What Is Vegetarianism?
Vegetarianism can be broken down into many categories, as I have laid out below - but the important thing to note is that vegetarians that are considered mainstream eat no animal meats. This includes red meat, white meat like fish and poultry, eggs, and also dairy.
“Ovo-” comes from the Latin word for egg. This means that Ovo-Vegetarians are allowed to eat eggs on top of their base vegetarian diet. Have also been called “Eggetarians”.
“Lacto-” from the Latin root refers to milk. Lacto-Vegetarians can additionally eat dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, ghee, cream, and kefir on their diets. Sometimes referred to as “Lactarians”.
If someone wants to follow both of the types above, they are then considered an Ovo-Lacto or Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian. An Ovo-Lacto/Lacto-Ovo vegetarian is allowed to have both dairy products and eggs. Just in case you were wondering, no there isn’t any clear indication as to which comes first the Ovo or the Lacto.
“Pollo” is the prefix for poultry. Pollo-Vegetarians skip on the red meat but will partake of poultry meats like chicken and turkey. Typically you don’t find many strict Pollotarians.
“Pesce” is the Italian word for fish. Being a Pesce-Vegetarian means you can eat aquatic animals like freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish. Known popularly as Pescetarians.
Flexitarians are vegetarians who remain flexible in their day to day diets. Often this comes as a mixture of the above elements such as Pollo-Pesce-Ovo but sometimes does even include a sparing use of red meat on occasion. Also called Quasi- or Semi-Vegetarians, and occasionally Opportunivores or Freegans.
The last type is Veganism which removes any animal products as well as all animal by-products from the diet. They even reject something if it has traces amounts or a small percentage of animal by-products.
For length and clarity's sake, I have covered Pesce/Pollo/Flex Vegetarianism and Veganism in separate Articles here.