What Is The Vegetarian Lifestyle & The Benefits To Being Vegetarian

What Is The Vegetarian Lifestyle & The Benefits To Being Vegetarian

Do you like eggs and toast for your morning breakfast; a grilled cheese sandwich with your bowl of chili, or how about a glass of milk with those sweet, delicious, chocolaty cookies? You might even want a grilled chicken salad, or some kind of fish!

With a vegetarian diet in place, these foods could still be a possibility!

Let’s take a look. We can look and see what the vegetarian lifestyle is all about :o).

It’s an oxymoron effect!

Many people believe that vegan and vegetarian diets are like a two way street. But no,  vegan eats one way, while a vegetarian eat the same, yet entirely different!

The truth is, according to the American Heart Association, there are four different vegetarian diets. The small differences being quite huge, give this lifestyle an oxymoron effect; making some of the choices easier to adjust to, and a lot more desirable.

The term vegetarian is truly an “umbrella” for these diets.

Are YOU under the umbrella?


What’s under the umbrella?

The first diet or lifestyle is the “full” vegetarian diet, which is actually called vegan.

The full vegetarian, or vegan, diet is the most strict under this umbrella, and is only a plant eaters diet. This type of eating includes fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and grains. There is no meat, dairy, or eggs involved in this particular diet. You can read more about the vegan diet here.

Second, is the lacto vegetarian diet. This lifestyle is the same as the full vegetarian/vegan diet, only this one is allowed to consume dairy products as well! This mean, you can enjoy milk, cheese, yogurt and things belonging in this group, along with all the different plant foods. This would be your last step before accomplishing a full vegetarian lifestyle!

Third is the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. This is typically the second step towards a vegan or full vegetarian lifestyle. The lacto-ovo’s also use the same guidelines of the plant based diet. However, this particular one got it’s name lacto-ovo, because it allows for the use of dairy (lacto) and eggs (ovo), as well as plants!

Last, under this umbrella, is the semi vegetarian lifestyle.  This would be considered the first step toward becoming a full vegetarian. It is likely the most easy and accepted diet in this group. A semi vegetarian consumes the same plant based diet as the others do, but they also include the dairy and eggs – plus chicken and fish. Yes, this is definitely the first step toward a much cleaner, strict lifestyle.


Since now we understand that being vegetarian is more than just one particular way of life, let’s look at some of the benefits that may work for you regardless of which diet you choose!


Under The Umbrella of Vegetarianism

Under the umbrella – the stricter, the better!


The benefits to choosing a vegetarian lifestyle are much like that of the vegan diet. However, the more strict the diet is, the healthier it tends to be and the more protection it has to offer.

Typically, vegetarians have lower cholesterol, tend to be thinner, have lower blood pressure, enjoy the reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers among other benefits.

Reduced cancer risks. Eliminating red meat reduces the risk of esophageal, liver, colorectal, and lung cancers. Eliminating eggs can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, and by replacing animal milk with soy milk, it can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, as well as helping to prevent breast cancer.

Reduces the risk of heart disease. By consuming more fruits and vegetables, which are rich in rich in fiber, folic acid, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, studies have found that they are linked to having a lower cholesterol, a lower incidence of stroke and mortality from stroke and ischemic heart disease.

Lower cholesterol. Korean researchers found that body fat, and cholesterol levels were lower in vegetarians. See “Reduces the risk of heart disease”.

Lower incidence of stroke. See “Reduces the risk of heart disease”.

Reduced cataract development. A study from the University of Oxford, showed that Vegetarians were at lower risk of cataract than were meat eaters.

Psoriasis. A Brazilian study shows that psoriasis symptoms can improve via a vegetarian diet.

So, now you have an idea of some of the benefits these lifestyles can offer you, and you know that some plants cannot offer certain vitamins and nutrients.

For ways to get these much needed elements for the body, we must take a deeper look into the vegetarian lifestyle.


Planning ahead the different vegetarian diets can be appropriate for all stages of life!


Planning ahead the different vegetarian diets, and making sure all vitamins and nutrients are covered, can be appropriate for all stages of life, including pregnancy and lactation.

Something also to keep in mind is that the more strict of a lifestyle you choose, the more challenging it will be to get all the nutrients your body needs. So here, I will list the nutrients that will need more attention, along with foods or other ideas that can help you to plan ahead.


Vitamin D

Mr Cool Sunshine w SunglassesMost importantly sunshine!

The natural sunlight provides us with all the vitamin D our bodies need if we get out and enjoy it a little each day.

In some cases, such as long periods of rainy weather, a wintery season, or even where we might be in the world, we just aren’t able to get the amount of daily sunlight we need. In this situation, a sun therapy lamp can be useful.

A sun therapy lamp, is a specially made lamp that you to get the sun you need during times when natural sun might not be available.

Some foods to enjoy, depending on the choice of diet, would be tuna, salmon, mackerel, cheese, egg yolks, shiitake mushrooms, milk, and other fortified food items.







Calcium is required to aid in absorption of vitamin D.

Ways you’ll love getting your calcium are by consuming turnip and collard greens, kale, broccoli, and bok choy along with fortified food items such as orange juice and cereals.


Vitamin B-12

This vitamin helps in preventing anemia, and is needed to produce red blood cells.

Because this vitamin is found mainly in animal products, the strictest diet (vegan), may want to look at a supplement.

Otherwise, this vitamin can be obtained by consuming dried, purple nori – an edible seaweed, Tempeh – a fermented soybean food, or simply use 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast.

Some fortified foods may be available containing vitamin B-12.


Food Green Avocado FruitOmega 3 Fatty Acids

The omega’s consist of ALA, EPA, and DHA.

ALA is found in leafy green vegetables, avocadoes, hemp, chia seeds, flaxseeds and nuts, as well as flaxseed oil, and olive oil, among other things.

EPA and DHA are not considered essential, because our bodies create them from the ALA.

So, enough ALA should maintain adequate levels of the EPA and DHA as long as you have a well planned diet in place



Crucial to red blood cells, iron isn’t as easily absorbed from plant sources. A vegetarian dieter would need to take in double the amount than a non-vegetarian.

Some great sources of iron would be lentils, dark leafy green vegetables, dried fruit, black-strap molasses, Tempeh, tofu, and some iron fortified food items.


Food Strawberries Vitamin C Iron Absorption Fruit
Strawberries are a form of vitamin C that helps the body absorb iron




Much like iron, zinc is not as easily absorbed from plant sources. It plays a role in cell division and in forming proteins.

Depending on the diet, cheese is a good option to get zinc.

Other options could include whole grains, soy products, legumes, nuts and wheat germ.



Iodine is needed for thyroid function, which helps with metabolism, growth, and function of key organs.

Eating kelp (seaweed) is a natural way to achieving normal levels of iodine to keep your thyroid in good working order.

If you do not use iodized salts, or the salts are iodized too low, you may need an iodine supplement.



Depending on the type of diet you choose, the vegetarian sources of protein include, eggs, dairy products, soy products, meat replacements, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

To read more about some of these vitamins and nutrients, please read Healthy Is A Happy Life!


So there you have it!Blue Ribbon Award


You should be pleased with yourself!

You are well on your way to creating a successful lifestyle in the world a vegetarianism. It’s not difficult, as long as you keep focus on what is important.

I’ve laid out all the steps and what to look for so that you can be healthy, and I’ve offered ways to replace vitamins and nutrients that might become troublesome.

I do hope this article has been of great help to you in making the choices that will benefit your life, and even the lives of others around you. Please feel free to share this article with those you love and don’t love! Everyone deserves a chance to be their healthy best!

Share Thoughts Comments QuestionsIf you’d like to leave your comment below, sharing your thoughts, ideas, and experiences, I would truly enjoy reading about them.

YOU are much appreciated :o) !!!

– Paula

14 thoughts on “What Is The Vegetarian Lifestyle & The Benefits To Being Vegetarian”

  • This article was very refreshing to read! I enjoyed that you explained all the key points that I would have to consider if I want to transition into full vegan, as some of my friends and co-workers are doing. I am working on incorporating more vegetables into my diet, just for the colors and vibrant tastes, but I guess I need to look at my supplements a bit more.

    Thank you for the awesome info!

    • Hi Irma and thank you! Yes, supplements are an important topic to understand when making a change in nutrition. People sometimes get spooked by this; thinking that they will fall ill. Any drastic lifestyle change needs to be well planned, so that this does not happen. Leading an extremely lean diet, is very healthy for anyone of any age as long as they plan for the troublesome vitamins and nutrients that are difficult to achieve through plant sources. I am so glad you enjoyed the article, and thank you for sharing your comment! The garden is always here with new information, so make sure you check back frequent to get all the new info first han :o). Thanks again. – Paula

  • It is good to know that the option is in our hands. I think it’s just voting to change our habits to start eating a little healthier.
    Great post! I love avocado

    • Thanks for the comment Jairo! The options are definitely there. All we have to do is grab hold and we’re off to a more healthy, happy life – and eat avocadoes!! 🙂 – Paula

  • Paula, I applaud you for this post. Many do not understand the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. I for one am Vegan and have been now for 6 years and can honestly say it is the best health move I ever made. I lost over 50 lbs naturally without adding any extra physical routine. My doctor has been glowing and says whatever your doing keep it up.
    I totally endorse this lifestyle as that is what it is for people a lifestyle, not a fad or a try it for a while thing. you either do it or you don’t. You have done very well explaining the different vegetarian options. I like the 4 types of vegetarian diet chart. We are the only species on the planet that consumes another species milk, so adding a non dairy milk is a must. I prefer coconut milk but it all works. Nice job with this information. I have for sure book marked and I recommend others to as well. Thanks

    • Todd, thank you so much! I greatly appreciate your comment, as well as your commitment to the vegetarian lifestyle! I definitely do not push others, or try to make them think that it’s an easy switch, because it definitely is not that, lol. But what I can say to everyone who has even just a little spark of desire to try, the vegetarian umbrella offers a great plan, starting with the semi, then to the lacto-ovo, lacto, and finally vegan! It’s taking baby steps!!! Most all people find change easiest in one swallow at a time. I’m super excited for you to have lost the extra weight just by making a healthier choice. Amazingly wonderful. Also, I want to say thank you for bookmarking my site for future articles. I work hard to deliver information that is helpful. If you ever have any suggestions, questions, or comments, you can email, or find us on social media. Our options are at the top of each page! Thanks for visiting the garden, and I look forward to seeing you here again soon. 🙂 Paula

  • Thanks for this informative article. Beyond the health benefits of becoming vegan, one of the things that I found most compelling was the environmental impact for every meal we have without animal products. I watched an interview on the subject and was shocked at the statistics. And then, of course, there are the concerns about the inhumane treatment of animals in an effort to maximize production for our consumptive society. Those two “moral” aspects of becoming vegan really had a huge effect on my thinking. Thanks for the education for anyone else who may also be thinking about making those lifestyle changes.

    • Thank you Anika! I do agree about the environmental impact, and after seeing a few documentaries myself, I can say that seeing what is truly going on with how animals are being mistreated has also made me change my life. The different vegetarian lifestyles have become more popular over a period of time; I believe with baby steps, more people will discover they too can make a difference by choosing to enjoy having a good healthy life. Thanks again Anika for sharing your thoughts on this article. I truly enjoyed reading what you had to share. I hope to see you here at the garden again soon. – Paula

  • Hi there! I really appreciate this article because it’s a complete overview on the vegetarian lifestyle. Personally, I’ve never heard before about the distinction between 4 different vegetarian diets, so thanks a lot for sharing. I wonder why people keep eating fish and meat, reading of all these benefits… Thank you, great website!

    • Hi Rahel! Thanks so lots for the comment and sharing your feelings about the article! SO glad you enjoyed it and felt it was helpful. Most people don’t realize that the term vegetarian is very flexible and indeed an umbrella of a few different lifestyles. Thanks for coming to the garden Rahel, and I hope to see you again soon 🙂 . -Paula

  • Hi, Paula! What a great information and explanation! This article tells about these things a little bit different than other articles I read.
    I am vegetarian for about 7 years (I am not sure). It was easy for me to begin because I was never a great meat eater.
    Somehow it looks like I fully don’t belong to any of these groups. Maybe it is a lacto vegetarian diet, but I only eat cheese from time to time.
    Thank you for reminding us how important is vitamins and minerals in our diets!
    Thank you, Paula!

    • Thank you Linda for stopping by and sharing your vegetarian experience. Its always nice to hear someone else’s story. Yes, if you are only a plant eating kind of person, with some dairy, you’d be considered a Lacto-vegetarian. It’s wonderful to see so many people taking interest in the vegetarian kind of lifestyles recently. Being under this umbrella for nearly 7 yrs, is a great accomplishment. Thanks again Linda; I sure look forward to seeing you at the garden again soon. 🙂 Paula

  • I’m so happy I came across your article, I was looking for this kind of little list of vitamins and other nutritious I must provide my body before going on this new “adventure” 🙂
    I know about people who just decided to change the way of eating and found themselves with horrible diseases caused by vitamin deficiency.

    Thanks for sharing this important info, it was a pleasure reading!

    • Thank for the comment B! I appreciate you stopping by today and reading about the vegetarian lifestyle and it’s benefits. It’s true that it can be an adventure, and a great one at that. Vitamin deficiencies can indeed happen, but what most don’t understand is they’re more than likely deficient even on a regular diet. The best way to prevent any deficiency, is to plan ahead; research what food you will need to keep around, etc. :o) Enjoyed having you here at the garden. Until next time! – Paula

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