F O O D hen it comes to vegetarianism, the number one question asked is W “what do you eat?” The second question to follow is “how can you not eat meat?” These concerns are hardly unfounded as we live in a world vastly submerged in an ‘eat meat’ fad with chefs and foodies constantly churning out meat-based recipes. Just think of how many adjectives there are to describe meat: sizzling, juicy, tender, moist, smoky and succulent. Vegetables, on the other hand, rarely ever cause a mouth-watering effect with little to no adjectives dedicated to painting a pretty picture. Indeed, the years have not been kind to vegetarians or their respectful choice of abstaining from meat. So, with World Vegetarian Day rolling in on 1 October, GLOSS raises the curtain on vegetarianism and provides a window into the what and why of this rising diet followed by roughly 375 million people around the world. What is it? Simply put, vegetarianism is largely the practice of abstaining from eating meat, and may also include abstention from its by-products from animal slaughter. However, there are different levels of the degree of vegetarianism one can practice, with the main four being: Ovo-lacto vegetarianism – the most common type wherein practitioners eat both dairy products and eggs Ovo vegetarianism – eat eggs but no dairy products Lacto vegetarianism – eat dairy products but no eggs Veganism vegetarianism – do not eat dairy, eggs or any by-product derived from animals or meat Pollotarian and pescatarian also fall within the lifestyle with the former abstaining from red meat, fish and seafood, while the latter avoiding red meat, poultry and fowl. Why do it? There are a number of reasons behind adopting a vegetarian diet with many revolving around health and ethics. For instance, people often object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life, making it a matter of animal rights advocacy.