October is Vegetarian Awareness Month and naturally, I missed the opportunity to post about it during the appropriate 31 days. Still, per the request of one of my very favorite readers and my dear friend, I’m going to briefly explain the term lacto-ovo vegetarian, which is the type of vegetarian I have been for the last 15 or so years.
Now, I can almost imagine the eye-rolling now, but I can assure you that I am not “one of those” vegetarians. I personally made the choice to eliminate red meat, pork, and fish from my diet at a pretty young age and then followed up with poultry in my early twenties. I have no issue with others opting to eat meat, nor have I ever attempted to convert anyone to a vegetarian lifestyle. Do I want you to shove your burger in front of my face and offer me a bite? No. But, will I judge you for eating it? Nope; do as you please. In fact, I’ve even been known to cook meat for my husband (though I admittedly can’t really think about what I’m doing or it’ll bother me!) I’m simply willing to be open when asked and the entire purpose of this is just to explain the term for the diet I have selected for myself.
Alright, enough of that. So, to answer Lindsay’s question, what is a lacto-ovo vegetarian? According to http://www.dietitians.ca, a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet includes grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy products and eggs. It excludes any meat, fish, poultry and any products that contain these foods.
Those of you who know me in real life probably know that I’m originally from Wisconsin. While I don’t love beer or brats, I cannot live without my cheese! Therefore a vegan lifestyle was just not for me. I’ve attempted it a few times for weight loss purposes as well as for Lent and it was pretty darn difficult. What can I say? I’m a cheese head in more ways than one! Now, I don’t drink regular milk (almond milk for me) but I do consume other dairy products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, and the occasional frozen custard indulgence.
In addition to dairy, I will also consume eggs. Eggs are funny for me because, much like preparing meat for my husband, I have to just eat eggs and not think too much about them or I’ll get grossed out. I definitely prefer for eggs to be part of a recipe or mixed with other things (like a quiche or an omelette) but I will eat them.They are an excellent source of protein in my otherwise fairly protein-barren world.
Speaking of that, how do I get protein anyway? Well besides some from items mentioned above (cottage cheese, almond milk, eggs, yogurt) I also obtain protein from protein powder/shakes, black beans, leafy greens, nuts & seeds, peanut butter, chickpeas/hummus, quinoa, and tofu (usually from restaurants though, because I can never make it properly – anyone have any tips??) Some of my favorite protein products include:
Beyond the protein sources, I enjoy veggies, fruit, and grains to fill me up.
So there you have it. It’s not glamorous and my husband thinks it’s a giant pain, but that’s what I do. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask!