Very simply, a vegetarian is one who eschews the consumption of meat or other animal foods. However, vegetarianism, which has been practiced since ancient times, is certainly not one-faceted. The wide-ranging custom of vegetarianism may be based on a variety of personal principles including religious (certain Hindu and Buddhist sects), ethical (cruelty to animals and more efficient use of world food resources), nutritional (the healthy benefits of reducing fat and cholesterol) and economic (non-meat products are, on the average, less expensive). There are several types of vegetarians. Vegans, who are the purists of the vegetarian world and who have the most limited diet, refuse to eat all animal-derivative foods including butter, Cheese, eggs, milk and honey. Lacto-ovo vegetarians will eat animal-related foods such as milk and eggs. Then there are semi-vegetarians who will eat fish and/or poultry, but not other animals. Across the board, most vegetarians prefer their food organically grown. Vegetarians get their protein from a variety of sources, such as foods from the large family of legumes.
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