If a vegetarian comes into your life, before you panic, first find out what type of vegetarian you are dealing with. In the grand scheme, a vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat, fish or fowl. There are, however, different “levels” of vegetarians and some are easier to feed than others. The most important rule is to ask your vegetarian what his restrictions are. It may not be as hard to feed him as you think.
An OLV does not eat animals, poultry or seafood. They do eat eggs and dairy products, as well as fruits, vegetables and grains, etc. Limitations may include fertilized chicken eggs or fish eggs. Another forbidden food might be cheeses that are coagulated with an animal enzyme (rennet), as well as sour cream or yogurt that contain gelatin. Many who follow this diet are doing so for health reasons, though, so are not too worried about what type of enzyme is used to make the cheese. They are quite likely worried about limiting saturated fats, so you might want to limit cheese and butter in recipes for that reason.
An OV will eat eggs and egg products, but will not eat meat, fish, fowl or dairy products. They may have the same limitations on fertilized chicken eggs and fish eggs.
LVs eat no eggs of any type, even unfertilized chicken eggs. Limits on dairy are the same as for OLVs. Many vegetarians of this type follow the diet for religious reasons. Some LVs also omit garlic, onion and honey.
Vegans eat no animal products, so no eggs or dairy. Many will not eat honey. Some omit garlic and onions. Vegans typically do not just follow a diet. They follow a “cruelty-free” way of life and therefore avoid products derived from animals and anything that results in the exploitation of animals. That being the case, giving a vegan tickets to the rodeo or to the circus is probably not a good idea. Giving a lambskin purse is a worse one.
None of the levels of vegetarians includes fish or chicken. Some folks believe they are vegetarian because they have given up beef. In reality, persons who give up one or more of fish, fowl, pork or beef—but still eat one or more of the others—are not vegetarian, no matter what they might think. It is much easier to feed this group!
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