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Running head: VEGETARIANS

Culture Essay: Vegetarians


Molly Hough
University of Kentucky

Culture Essay: Vegetarians

Running head: VEGETARIANS

Did you know that switching to an all-vegetarian diet does not always result in weight
loss? Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in calories and higher in fiber, making you feel
full on fewer calories. But vegetarian foods can be high in calories and fat. For example,
if one cut out meat but replace it with lots of cheese and nuts, he or she could end up
consuming the same number of calories (or even more). (Zelman WebMD) Now Im not
saying that all vegetarians end up gaining or remaining the same weight, but it would
surprise some that people dont always cut a few pounds when you switch diets.
Being a vegetarian can mean a lot of things. For one, a person could be a vegetarian
because the thought of killing an animal to eat it makes them sick to the stomach. On the
other hand one could cut meat out of their diet because they have too much iron in their
system. People cannot categorize all vegetarians in one category because they are all
different. Putting all their differences aside, they all have one thing in common . . . they
dont eat meat. Most social norms of a vegetarians are super obvious, asking for no meat
in the pasta while ordering at a restaurant, getting a veggie burger over a hamburger, and
picking out meat, and only shopping at organic supermarkets are just a few.
The first type of vegetarians is called a Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians
eat both dairy and eggs; this is the most common vegetarian that people hear about.
Vegetarians that fall in this type are usually fine when they go out to

eat; there is

something on the menu that they are able to eat. Because so many of today's prepared
foods and assorted consumer goods contain some combination of milk, dairy, or both
followers of lacto-ovo vegetarianism have access to a wider range of mainstream and
easily accessible products than their vegan counterparts. (Leigh) Some of the most
common foods include: fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and soy. The only type of

Running head: VEGETARIANS

food from animals that they eat would be milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, or foods with
the same ingredients. (Leigh)
The second type of vegetarians is Lacto-vegetarians. Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy but
avoid eggs. The term lacto-vegetarian comes from the Latin word lactis, meaning milk.
In the past, most of these types of vegetarians have been apart of religions that are
widespread in the Far East, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. All of those
religions believe in non violence towards animals. Food that is apart of a lactovegetarian diet includes: citrus fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, wheat products, oats, and
corn. (Schuna)
The third and final type of vegetarians is the vegan. Vegans do not eat any dairy, eggs, or
any other products produced from animals. Vegans embrace a dietary plan that consists
of 100 percent plant-based fare with no animal-derived products. (Leigh) That means
they do not eat any type of meat or dairy. Typical vegan foods consist of peas, garbanzos,
nuts and seeds. Vegans not only avoid eating animals, but wearing them also. Vegans
avoid wearing or otherwise using animal-derived products for clothing or personal
reasons. In other words, silk, wool, leather and bird feathers are out of the question.
(Leigh)
When I think of a vegetarian I think of a petite PETA supporter woman, I rarely
think of any men being one. Another stereotype of a vegetarian is being a vegetarian
preacher, making all of their friends a vegetarian, and bringing it up to anyone they talk
to. Most dont talk about being a vegetarian unless someone asks about it. When people
think of vegetarians, typically they only think of women, but women are not the only
ones. A lot of men live the vegetarian lifestyle, a lot more than one would think actually.

Running head: VEGETARIANS

Even though a lot of vegetarians do support PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals), a lot also dont support it. A good chunk of vegetarians live the lifestyle they
do because they had to change their diet due to health (i.e. iron too high).
One of the first well-known vegetarians is the Greek philosopher, Pythagoras, who
created the Pythagorean theorem. It has been said that his breakfast would consist of
honey while his dinner would consist of bread and vegetables, sometimes even fish. In
today's terms we would call that a pescatarian. Followers of Pythagoras adopted his
dietary restrictions, believing that they were helpful in aiding longevity.
Another famous vegetarian is Benjamin Franklin. He was inspired to be a vegetarian
because of Thomas Tryons The Way to Health and Long Life. He turned to mainly
bread and water that he claims made him stout and hearty. Jefferson found that the
vegetarian diet had its economic advantages.
The term Pythagorean was replaced with the word vegetarian on September 29, 1867.
It was replaced in Ramsgate, England where the first ever vegetarian society was
created. William Metcalfe, Sylvester Graham, William Alcott and Russell Trall created a
similar group called the American Vegetarian Society in 1850 in New York City, New
York. This new group was popular among feminists and members of the Bible Christian
Church. One of the founders, William B. Anthony, created an American branch of the
Bible Christian Church when he moved to America from England. This was the very first
vegetarian church in America. (PBS)
One of my interviewees, Josie Dwyer, emphasized a lot on purchasing and searching for
food for being a vegetarian. She mentioned when you go to a restaurant and order
something that contains meat, you still get charged for the meat. Or when you go out to

Running head: VEGETARIANS

dinner and you cannot find anything on the menu that you can eat. Her favorite
vegetarian substitutes are veggie burgers, chicken patties, and meatballs. She doesnt ever
have thoughts on going back to being a non-vegetarian. She said in the beginning it was
hard, but now it has been five years and she doesnt even realize it anymore. The best
part of being a vegetarian for her is that she now lives a healthier lifestyle than she did
before. J. Dwyer (Personal communication, 10/7/14)
My second interview was with Kelsey Johnson who is a vegan. Kelsey became a vegan 2
years ago at the age of 16. During that year she grew a love for animals and a hatred for
animal cruelty. She does not eat anything that has come from an animal. Johnson
emphasized on how her main food group is veggies. Last year, at her old high school she
created her own vegan club. The club has grown since she has graduated, and now has 15
members. During meetings they would discuss vegan recipes and events that they could
run to donate money to PETA. They also would hold information sessions for people
who would want to learn more about vegetarians or vegans. (Personal communication,
10/18/14)
Buddhism and vegetarianism is a controversial topic. Although Buddhism does not
promote the killing of animals it is still speciesist because Buddhism appears to regard
human beings as having greater moral worth than other animals. (jou) It is known that
devoted Buddhist disapproves the killing of animals, but it is not set in stone that you
cannot eat animals.
Some Christians believe that their religion should all be vegetarians. Their reasoning
behind that is, the Garden of Eden, was vegetarian. In Genesis 1:29-30 it says, 29 Then
God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every

Running head: VEGETARIANS

tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of
the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground
everything that has the breath of life in itI give every green plant for food. And it was
so. I think that what Christians take from this is God made everything living to live
together in peace, therefore not to killand then eat the animals. (Blessed the Merciful
Go Vegetarian)
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Sources:
Avey, T. (2014, January 28). From Pythagorean to Pescatarian The Evolution of
Vegetarianism. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
Dear, J. (n.d.). Why Should Christians be Vegetarians? Retrieved October 28, 2014.
Go Vegetarian. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2014, from

Running head: VEGETARIANS

Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LDWebMD Feature. (n.d.). Get the Facts about Vegetarian
Diets. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
Leigh, E. (n.d.). Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Vs. Vegan. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
Schuna, C. (n.d.). Lacto Vegetarian Foods. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
Stewart, J. (2010). Journal of Buddhist Ethics. The Question of Vegetarianism and
Diet in Pli Buddhism, 17, 101-137.
http://www.jesusveg.com/index2.html

Abstract
My essay is about vegetarians. It goes into depth about social norms,
characteristics, what their diet consists of and vegetarians and their religion. The two girls I

Running head: VEGETARIANS

interviewed go to school here at UK. They are both vegetarians for different reasons and I go
in depth more with them about why they are vegetarians and their lifestyle with it. There is a
lot more than meets the eye when it comes to vegetarians.