I became a vegetarian over 13 years ago and what a different time it was.
That may sound silly but it is true the internet was still a little geek thing, windows95 was just being released in BETA and there was definetly no tofurkey or morningstar available at every neighborhood grocery store. Being vegetarian was very different then now.
With the growth of the internet and changing food trends being vegetarian has become easier but in some ways become much more difficult to explain since what it means to be a vegetarian is ever changing. The basics are this the dietary terms are
Pesco-Vegetarian- This type of vegetarian is not excepted as a vegetarian by many groups but dietarily the term is excepted as anyone who eats no land animals, possibly eats eggs and or dairy, but does eat fish and shellfish.
Ovo-Vegetarian- Is some one who eats no animals (sea or land) or the byproducts that come from their killing such as gelatin, eats no diary but does consume eggs.
Lacto-Vegetarian- Is some one who eats no animals (sea or land) or the byproducts that come from their killing such as gelatin, eats no eggs but does consume dairy.
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian- Is probably the most common type of vegetarian in America, they are some one who eats no animals (sea or land) or the byproducts that come from their killing such as gelatin, but who eats eggs and dairy.
Now all of the above types of vegetarians also have the choice to include or disclude things like Honey from their diets as it comes from animals but does not require the animal to die for the product. The same goes for animal fibers that come from non-kill sources (wool, feathers etc) as well as leather and products that include the death of an animal.
These are gray areas that often depend on the individuals beliefs as well as the reasons why they are a vegetarian. If they chose to be vegetarian for health reasons they are going to tend to be more open to wearing items such as leather. Were as some peoples beliefs are if the materials can be taken humanely from the animal in some way, such as family farm raised sheep wool that they will use those products.
Other vegetarians will not use new source materials but will wear animal fibers and leather from recycled sources. Many believe that this is an enviromentally friendly way to avoid petroluem products while not participating in a system that is killing new animals for goods. Many also hate throwing away leather or fiber pieces they had before they became vegetarian as disrespectful to the animal.
There are many different thinkings behind these different issue and points, and for vegetarians they can chose what best fits their lifestyle. Since being vegetarian by the terms only reflects on what you eat, vegetarianism is more open to individual interpetation.
Next I will discuss Vegans