggs or honey, even though animals have
not been killed to supply the product. This is because vegan ethics
reach deeper into the moral maze about what kinds of animal treatment
In fact, dairy cows do suffer quite considerably as a result of
being constantly "primed" for milking throughout their
lives, so even plain vegetarians should seriously consider abstaining
from dairy products. (More on this at Veggie
Again, eggs are an area of justifiable concern. Questionable farming
techniques generate far too many grey areas regarding the treatment
of hens. Battery hens live in appalling, cramped conditions and
have a very short life because of this. Through lack of proper nutrition
and exercise, they suffer broken bones and to increase their laying
cycle they never see real daylight. Don't be sucked in by free-range
/ organic options either. The food indudtry is rife with "greenwashing"
half-truths and much of what is promoted as being ethically acceptable
is far from it.If you can get to being a vegan after being veggie
for a while then great, but make sure you know how to replace the
nutrients that you would have got from eggs and dairy. (The Nutrition
Guide and The Turning Year should help on the "New Veggie Information
Path" menu). If still wish to eat eggs then source them from
a local smallholding who may have free roaming hens who live out
their full lives as as companion animals. Or better still, help
support your local battery hen rescue place by buying their eggs.
Other diet-based terms - Fruitarians
don't eat cooked foods. This is also known as being on a "raw
food diet" The idea is that as soon as you cook food, nearly
all the nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, minerals and enzymes
are destroyed - and nasty free-radicals are often produced. So,
an uncooked raw diet is probably the most healthiest of all and
worth a try if you can find enough time and variety of raw organic
fruit and veg to sustain yourself.
There have been other trendy diet-based names hitching a ride on
the veggie bandwagon in recent years ... but they are impostors!
Hiss hiss! The most ludicrous of these terms is "Flexitarian"
which means that one eats meat and fish sometimes and vegetables
sometimes ... yes, exactly ... that's flexible, just like around
95% of the world's population. Whether one puts just vegetables
on their plate sometimes or meat and fish on a plate with vegetables
sometimes in no way deserves a tag which clearly aims to monopolize
on the term vegetarian, but without the animal ethics. However,
by being tagged as "flexitarian" - thanks to irritating,
Americanized marketing gobbledegook - its an irreverent excuse for
the easily swayed to ingratiate themselves with a "green-lifestyle"
label. Bizarre and pointless? Yes, we know, but there you go. In
fact, you could argue that such a superficial and meaningless sounding
term debases the vegetarian ethic and even mocks it. Still, it's
making the "flexitarian" diet book industry millions,
so do they care?!
"Pescitarian" means one eats fish and vegetables but no
meat. Although jargon, it's not such an irreverent word as "Flexi"
(which means any-which-way), because at least there's a hint in
the word "Pescitarian" ... as in "pesci", which
umm ... means fish (as long as you've learnt your Italian!).
These two newish marketing ploys
may inadvertently save a few animals by suggesting that they are
eaten in moderation, but remember that neither of these "-arian"
tags have any ethical connection whatsoever with the non-animal
and non-fish diets of veg*nism: vegan, vegetarian and fruitarian.
You are not indirectly killing animals if you stick to any of those
By the way, there's even a term "meatarian", which we
don't have a problem with. At least it describes a diet choice ...
They eat meat and no veg. Fair enough ... the word makes it crystal
Remember, if you are just turning veggie, VeggieGlobal suggests
you stop eating fish sooner rather than later, because the world's
oceans are being depleted of fish at an alarming rate.
Staying on course - Choose
your level of veg*nism ... and whichever your choice, you should
find guidance of all kinds scattered around VeggieGlobal (and Looking-Glass)
to help you on your path to a naturally
next step (3)
- on your New Veggie Information Path is the Veggie
If you want to read
more about the light and shade of vegetarian, animal welfare and
environmental ethics see "Cow
to Clown" .