With people using the word ‘vegetarian’ to mean so many things (I once heard someone describe themselves as partly vegetarian – what does that mean?) it’s no wonder people still get confused about what foods come under this diet. I even have a friend that claims she’s vegetarian and then says ‘It’s alright, I’ll just stick some fish on for myself’, so it’s not just the carnivores in the house that are clearly confused!

Here’s a quick guide:

Vegan: A vegetarian diet that also does not include dairy products, eggs, or any other animal product or by-product (including honey). Many vegans are committed as a lifestyle choice too; they not only avoid animals for food but all animal products such as leather, fur, silk and wool. The Vegan Society established in 1944 describes itself as “promoting ways of living free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment”.

Raw Foodist: A diet that promotes eating un-cooked, un-processed and often organic foods. Typically they eat 75 % of their food not heated above 46C (116F) degrees. Most often they are vegan (and this is considered the pure form of a raw food diet), but there are subcategories of raw vegetarianism and raw animal food diets, which means they eat some food that is cooked, but the bulk of the diet is raw.

Fruitarian: A diet comprising of only raw fruit, including raw nuts and seeds without animal products, vegetables and grains. Some people consider themselves fruitarian if their diet is 75% or more fruit.

So in a nutshell, and as demonstrated by my confused pescetarian friend, it’s always worth asking your guests a few more questions about their food. You never know – they might be as confused about the definitions as you are!

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