Few people realize that there are several types of vegetarian diets. If you are researching information about vegetarians, you will surely come across the term. Many different cultures around the world practice Lacto-vegetarianism on a daily basis. But, what is it? And how does it differ from other lifestyles?
About Lacto-Vegetarian Diets
The definition of this word is essentially a vegetarian who also consumes dairy products. Their vegetarian diet is full of plant-based foods in addition to goat cheese, milk, butter, and ice cream. Lacto-vegetarians do not eat animal products such as eggs.
When we think about vegetarianism foods in the United States, we often assume that vegetarian people eat dairy and eggs. However, the understanding of the veg diet differs around the world. In India, a lacto-vegetarian diet is the default type.
As a prefix, you probably recognize that "lacto" relates to milk. If you ask someone about their vegetarian diet though, they would most likely not use this term. Instead, they would probably just tell you that they eat plant-based with the occasional cheese and milk.
What are the Benefits?
Research shows that there are several health benefits to a lacto-vegetarian diet. Some people may choose to adopt this lifestyle for ethical and environmental concerns as well. Some of the effects on health include:
Researchers have linked vegetarian diets to a decreased risk of getting certain cancers as well. However, more research needs to happen to determine the effects of the lacto-vegetarian diet specifically.
Generally, cutting out meat from your diet (or even reducing it) has many positive effects. If you are considering doing the diet veg but want to keep your dairy products, the lacto-vegetarian diet may be for you.
Are There Any Downsides?
The lacto-vegetarian diet has the ability to give you everything your body needs to remain healthy. However, it is important to meal plan properly so that you don't have to deal with nutrient deficiencies.
Eggs have essential micronutrients like vitamin D and vitamin A. Meat and fish contain nutrients such as:
If you do not get the amounts you need of these nutrients, you may encounter mood changes, poor immune function, and other risk factors such as stunted growth. Be sure to consume whole foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats to keep your bone health up. (2)
Search for meal recipes that provide variety and lots of protein. If you're concerned about your eating pattern, consider taking an omega 3 supplement to get the same nutrient intake as meat-eaters.
Going to the Grocery Store
The lacto-vegetarian diet is not extremely restrictive. It is essentially the vegan diet plus some animal products such as milk products and egg products. When you shop for food, make sure you read the labels to understand nutritional content. Some plant-based food choices for dinner include:
To cook, you can use olive oil, coconut oil, and other good fats. Of course, you should stay away from meat, poultry, and meat-based ingredients such as:
Finding sustainable food sources is important in your lacto-vegetarian diet. Once you find a place with fresh produce and plenty of non-meat options for protein, finding foods for vegetarians is a breeze.
If you aren't a fan of grocery shopping, consider vegetarian food delivery services!
A sample meal plan that would work with the lacto-vegetarian diet includes many food groups. For example, breakfast options could be:
For lunch or dinner, you could eat a veggie burger with fries, lentil stew with brown rice, stir fry, a burrito bowl, teriyaki tempeh, or cauliflower wings with a side salad.
Some snack ideas for lacto-vegetarianism food include:
There are many levels of the vegetarian diet. From least to most to restrictive, the types are:
Lacto-vegetarians eat plant-based foods and also consume dairy products. Like a regular vegetarian diet, they still avoid meat, poultry, and fish.
The three vegetarian diets are classified as:
These differences vary by culture. The vegetarian diet in the United States is often lacto-ovo vegetarian, which includes eggs and dairy products.
Lacto-Vegetarian Diet - Last Words
Not all vegetarians follow the same vegetarian diet. The several types allow people to have the flexibility to match their diets with their preferences. As a lacto-vegetarian, you can fill up on plants while also getting your calcium from dairy consumption.
There is a range of health reasons to follow a lacto-vegetarian menu. However, make sure you avoid nutrient deficiency by filling up on rich, whole legumes and things that non-vegetarians get from meat. Consider making enjoyable meals such as a falafel wrap, chickpea pot pie, collard greens with bell peppers, and more.
Olfert, M., & Wattick, R. (2018, September 18). Vegetarian Diets and the Risk of Diabetes. Retrieved August 08, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6153574/
Vegetarian diet: How to get the best nutrition. (2019, July 19). Retrieved August 08, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/vegetarian-diet/art-20046446