The biggest concern that vegans and vegetarians have is getting the proper amount of protein in their diets. Abstaining from meat, fish, and dairy products severely limit protein sources from food sources. However, an ovo-vegetarian can get more protein than other types of vegetarians because they consume eggs.

Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarians live on primarily plant-based foods, including:

  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Grains
  • Seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits

Depending on what type of vegetarian diet they choose, they may enjoy dairy products and eggs as well. Three vegetarian diets exist with some subtle differences between them. The main difference between being a vegetarian and a vegan is that vegans do not eat any animal products.

Along with not eating meat or fish, they also don’t eat dairy, eggs, or ingredients containing animal by products like gelatin and casein or whey, both of which from dairy products.

The choice of vegetarian diets includes:

Lacto-Vegetarians

People who follow a lacto-vegetarian diet include dairy products along with plant-based foods in their diets. However, they avoid eating eggs of all types. So, if you want to change to a diet that doesn’t include meat but includes cheese, milk, and ice cream, you can choose this diet.

Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians

When you make the switch from a diet that includes meat and meat products to vegetarianism, then you will most likely opt to be a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. This diet is the most common type of vegetarian diet. Along with dairy products, this diet includes the consumption of eggs.

Ovo-vegetarian

This type of vegetarianism, which is also known as eggetarian, is the opposite of a lacto-vegetarian. Along with plant-based foods, they eat eggs instead of dairy products.

Sometimes those eating vegetarian diets also make decisions to source their food more sustainably. For instance, many people who follow an eggetarian diet only eat free-range eggs instead of those from factory farms. The chickens in factory farms are inside all day with very little room to move because there are so many of them.

Such tight quarters can cause diseases to spread very quickly among chickens in that atmosphere. Other diets that are mainly plant-based include some meat, fowl, or fish along with plant-based foods. These diets are:

Pescatarian: While pescatarians eat mostly a vegetarian diet, they also eat fish and seafood.

Pollotarian: If you’re a pollotarian, then your plant-based diet also includes poultry and fowl.

Flexitarian: A person who is a flexitarian primarily, eats a plant-based diet but occasionally eats meat.

Researchers have discovered many benefits from eating a diet that consists of plant-based foods, though only eating a plant-based diet can make it difficult for vegetarians to consume enough protein to maintain proper body function.

Importance Of Protein

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The body needs large amounts of certain nutrients to function correctly. They are macronutrients and include:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Protein

Each one performs essential functions within the body. Protein is the building block of muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, and bones. It is also critical to the creation of hormones, enzymes, and other essential body chemicals.  

Large amounts of protein are necessary because it breaks down as much just as it uses to repair and build other tissues, like muscles, cartilage, and bones. If someone is sick, athletic, or if a woman is pregnant, then their need for protein increases because the body breaks down more than it can generate.

Necessary For Biochemical Reactions

Enzymes are a type of protein that has many functions within the body. They help the body:

  • Digest Food
  • Produce Energy
  • Clot Blood
  • Contract Muscles

If someone lacks some enzymes or if they do not function as they should, then they can become seriously ill.

Communicates With The Body

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Many hormones consist of protein and act to communicate with cells, organs, and body tissues.

The three groups of hormones include protein and peptides, amine, steroids. They send messages throughout the body that can lead to certain functions taking place.

For instance, hormones alert insulin to send more sugar or glucose to cells. The hormone glucagon can signal that glucose in the liver is breaking down.

Adrenocorticotropic, ACTH, is a hormone that releases cortisol, and the antidiuretic hormone advises the kidneys to intake more water.

Among many other functions, protein helps to balance pH levels in the body, stores, and transports nutrients, balances fluid levels, and boost immunity to ward off diseases. It’s important for vegetarians to eat complete proteins, so they consume the nine essential amino acids. That is one reason why some vegetarians include eggs in their diets.

Benefits Of Ovo-Vegetarianism

Eating eggs in their diets can help eggetarians get the complete protein they need for their bodies to function correctly. Otherwise, they would need to consume complementary protein from plant-based foods like beans and rice.

The amino acids that are not in beans are in rice, so together, they act like a complete protein. Along with eating a healthier diet, an eggetarian diet has several other benefits.

Maintains Fertility In Women

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health wrote in a 2007 report that being an eggetarian helped women preserve their fertility better than vegetarian diets that allow dairy foods. When women vegetarians ate a diet high in low-fat dairy foods, they experienced higher rates of failure to ovulate.

Improves Heart Health

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Many of the benefits from this dietary style are the same benefits that all vegetarians experience. Since the diet is mainly plant-based foods, it is lower in saturated fats and cholesterol, so it is better for your heart health. There are some cholesterol concerns from eating eggs since they contain it. However, by limiting how many eggs you eat, you can better control your cholesterol levels.

Live Longer

Most vegetarians eat fewer calories because they eat more foods that are nutritionally dense like fruits, nuts, and legumes. A study in National Geographic found connections between a lower calorie diet and living longer. The diets of the elderly who were healthy mainly consist of whole grains, legumes, and other high carbohydrates, plant-based foods.

Reduces Cancer Risks

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Since plant-based foods contain more fiber, they can help reduce the risk of cancers of the intestines and colon.

Fiber helps to clean the system by moving waste more efficiently through the bowels.

By eliminating waste, it doesn’t have time to stay and begin to affect the body adversely, like allowing cancers to develop.

Fewer Food Illnesses

There is less risk of ingesting bacteria, parasites, and viruses that cause food-borne diseases when you’re not eating animal-based food products. You’re at less risk for getting salmonella, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus (staph), listeria, norovirus, and Toxoplasma gondii. These illnesses often lead to food poisoning, but some food-borne diseases can be severe enough to cause deaths.

Another issue that can result from eating beef, pork or poultry is antibiotic resistance. Since animals are given antibiotics to prevent diseases, humans also consume them by eating them or drinking milk. Antibiotic resistance for treatments of diseases and infections could be deadly.

How To Start An Eggetarian Diet

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If you want to make the switch from a regular diet that consists of eating meat to a plant-based vegetarian diet, then you need to decide which one. If you decide to choose the eggetarian diet, then you only need to remember to not eat foods with a face, except for eggs.

Start With What You Already Eat

No matter which one you choose, you can start a vegetarian diet by eating the foods you already like. You may not be aware of how many of your favorite dishes or snacks are already vegetarian. For instance, these are some examples of foods you may eat that don’t contain meat:

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  • Green salads.
  • Pasta salads.
  • Spaghetti with marinara sauce.
  • Minestrone.

Substitute Ingredients

When cooking vegetarian dishes, you can substitute traditional ingredients with those that do not contain meat or meat by-products. Stop consuming dairy by replacing cow’s milk with nut milk like almond, soy, or coconut milk. Flax seeds, applesauce, and bananas are good ingredients for baking, and they can replace other traditional ingredients like butter.

Add Ethnic Foods To Diet

Many other countries make dishes with plant-based ingredients, so have fun with exploring an eggetarian diet by making Mexican, Persian, French, or Chinese foods. Expanding your food selection can make it easier to make the switch to vegetarianism.

Try Vegetarian Meats

To ensure you get enough protein in your diet, try plant-based meats in place of animal products. They have the taste and texture of the meats they are substituting, and many people find they can still enjoy some of their favorite dishes.

If you want to spaghetti with meat sauce, add soy “meat” crumbles to the sauce. Grill a large portobello mushroom to eat in place of meat as a hamburger or many brands of veggie burgers are on the market. You can also eat tofu-turkey if you want a deli-style sandwich.

An ovo-vegetarian diet is a healthy change for your body, and you can have fun with it by learning to make foods from around the world. Try to get support from family and friends regarding your dietary changes, so you are to make the switch to vegetarianism with as few problems as possible.

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