Often scorned and ridiculed, vegetarian diets are gaining in popularity the world over. Even a quick glance at the options in the ready-made food aisles in local supermarkets are testament to more and more people choosing plant-based foods.
Megastars Beyoncé and Jay-Z asked their fans to follow a vegan diet in January in order to be able to stand a chance to win concert tickets to any of their shows – for life.
While there are no numbers available for South Africa, the Vegan Society in Britain indicates that one in three Britons have stopped or reduced their meat consumption.
“The number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2018. There were 600 000 vegans in 2018, and 150 000 in 2014.”
It is worth noting that there are different variations of a vegetarian diet, ranging from those including only plant-based food to those allowing items such fish and eggs.
Exclude: Meat, poultry, and fish.
Include: Plant-based food, dairy products and eggs.
Worth knowing: Look out for gelatine (derived from collagen from animal body parts) in some yoghurt and sour cream brands; and included in some sweets, and animal rennet (enzymes produced in the stomachs of ruminant mammals) in some cheeses. Microbial rennet is suitable for vegetarians.
Exclude: Meat, poultry, eggs and fish.
Include: Plant-based food and dairy products.
Worth knowing: Many food items, such as baked goods to mayonnaise contain eggs. Read the labels carefully before buying these things if you choose to omit all products that contain egg.
Exclude: Meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.
Include: Plant-based food and eggs.
Pesco-vegetarians or pescatarians
Exclude: Meat and poultry.
Include: Plant-based food, eggs, fish, and dairy products.
Semi- or partial-vegetarians
Include: Plant-based food, eggs, fish, poultry, and dairy products.
Exclude: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and honey.
Include: Plant-based food.
Worth knowing: Many vegans also use vegan-friendly make-up brands and toiletries and avoid leather and anything else that is derived from an animal.