Meet What You Eat: Nine Eating Practices You Need To Know About
Who doesn't love food? Hands down it has to be one of the grandest pleasures us humans indulge in - from a morning bowl of cereal for breakfast to a juicy steak & mash for supper.
In the UK around 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year and almost 50% of this comes from our homes. Throughout history, people have abided by specific dietary practices, be it for religious and faith reasons, economical, personal taste, or a belief that other living things are not there simply for our consumption. It's estimated that around 2% of the UK population is vegetarian, which is more than 1.2 million people and teenagers make up the highest proportion.
Below we have put together a list of 9 eating practices ranging from the well known to some slightly more peculiar ones:
Could you live without eating any meat including dairy products and eggs?
This one’s straightforward enough. It means not eating meat (or meat based products) and can be adopted out of respect for animal life, for health-related, political, environmental or religious reasons. There are variations on the practice - for example an eggoholic who simply can’t live without a dozen white ovals in their fridge are called ovo-vegetarians and the calcium-loving lacto-vegetarians include dairy products in their diet.
Tip: Don’t be a junk food vegetarian & stuff your face with crisps because they are veggie. Also, don’t over do it on the soy, which should act as a supplement, not be the foundation to your vegilicious diet.
Vegans don’t eat any kind of animal products, usually due to a belief that we should reject the commodity status of fellow living creatures. Vegans don’t eat eggs, dairy products,or any other animal-derived substances like the gelatine found in gum-based sweets.
Tip: Vegans have particularly low intakes of vitamin B12, which can lead to some serious issues (megaloblastic anemia, nerve degeneration & irreversible neurological damage). So if you’re gonna live like a true herbivore, make sure to stock up on appropriate B12 supplements.
A semi-vegetarian diet that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat products. This can be adopted for sustainability reasons, but if you ask us, this is just another word for being a fussy eater!
Tip: There is a fine line between balancing your meat intake with greens, and dangerously yo-yoing between diets, so make sure to monitor your nutrients intake and supplement when necessary things like B12, Omega-3 fatty acids as well as proteins and minerals.
Imagine if all you ate was fruit! Some fruitarians will only eat what falls naturally to the ground, believing that to pick or harvest is harmful. This could mean many hours standing under a tree waiting for a coconut and hoping it doesn’t crack you on the head when it does fall...True ‘fruities’ do not eat grains & seeds because it’s unnatural...seriously!
Tip: An all-fruit diet is essentially an all-fructose diet, and in the long-term studies have shown that can induce conditions such as diabetes, microvascular disease, high blood pressure, kidney damage and fatty liver disease. Make sure to consult a doctor if you’re thinking about practicing a fruitarian diet, to find out the risks & get prescribed appropriate supplements.
This is the practice of eating only uncooked, unprocessed foods. Depending on the philosophy, or type of lifestyle, this could mean raw veganism or only raw, slimy and hard to chew meat. We personally love sashimi and oysters in moderation, but to only eat that slimy texture day in day out...well it’s just doesn’t feel very normal, but who are we to judge!
Tip: Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak, brittle bones. Since many raw food diets are based on low-calorie foods, such as fruits, grains & raw fish, you may not meet your daily nutrient needs so it’s important to augment these with appropriate nutritional supplements.
A diet that includes fish or other seafood, but not the flesh of other animals: Most pescetarians maintain a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet with the addition of sea creatures.
Tip: Look, we have all heard how fish makes you smarter and oysters are an aphrodisiac, but just make sure your love for the fishy things doesn’t mean that’s all your smelling of. We’ve heard of Lynx Africa, but not Lynx Cod Roe. Just sayin.
This diet attempts to balance your intake of food elements, both for sustainability and spiritual reasons. Grains are a staple, supplemented with other foods such as vegetables and soy. It also believes that certain kinds of cookware should be avoided (seriously). Although some believe it to have medicinal benefits, this has not been proven scientifically.
Tip: This diet can lead to deficiencies in important nutrients and vitamins such as calcium, protein, iron, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids.
The human consumption of insects has been around since prehistoric times and is common to many cultures in South America, Africa & South East Asia. Over 1,000 species of insects are to eaten in 80% of the world's nations. However, in some societies insect eating is considered taboo.
Tip: The European Food Safety Authority has published its initial risk assessment of using insects as a source of protein for human consumption and concluded that the main issues depended on how the insects were reared and processed. So make sure you know exactly where your creepy crawler buffet originated.
Ever wondered how our prehistoric selves ate? This is the back-to-basics diet with foods presumed to be available to Palaeolithic humans. Quite simply you need to avoid modern processed foods, and stick to a pre-agriculture lifestyle, where hunting and gathering was the only source of food.
Tipis: Get yourself into a fancy dress shop, buy a fake bone and a cave-man outfit, because you may as well really immerse yourself in the role and have some fun while you are at it!