What Is The Difference Between Vegetarian, Pescetarian, Vegan, Omnivore, and Other Diets?

Too many choicesOur lives are a sum total of the choices we have made. Wayne Dyer

Here is information about various diet choices. The information and scientific study results are real and are very convincing that your diet has an enormous affect on your health. You are what you eat. The choice is yours.

  • Fruitarian: Fruits, nuts and seeds make up the main diet of this vegan sub-set. Some will supplement with beans, oil and honey. Others avoid seeds, as they represent future plants, and some only consume fallen fruit or fruit that can be picked without killing the plant.
  • Macrobiotic: Whole grains are a staple of this menu. This diet is sometimes adopted to battle some forms of cancer – though that theory is not officially supported or endorsed by any major medical group. Vegetables, fruit, soy, legumes, fish and nuts may supplement and balance the grains, but they’ll usually make up half or more of a day’s food intake. Ingredients are cooked simply – and chewed thoroughly as the diet calls for minimal processing of ingredients – often steamed or fermented, and usually accompanied by large amounts of water. There is a strong emphasis on eating local, seasonal, organic foods, in harmony with nature.
  • Omnivore: While the term technically implies a creature who eats everything, in human terms, it means an equal-opportunity eater who consumes both animal and plant-based foods in varying ratios.
  • Pescetarian: A diet that excludes land animals and birds, but includes fish, mollusks, and crustaceans in addition to fruits, vegetables, plants, legumes, nuts, and grains.  Eggs and dairy may or may not be present in the pescetarian’s diet.
  • Pollotarian: A pollotarian: someone who will not eat the flesh of any red meat mammals, but does include chicken, turkey and other poultry. They may or may not also exclude fish, seafood or products like eggs and dairy from their diet. Reasons for exclusion vary from taste preference to ethical issues.
  • Raw foodist: This diet may or may not be vegetarian or even vegan. It includes whole, sprouted grains. Nothing is cooked above a temperature of 104F-115F. The vegan version of this diet would likely include seeds, sprouts, nuts, fruit, vegetables and grains, while a non-vegan could eat all of those, plus honey, eggs, non-pasteurized dairy and even seafood and meat. The rationale is that foods cooked above 104F-115F have lost most of their nutritional value, to the point of toxicity, and that freezing these foods also harms the level of enzyme activity. Food preparation often involves soaking and dehydration for foods to become digestible.
  • Vegetarian: A person who eats no meat or dead animal products. Some choose so for ethical reasons while others may simply be grossed out by the prospect of eating flesh. Many practice vegetarianism out of respect for animals and because of concern for the environment. For instance, there have been many proposals for third world countries to focus on farming as opposed to ranching because, if done properly, it takes far less resources and land space. Of course, the strongest argument to practice vegetarianism is the health benefits that have clearly been proven.
  • Lacto-vegetarian: No meat and fish but dairy products like milk, butter, and cheese are permissible. Some of the faithful strenuously avoid rennet. Some, but not all, will consume eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarian: Eggs, but dairy and meat are still restricted.
  • Vegan: Veganism is a diet that abstains from any animal products (meat) or bi-products (i.e. eggs, milk, wool, leather, etc).

Food for Thought:

  • The American Dietetic Association Position Statement on Vegetarianism (July 1, 2009): Vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.”
  • Top 10 Reasons For Going Vegetarian
  1.  Reduce risk of heart disease, the number 1 killer in the United States: Vegetarian diets are naturally lower in saturated fat, and cholesterol, and higher in plant nutrients than most meat-based diets. Vegetarians have been shown to have a 24% lower risk of dying of heart disease than non-vegetarians.1 New Harvard research has shown high consumption of red meat and heme iron may increase the risk of heart disease by 50% amongst diabetics.2 World-renowned physician Dr. Dean Ornish found that patients on a low-fat vegetarian diet actually reversed coronary heart disease.3
  2. Cancer prevention: “Studies have shown that significant reduction in cancer risk among those who avoided meat…Meat is devoid of fiber and other nutrients that have a protective effect. Meat also contains animal protein, saturated fat, and, in some cases, carcinogenic compounds such as heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) formed during the processing or cooking of meat. HCAs, formed as meat is cooked at high temperatures, and PAHs, formed during the burning of organic substances, are believed to increase cancer risk. In addition, the high fat content of meat and other animal products increases hormone production, thus increasing the risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer….Vegetarian diets and diets rich in high-fiber plant foods such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits offer a measure of protection.” 4
  3. Lose excess weight and keep it off: On average, vegetarians tend to be slimmer than meat eaters. Obesity rate in the general public is extremely high, while in vegetarians, the obesity rate only ranges from zero to six percent. 6 A vegetarian diet low in fat and rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes accompanied with daily exercise is the perfect formula for healthy weight loss.
  4. Live longer, slow the aging process: A 12-year Oxford study published in the British Medical Journal found that vegetarians outlive meat eaters by six years. 7 Plant-based diets are generally rich in fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which in turn strengthen the immune system and slow down the aging process.
  5. Avoid toxic food contaminants: Flesh foods are loaded with dangerous poisons and contaminants such as hormones, herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics. As these toxins are all fat-soluble, they concentrate in the fatty flesh of animals. Not to mention the viruses, bacteria, and parasites such as salmonella, trichinella and other worms, and toxoplasmosis parasites.
  6. Reduce Global Warming: The United Nations said in its 2006 report that livestock generate more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. 8 Therefore, the single most important step an individual can take to reduce global warming is to adopt a vegetarian diet.
  7. Humans are vegetarian by design: Our flat teeth are perfect for grinding grains and vegetables, not for tearing apart animal flesh. Similarly, our hands are designed for gathering, not for flesh-ripping. Our saliva contains the enzyme alpha-amylase, the sole purpose of which is to digest the complex carbohydrates in plant foods. (This enzyme is not found in the saliva of carnivores.) Basically we have all the right apparatus to consume vegetarian products, and none of the right apparatus for flesh foods.
  8. Help end world hunger: Every day forty thousand children on this planet needlessly starve to death. Crops that could be used to feed the hungry are instead being used to fatten animals raised for food. If everyone on Earth received 25 percent of his or her calories from animal products, only 3.2 billion people could be nourished. If everyone ate a vegetarian diet, there would be more than enough food to nourish the world’s entire population of more than 6.3 billion people. 9
  9. Have compassion for animals: Animals on today’s factory farms have no legal protection from cruelty that would be illegal if it were inflicted on dogs or cats. Yet farmed animals are no less intelligent or capable of feeling pain than are the dogs and cats we cherish as companions. A vegetarian lifestyle awakens our spirit of compassion and guides us towards a kinder, gentler society in which we exercise a moral choice to protect animals—not exploit them.
  10.  Enjoy the diverse, colorful, and delicious world of vegetarian cuisine: Vegetarian meals can be tasty, fast, and easy. Plus, you can make any of your favorite non-vegetarian dishes by substituting with ready-made meat alternatives. There are lots of vegetarian cookbooks available as well. The Down to Earth all-vegetarian Deli is perfect when you don’t have time to cook but don’t want to compromise on taste and quality.


  1. Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, Appleby PN, Beral V, Reeves G, Burr ML, Chang-Claude J, Frentzel-Beyme R, Kuzma JW, Mann J, McPherson K (1998). “Mortality in vegetarians and non-vegetarians: a collaborative analysis of 8300 deaths among 76,000 men and women in five prospective studies.” Public Health Nutr 1 (1): 33-41. PMID 10555529.
  2. Lu Qi, MD, PHD, Rob M. van Dam, PHD1, Kathryn Rexrode, MD, MPH and Frank B. Hu, MD, PHD (2007) “Heme Iron From Diet as a Risk Factor for Coronary Heart Disease in Women With Type 2 Diabetes,” American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Care: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/30/1/101
  3. Ornish D, et. al. Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease. JAMA 1998; 280(23): 2001-2007. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/280/23/2001
  4. The Cancer Project, Cancer Prevention and Survival, “Cancer Facts – Meat Consumption and Cancer Risk”: http://www.cancerproject.org/survival/cancer_facts/meat.php
  5. Saltzberg, Rebecca. 10 Reasons to Go Veggie. From PlanetVeggie.
  6. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Newsrelease, “New scientific review shows vegetarian diets cause major weight loss,” : http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-04/pcfr-nsr033106.php
  7. Key, Timothy J, et al., “Mortality in British vegetarians: review and preliminary results from EPIC-Oxford” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 78, No. 3, 533S-538S, September 2003 http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/78/3/533S
  8. “Livestock a major threat to environment,” United Nations FAO Newsroom, Nov. 29, 2006: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html
  9. Vegan Outreach, “Try Vegetarian!” Feb. 2004.

Accessed June 20, 13 @ http://www.downtoearth.org/go-veggie/top-10-reasons#reason1

FYI: Here is a wonderful link to a list of vegetarian cheeses:  http://cheese.joyousliving.com/CheeseListBrand.aspx

I’m just sayin!

Bon Appétit



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in Honolulu


Sheryl Malin

I am a registered nurse, licensed acupuncturist, and firm believer that holistic medicine generates holistic health. I also believe that diet is the major factor that influences our health. Home grown in New Orleans, granddaughter of a butcher and grocer, I have always been immersed in good food. However, throughout the years I have seen the quality of food plummet while poor health issues in the United States continue to rise.
I realize that most people are too busy to keep up to date about the ever changing issues that affect the quality of our food, our diet, and our health. As an educator, I was compelled to write this blog. My hope is to better inform you about the food you consume and how to make better choices in order to live a healthier life. It’s all about you and the choices you make.
Bon Appétit

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