Although the term "vegetarian" encompasses several eating styles, there is one hard rule: no animal flesh. This excludes beef, poultry and seafood from your diet. Going vegetarian makes it somewhat more difficult to get certain nutrients, such as iron and vitamin B-12, but quitting meat could improve your health. Vegetarians are less likely to suffer from heart disease, high cholesterol levels and diabetes, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Some people are ovo-lacto vegetarians, meaning they eat plant foods, eggs and dairy. Others are lacto vegetarians because they eat plant foods and dairy but no eggs. Sometimes vegans may also be referred to as vegetarians. Vegans eat only plant foods and no eggs, dairy or other animal products. They may also avoid honey because it comes from bees. Typical foods in any vegetarian diet include grains such as bread, rice, cereal and pasta in addition to beans, seeds, nuts and tofu. Vegetarians might also eat imitation meat products, such as veggie burgers and soy hot dogs.
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Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.