What is a Vegetarian? - Some Helpful Notes
07/09/2018 19:44:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley
A good friend of mine, Ajay Jobanputra Chairman of the Lohana Community Centre has very kindly written these few notes, which demystifies the question - What is a Vegetarian? I hope you find it helpful. As a person who is often preparing dishes for a number of friends from different religions I am particularly appreciative of his notes.
Vegetarian – Definition & Types
A vegetarian is someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, fungi, algae, yeast and/or some other non-animal-based foods with, or without, dairy products, honey and/or eggs. A vegetarian does not eat foods that consist of, or have been produced with the aid of products consisting of or created from, any part of the body of a living or dead animal. This includes meat, poultry, all sea food like fish, shellfish, etc. Using alcohol in any food preparation is also prohibited.
All by-products of slaughter are excluded from a certain vegetarian diets. By-products of slaughter include gelatine (flavourless food ingredient that is derived from collagen obtained from various animal body parts), isinglass (a kind of gelatine obtained from fish, especially sturgeon, and used in making jellies) and animal rennet (curdled milk from the stomach of an un-weaned calf, containing rennin and used in curdling milk for cheese).
Types of vegetarian:
· Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat both dairy products and eggs; this is the most common type of vegetarian diet.
· Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products and no eggs.
· Ovo-vegetarian. Eats eggs but not dairy products.
· Vegans do not eat any dairy products, eggs, or any other products which are derived from animals. These include food like honey from bees or yogurt produced from cow’s milk.
Variations on above based on Hindu Religious groups
Various Hindu sects have variations on the definitions above, based on their religion.
Jain’s have a diet similar to lacto vegetarian, but in addition to not eating meat and eggs, Jain’s do not eat anything that grows underground. This includes vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic. Bread contains yeast which is a living organism; hence bread is not eaten by a Jain. Many young Jain’s do eat vegetarian bread if available.
Swaminarayan’s have a diet similar to lacto vegetarian, however, consumption and usage of onion, garlic or asafoetida is not allowed in any form.
Restrictions on food preparation / serving
Utensils used for cooking or serving vegetarian food should have never been touched by meat or alcohol in any form. Items like chips should not be fried in the same oil used for frying fish or any other non-vegetarian items. Vegetable oils (corn, peanut, olive, etc) must be used for all vegetarian food cooking.
People preparing / serving non vegetarian food alongside vegetarian food, like fresh sandwiches, must wear separate gloves as currently practiced at various restaurants or takeaways like Subway.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the UK. It works with local authorities to enforce food safety regulations. All caterers of vegetarian food must work in line with the FSA requirements and bearing in mind the above restrictions.