What am I? What are you?
The thought of Vegetarian vs Nutritarian never crossed my mind when I first began eating a plant based diet. It was largely due to the fact that I was easily 70 pounds overweight, could hardly walk and felt sluggish all the time. It was pretty much against my will and a last ditch effort, but I didn't know what else to do. With the help of two of my sisters a Vegetarian and a Nutritarian, I found my way to Dr. John McDougall's Maximum Weight Loss book which I devoured (no calories there) in a weekend.
Within a week I cleaned out all animal products, including dairy and eggs from my refrigerator and began eating only plant based foods. My husband told me that he would start this "program" with me but that he was a carnivore and intended to remain one. Within four months I lost 40 pounds and he lost 35 (back to his college weight and waist!) In addition my blood sugar dropped drastically, my energy returned and I began to look forward to the promise of each new day! Pretty dramatic results for someone who was about to give up on good health altogether. Still, I didn't know exactly what to call my eating style. True I didn't eat meat or dairy/eggs but I did eat fish twice a week. So was I a fish eating Vegan or a non dairy eating Vegetarian?
As time went on, for some reason I completely lost my taste for any fish at all (another surprise since I loved shrimp, scallops and fresh tuna), which indeed has left me a true Vegan/Nutritarian, that is, I don't eat any animal products or dairy. My husband who likely will never return to his original carnivore state, does eat a little cheese from time-to-time and will order fish when he's at a restaurant.
While Vegans are easier to describe i.e. plant based eaters without dairy, Vegetarians are a bit trickier.
The majority of Vegetarians are likely known as Lacto-ovo and consume plant based foods plus dairy and eggs. (Lacto eat dairy but no eggs while Ovo eat eggs but no dairy). Yet another approach is Pesce (like my husband) who doesn't eat dairy but adds fish occasionally.
Another eating program that you may have heard of is Nutritarian. A good definition is a person who eats foods that are high in micronutrients. They eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, onions, mushrooms, whole grains, beans, and berries, and particularly consume leafy greens, which are an extremely nutrient-dense foods. A Nutritarian strives to consume at least 90% of their diet from these foods (Wikipedia) but does not necessarily exclude meat.
Surprisingly, many people who have changed their diets drastically are not neccessarily nutrition savvy. They continue to consume products containing processed grains, oils, sugars, or salt.
Although this likely sounds quite confusing do not let it stop you from becoming a healthier you! There is lots of information available to you. Begin eating plant based food as soon as possible for your health and as you go you will add to your knowledge and develop your own preferences and style.
My site began as a place to learn how to cook beautiful, delicious and tasty food. It remains to be so with the huge addition of making it healthy. The information that I share is the result of my journey into this Brave New World of Healthy Eating. There is still so much to learn!
Understanding the basics really helps us make good nutritional choices on a daily basis.
The bottom line is that while it doesn't matter what you label yourself, it does matter greatly what choices you make in the foods you eat for you and for your family!
The best resources I can recommend to help you begin are