Posted on

why are indians vegetarian

An indian man eating mango

Why Are Indians Vegetarian?

Vegetarianism, a lifestyle that excludes the consumption of meat, has been widely practiced in India for thousands of years. According to a 2014 survey by the Registrar General of India, 28.4% percent of the Indian population follows a vegetarian diet. But what motivates such a large portion of the Indian people to adopt a diet devoid of meat? Here are some fundamental reasons explaining why Indians are vegetarian.

Religious Beliefs

Religious belief is a primary factor contributing to vegetarianism in India. In India, the majority of the population follows Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism – religions that advocate non-violence and kindness. These religions emphasize ahimsa (non-violence), which extends to not causing harm to animals.

In Hindu scriptures, the cow is regarded as a sacred entity and is often worshipped, which is why beef is rigorously avoided. Similarly, Jainism, another prevalent religion in India, follows strict vegetarianism spurred by doctrines of non-violence and respect for all forms of life.

Cultural Context

India has a diversified cultural fabric where dietary habits are passed from one generation to the next. Vegetarian food has been part of Indian culture for centuries, creating a tradition of vegetarianism. Hence, many people are vegetarian because their family has been vegetarian for generations.

Ayurveda and Health

Ayurveda, India’s traditional medical system, has a massive role in shaping the dietary habits of Indians. According to Ayurveda, a balanced diet promotes good health, and this balance is achieved by including a variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains in the diet. Furthermore, meat is considered tamasic, meaning it can lead to lethargy and sluggishness. Thus, many Indians choose vegetarianism for a healthier lifestyle and enhanced well-being.

Economic Factors

While religion and health are substantial factors, it is also crucial to note that economic reasons also play an integral role. In many parts of India, especially the rural areas, people cannot afford meat due to its high cost. Therefore, they rely mostly on a plant-based diet.


In summary, the reasons for vegetarianism in India range from religious beliefs to health considerations and economic factors. While not all Indians are vegetarian, a significant proportion adheres to a plant-based diet. With increasing awareness about animal rights and the environmental impact of meat production, more and more people globally are exploring vegetarian and vegan diets. In that regard, India, with its deep-rooted tradition of vegetarianism, offers a rich repertoire of plant-based culinary delights.

Posted on

why is parmesan not vegetarian

parmesan cheese

Why Is Parmesan Not Vegetarian?

While it may seem surprising, not all cheeses are vegetarian and Parmesan, to the astonishment of many, falls into this category. But why is this staple of Italian cuisine off-limits for vegetarians?

Parmesan and Rennet: The Key Factor

The answer lies in how Parmesan cheese is made. The inclusion of one specific ingredient, called rennet, disqualifies most of the Parmesan cheese you see in stores from being vegetarian-friendly.

Rennet is a set of enzymes used in cheese-making to turn milk into curds and whey – thus starting the transformation from liquid milk to solid cheese. This is a crucial part of traditional cheese-making.

Where Does Rennet Come From?

This is where vegetarians might need to look away. Rennet traditionally comes from the stomach lining of young, unweaned calves. For these enzymes to be obtained, the animal has to be killed, which obviously falls beyond the parameters set by vegetarianism.

Why Not Use Vegetable Rennet?

You might be wondering – aren’t there vegetarian alternatives to animal rennet? The answer is yes, there certainly are. Some cheeses are made using vegetable or microbial rennet, both of which are suitable for vegetarians.

However, according to the Italian laws that govern the standards for Parmigiano-Reggiano (the proper name for real Parmesan), Parmesan has to be made with animal rennet to bear its name. This is to preserve the traditional method of making this type of cheese.

Parmesan-Style Alternatives

In light of this, what can vegetarians who crave the sharp, salty taste of Parmesan do? Thankfully, there are companies that make vegetarian-friendly Parmesan-style cheeses. These cheeses are made to imitate the flavor profile of Parmesan but are made with vegetable or microbial rennet instead of the animal-derived variety.

So, while you might not be able to enjoy true Parmesan as a vegetarian, there is no need to completely miss out.


The use of animal-derived rennet is the primary reason why Parmesan is not considered vegetarian. This news can be quite shocking for those who were unaware, but fortunately, there are Parmesan-style alternatives available.

So the next time you feel the need to garnish your pasta with a sprinkle of cheese, reach for a vegetarian Parmesan substitute, and enjoy your meal guilt-free.

Posted on

what is a lacto vegetarian

Vegetables milk and eggs

Understanding a Lacto Vegetarian Lifestyle

Lacto vegetarianism is a type of vegetarian diet that, while excluding meat, fish, and poultry, includes dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter. The term ‘Lacto’ originates from the Latin word lactis, meaning milk. Thus, a ‘Lacto’ vegetarian is one who consumes dairy products but abstains from the intake of other animal-based products.

The Basic Philosophy Behind Lacto Vegetarianism

The lacto vegetarian diet is rooted in various philosophies, cultural beliefs, and health consciousness. Some people also choose this diet as a transition phase towards a completely plant-based diet. Spiritually, it is widely followed by certain Buddhist and Hindu traditions, which place high value on non-violence, and hence, abstain from consuming animal flesh.

Diet Composition of a Lacto Vegetarian

As a lacto vegetarian, your diet would primarily consist of a plethora of plant-based foods. Fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes are the main components. The twist here is the inclusion of dairy products- milk and its derivatives like cheese, yogurt, and butter, which adds a wider variety to their nutritional intake.

However, lacto vegetarians strictly exclude eggs and any form of meat, poultry, or seafood from their diet. Unlike lacto-ovo vegetarians, who consume both dairy products and eggs, lacto vegetarians believe in completely eradicating the use of eggs.

Nutritional Advantages of a Lacto Vegetarian Diet

Adopting a lacto vegetarian diet can offer numerous health benefits. As this diet is plant-based, it generally tends to have a lower calorie count and is rich in fiber, which helps maintain a healthy weight and promotes good digestion.

The inclusion of dairy products provides a good source of protein and vitamin B12. They also provide necessary minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium that our bodies need.

Be Cautious: Potential Nutritional Deficiencies

While there are several health advantages, potential nutritional deficiencies associated with a lacto vegetarian diet do require attention. Key nutrients that might be deficient include Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, and Iron. However, with careful planning and perhaps supplementation, these deficiencies can be effectively managed.


In essence, a lacto vegetarian diet provides a valuable and compassionate route towards a more health-conscious and environmentally sustainable lifestyle. With its wealth of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and the inclusion of dairy products, it offers a dietary lifestyle both varied and nutritious. It’s always suggested to consult with a healthcare professional or a dietician before making any major changes to your diet.

Posted on

how to get protein as a vegetarian

Young person eating apple

How to Get Protein as a Vegetarian


If you’ve recently switched to a vegetarian diet or are considering such a move, one of your biggest concerns might be “how will I get enough protein”? Despite popular belief, there are ample sources of protein for vegetarians— you just need to know where to find them. In this article, we’ll explore some excellent vegetarian protein sources and how you can incorporate them into your meals.

The Importance of Protein

Protein is a vital nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance. Proteins are made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of our muscles, skin, enzymes, and hormones. When your diet lacks amino acids, your body’s repair, maintenance and growth processes may be hindered.

Getting Your Protein from Plant-Based Sources


Lentils are not just a vegetarian’s best friend but a fantastic source of protein too. Cooking one cup of lentils offers about 18 grams of protein. Lentils also pack numerous other nutrients such as fibre and iron. They are a great addition to soups, salads and stews.


Quinoa is known as a superfood for good reason. It’s one of the few foods that contain all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. A one-cup serving of cooked quinoa provides approximately 8g of protein. Quinoa is versatile and can be used in salads, wraps or as a rice substitute.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds such as almonds, peanuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are high-protein snacks that vegetarians can enjoy. Not only are they a rich source of protein but they are also packed with heart-healthy fats, fibre, and antioxidants. Incorporate them into oatmeal, salads or enjoy a handful as a snack.

Tempeh and Tofu

Both tempeh and tofu are soy-based products, known for their high protein content. They are great meat alternatives, with tofu containing about 15g and tempeh around 20g of protein per half-cup. Their versatile nature makes them a foundation for many vegetarian recipes including stir-fry, grilling, and baking.

Vegetables and Fruits

While fruits and vegetables may not be as high in protein as the other foods listed, they still contain a significant amount of protein in addition to other nutrients. For instance, a single medium artichoke or one cup of green peas each contain about 8 grams of protein.


Maintaining adequate protein intake as a vegetarian might require some adjustment, but it is both viable and delicious. By incorporating a variety of plant-based proteins into your diet, you can be assured that your body is receiving the necessary nutrients it needs to function optimally and that your vegetarian lifestyle is healthy and balanced.

Posted on

how to become a vegetarian

Young person eating vegetables

How to Become a Vegetarian?

In recent years, vegetarianism has gained popularity due to the multiple health benefits it offers and its contribution to animal welfare and the environment. If you’re considering transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle, you may be wondering where to start. This article will guide you through the steps to become a vegetarian in a safe and sustainable manner.

Understanding Vegetarianism

The first step in adopting a vegetarian lifestyle is understanding what it entails. Vegetarians avoid meat, poultry, and seafood, with some also excluding dairy products and/or eggs. Types of vegetarian diets include:

Lacto-vegetarian: Eats plant foods and dairy products, but excludes eggs, meat, poultry, and seafood.
Ovo-vegetarian: Eats plant foods and eggs, but avoids meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products.
Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Eats plant foods, dairy products, and eggs, but avoids meat, poultry, and seafood.
Vegan: Excludes all animal products, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, and even honey.

Start Gradually

Transitioning to a vegetarian diet does not have to happen overnight. In fact, it’s best if it doesn’t. Slow and steady changes often lead to more sustained habits. Start by reducing your meat consumption and incorporating more vegetarian meals into your week.

Explore and Experiment

One of the fun parts of becoming a vegetarian is the opportunity to explore new foods and flavors. Thanks to the myriad of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes available, vegetarian cuisine is diverse and exciting. Improve your cooking skills and try out new vegetarian recipes to keep your meals enjoyable and balanced.

Nutritional Considerations

Being a vegetarian does not guarantee good health; proper nutrition should be a high priority. Make sure your diet is complete with protein (found in legumes, nuts, and seeds), vitamins B12 and D (fortified foods or supplements), omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseeds, walnuts, and algae-based supplements), and other essential nutrients. You may want to consult with a dietitian for personalized advice.

Community Support

Joining a vegetarian community, either locally or online, could provide valuable support and inspiration. You can share and receive recipes, dining suggestions, and advice to help make your transition smoother and more enjoyable.

Becoming a vegetarian is a personal journey and it’s okay to take your time. It’s not about being perfect, but about making conscious choices towards a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle. With a dash of patience, a spoonful of experimentation, and a sprinkle of support, you’re well on your way to embracing vegetarianism.

Posted on

what does vegetarian mean

a man eating broccoli

Understanding the Meaning of Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is a dietary practice that has been around for centuries, steadily gaining popularity in modern times for a variety of reasons. Yet, for many people, the term ‘vegetarian’ might still raise a question – What does vegetarian mean? In this article, we delve into the realm of vegetarianism and its interpretation.

Defining Vegetarianism

In the simplest form, a vegetarian is a person who refrains from consuming meat. This typically includes animals such as beef, chicken, fish, and pigs. The term ‘vegetarian’ originates from the Latin word ‘vegetus’, meaning lively or vigorous, reflecting the lifestyle associated with such a diet.

The diet primarily consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and other plant-derived foods. However, the consumption of animal-based products can vary depending upon the type of vegetarianism one chooses to follow.

Types of Vegetarianism

The umbrella term ‘vegetarian’ encompasses several distinct diets. It can be broken down into categories based on the types of animal-derived products consumed.

1. Lacto-ovo vegetarians: This is the most common form of vegetarianism. Lacto-ovo vegetarians consume dairy products and eggs but abstain from meat, poultry, and fish.

2. Lacto vegetarians: Lacto vegetarians incorporate dairy products into their diets but steer clear of eggs, meat, poultry, and fish.

3. Ovo vegetarians: Ovo vegetarians consume eggs but exclude dairy products, meat, poultry, and fish from their diet.

4. Vegans: A step further than vegetarianism, vegans abstain from consuming any animal-based products, including dairy, eggs, and honey. A vegan lifestyle also often includes avoiding any products made from animals, such as leather, for ethical reasons.

Why Choose Vegetarianism?

Individuals may choose to become vegetarians for several reasons. Health benefits, such as a reduced risk of chronic diseases, are a common motivation. Others adopt vegetarianism for ethical reasons, opposing animal slaughter or the environmental impact of animal agriculture. Some may follow this diet for religious beliefs, or simply for a preference for plant-based foods.


To sum it up, being vegetarian means eschewing the consumption of meat and sticking to a plant-based diet. However, whether an individual decides to consume dairy or eggs comes down to the type of vegetarianism they align themselves with. Regardless of the chosen path, vegetarianism represents a conscious decision towards a particular dietary lifestyle. As with any diet, it’s essential that it’s balanced to ensure all nutritional needs are met.

Posted on

what is the difference between vegan and vegetarian

a person eating carrots

Understanding Vegetarianism and Veganism

In recent years, people have increasingly been turning towards more plant-based diets, like vegetarianism and veganism, for a host of reasons ranging from health benefits to environmental considerations. While these diets might seem similar, there are key differences between them. Understanding these differences can help you choose the dietary lifestyle that aligns with your health goals, ethical concerns, or personal tastes.

What is a Vegetarian Diet?

A common assumption is that vegetarians don’t eat meat, but there’s much more to it than that. A vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, and fish. However, they still consume dairy products like milk and cheese as well as eggs, hence they are often referred to as lacto-ovo vegetarians.

Here’s where things can get a bit intricate; there are different types of vegetarians:

Lacto Vegetarians

They follow a diet excluding meat, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as foods containing them. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, are included.

Ovo Vegetarians

They exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs.


These individuals include fish into a vegetarian diet. Some people may refer to this as a semi-vegetarian diet.


People who follow this dietary regimen consume poultry, like chicken and turkey, in addition to a vegetarian diet.

What is a Vegan Diet?

Going a step further, a vegan diet eliminates all animal products. Vegans do not consume any animal-derived substances. This means that besides meat, poultry, and fish, a vegan diet also excludes dairy products, eggs, and even honey.

This dietary approach is often driven by ethical considerations about animal welfare, as many vegans also avoid clothing, personal care items, and other products that use or harm animals in their production.

Major Differences Between Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

The key difference between vegans and vegetarians is the degree of their dietary restrictions. While both vegetarian and vegan diets are plant-centered, vegetarians generally consume a wider range of foodstuff including dairy products, eggs, and sometimes even fish. Vegans, on the other hand, aim to avoid all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, so they exclude all animal products from their diet.

Which One is Right for You?

Given the rise in plant-based diets, vegetarianism and veganism have become topics of profound interest. Choosing between the two is a matter of personal belief and lifestyle choice. Whatever diet you choose, it is important to ensure it meets all of your nutritional needs and aligns with your moral, ethical, or health goals. Make sure to consult with a healthcare provider to help guide your choices, especially if switching to an entirely new diet regimen.

Posted on

what is a vegetarian

a person eating vegetables

Understanding What it Means to be a Vegetarian

Vegetarianism is a popular lifestyle choice that is often associated with health consciousness, ethical concerns, and environmental awareness. But what actually is a vegetarian? It’s not just about avoiding meat, it’s about making dietary choices that reflect personal beliefs and values.

Defining Vegetarianism

Simply put, a vegetarian is an individual who chooses not to consume meat – including poultry, beef, and seafood – and may also abstain from by-products of animal slaughter. This lifestyle can come in several variations, which can sometimes cause confusion. The term ‘vegetarian’ usually refers to ovo-lacto vegetarians, people who consume eggs and dairy but avoid meat, poultry, and fish.

Variations of Vegetarianism

Within the realm of vegetarianism, there are variations based on which animal products individuals choose to include or exclude from their diet:


These individuals consume dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, but avoid eggs along with meat, fish, and poultry. This subtype is quite common among vegetarians.


Ovo-vegetarians include eggs in their diet but not dairy, meat, fish, or poultry.


Pescatarians avoid meat and poultry but continue to consume fish and seafood. They often also eat dairy and eggs. While not technically vegetarians, they are still often lumped into the category due to their meat-restrictive diet.


Vegans abstain from consuming any animal products including dairy, eggs, and even honey. Some vegans even exclude animal-derived products (like wool and leather) from their lifestyle altogether due to ethical reasons.

Why choose to be Vegetarian?

There are various reasons why an individual might choose a vegetarian lifestyle. Some embrace it for health reasons – reducing meat in your diet can lower your risk of certain chronic illnesses. Others choose it for ethical reasons, as they have concerns about animal welfare and commercial farming practices. Environmental considerations also play a part, as large-scale animal farming significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

In conclusion, a vegetarian is someone who, for various possible reasons, does not eat meat, poultry, or fish. This lifestyle choice can be adjusted based on person to person comfort level and beliefs, which has led to the creation of a range of subtypes within vegetarianism.

The vegetarian way of life has gained increasing attention and respect in recent years, with more vegetarian and vegan food options becoming available and more understanding for this lifestyle choice overall. If you’re considering becoming a vegetarian, it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional or a dietitian to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet.