The Vegetarian Spectrum

I’m continuing my quest to find a diet that works best for me. A lifestyle change that is sustainable, provides optimal health and does not compromise my workouts and running. That’s not too much to ask is it?

Remember the juicing I started mid-February, My Personal Juicing Challenge? After the first week of replacing 1 meal a day (on days that I’m wasn’t running) with juice I changed it to 7 days per week. I’m loving it! So much so that this week I’m taking it a step further. For the next 9 days (10 days total) I’m trying a vegetarian diet. More specifically, as it turns out, a Lacto Vegetarian. My menu for this week is fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, protein powder, Shakeology, greek yogurt and cottage cheese.


I knew the range of vegetarian diets varied.  With a little googling I now have them clearly defined:

Flexatarian (Semivegetarian)
Eats mostly plant-based foods; occasionally eats animal products as well as fish, poultry and meat.

Eats poultry such as chicken, turkey and duck.

Eats fish and seafood, but no meat.

Lacto-Ovo Vegetraian
Eats dairy products and eggs.

Lacto Vegetarian
Eats dairy products.

Classic Vegetarian
Eats a diet of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts; no meat, poultry or fish.

Follows a strict vegetarian diet that excludes animal-derived products like butter.

Raw Foodist
Eats no plant-based foods heated above 115 to 118 degrees.

As I write this post I’m realizing that vegetarian is the natural progression of my diet. In June of last year I started with changing to clean eating with a 30-Day Clean Eating Challenge and have been a clean eater ever since.

Clean Eating

Consuming food in its most natural state- or as close as possible to it—is the soul of clean eating. It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to health, well-being and a lean look.” -Clean Eating Magazine

Then, with eating less poultry, fist and meat beginning mid-February when I started juicing to now with no meat, poultry or fish. Maybe this is the nutritional lifestyle change I’ve been looking for?

Did you realize there was such a wide range of vegetarian diets? If you were going to try a vegetarian diet which one would work best for you? 

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  1. I’m typically a flexitarian, but am doing Amanda’s vegan challenge for March and really enjoying it! Don’t think I could keep it up forever though, I’m missing eggs and just a bite of cheese now and then would be nice. 🙂

  2. I’ve been eating a plant-based (vegan) diet for 6 months and just PR’d my marathon by over 20 minutes – so you can definitely get all the nutrients you need without animal products. 🙂 I think the “trick” to any eating style is to eat a balanced diet – don’t make the mistake of replacing your normal protein with a carb (so many people do that when trying vegetarian), look for a quality protein replacement. Lentils, beans, tempeh, tofu, seitan, etc.

    Good luck!

  3. great post! i am going to reference it at the end of the vegan challenge! i know most folks will not stay vegan, i won’t and they need to understand what options there are.

    so far vegan has been far easier than anticipated! but i’m not a juicer…i just always feel hungry when i tried it

    1. That would be great Amanda!

      With juicing I was hungry at first but I’ve managed to tweak my daily menus and it all balances out without an unusual feeling of being hungry.

  4. Julia @ Pain, Pride, Perseverance says:

    this is SO interesting. i rarely eat chicken or any meat…i just dont love the taste but when i do eat meat…i eat chicken so i think i may already be a lacto-pollo-vegetarian. i can combine the different categories…right!?! haha. i think its fantastic the commitment you have made to clean eating!

  5. I have been a flexatarian my entire adult life, experimenting a bit with Lacto-ovo vegetarian and veganism. I know for a fact, veganism is not the route for me. I found it to be extremely restrictive and nearly impossible to eat outside my home. I like going meatless, every now and again, but I think I do best (energy, weight, enjoyment) when I eat mostly a plant-based diet with fish, chicken and turkey a few times a week and some dairy.

    Just curious, but what is your goal in finding a new diet? More energy? Better performance? Weight loss?

    BTW, I’m taking an extended blog break, so I won’t be linking up on Fridays until the Fall.

    E-mail me about how you are doing in Phase 3. I love it. Upper, Complex One is a KILLER for me. Especially holding that med-ball plank for 60 seconds. Have not been able to do it yet…but my goal is do to do all 4 of them by the end of the month!!!

    1. Hi Sandy. I don’t actually have a goal (did I really just say that?). I want it all except not necessarily the weight loss. I don’t know how to put it except to say I’ll know when I’ve found what will work for me. I’m usually a numbers and data person but for this it will just be a feeling. KWIM?

      I’ll email you about X2 🙂

  6. I was a lacto-vegetarian for a long time and then I became a pescatarian becuase I found that for me, I needed that extra protein that I could get from fish.

    Good luck on your challenge! I am excited to see how it goes!

    1. Thanks Kyria. I’m not sure what will work for me so I picked a starting point and will decide from there. I’ll know when it’s right 🙂

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