Raw, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, macrobiotic, fruitarians, etc, etc. Have you heard these terms and wondered what exactly they meant? While some are self explanatory -- such as dairy-free and soy-free --new diets and ways of eating are popping up and some terms aren't as easily distinguishable as others. Here are a few "main stream" eating terms that are good to know.
Vegetarian: There is a sliding scale when it comes to vegetarian, but the common ground being that they simply don't eat animal flesh. A few types of vegetarianism include: Pescetarian: no animal flesh, but they do eat fish; Lacto-ovo (the most common vegetarian): no meat, but do eat eggs & milk; Flexitarian: those who are mostly vegetarian, but do eat meat once in awhile.
Vegan: Falling underneath the vegetarian category and sometimes called "pure vegetarian," vegans do not eat anything that comes from an animal, which includes: cheese, dairy, butter, eggs, egg whites, fish, poultry, seafood, meat, bacon, gelatin, honey or processed foods containing animal products. Most vegans also eschew wearing fur, wool, leather and silk, as all of these ingredients came from an animal.
Fruitarians: Falling under the dietary "vegan" category, this practice consists of a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, without animal products or grains. There are many varieties of the diet, but people whose diet consists of 75% or more fruit consider themselves fruitarians.
Raw: A raw diet consists of unprocessed vegan foods that have not been
heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). “Raw foodists”
believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost a
significant amount of their nutritional value and are harmful or toxic to the
body. Food can be "cooked" using a dehydrator, but never above the 115 degrees.
Macrobiotic: The macrobiotic diet includes unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, but allows the occasional consumption of fish. Sugar and refined oils are avoided. Perhaps the most unique qualifier of the macrobiotic diet is its emphasis on the consumption of Asian vegetables, such as daikon, and sea vegetables, such as seaweed.
Gluten-free: A diet that excludes foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye and triticale. This diet is different than wheat-free, which, as the name indicates, simply removes wheat from the diet.
Paleo: Also called the caveman diet or hunter-gatherer diet, Paleo consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots and nuts. It excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
Locavore: This person is interested in eating food that is locally produced and not moved long distances to market. The desired maximum distance for local produce is between 50-100 miles. This also ties into wanting to save on energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Organic: Foods that are produced using methods of organic farming – with limited modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. This method of farming is heavily regulated and must meet certain guidelines set forth by local and national governments before it receives the Organic designation.
Some select these diets out of religious or ethical reasons, while others because of doctors orders or simply that they feel better and have more energy when they cut out certain foods from their diet. Cities such as New York City and Los Angeles have an assortment of restaurants that cater solely to specific diets, but if you fall into one of the categories above and don't live in an urban area, eating can be a challenge. Do you fall into any of these categories and if so, what tips and tricks do you use when eating outside of the home?