What is an Ovo Vegetarian?

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Ovo vegetarianism

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Ovo-vegetarians are people who follow a vegetarian diet that also includes eggs and egg products such as mayonnaise.

The ethical motivation for choosing ovo-vegetarianism, i.e., excluding dairy products from the diet, is usually based on the fact that the dairy industry resorts to extreme cruelty to sustain itself. Animals raised and maintained for milk are often kept in highly congested spaces that result in several animals dying or living with painful ailments.

These animals are forced to be pregnant for as long as possible to procure milk from them, which means that the calves born out of these pregnancies don’t get access to their mother’s milk.

Ovo-vegetarians also maintain specific criteria for the eggs they buy since industrially produced eggs are also not cruelty-free. They typically choose cage-free and unfertilized eggs. The health-related reasons for choosing ovo-vegetarianism are lactose intolerance problems and the unhealthy amount of fat and gluten content in dairy products.


Advantages of an Ovo-vegetarian diet


Compared to the diet spectrum’s two extremes, a non-vegetarian diet and a vegan diet, an ovo-vegetarian diet can be very economical and healthy.

Non-vegetarian diets are usually expensive if healthy and hygienic meat options are considered.

A vegan diet is also not entirely pocket-friendly since a nutritional, balanced meal will require several vegan alternatives for staple ingredients, adding up to an expensive lifestyle. An ovo-vegetarian diet ensures that you get a well-balanced meal that is also pocket friendly since eggs effectively provide ample protein.


Environment friendly

The meat industry weighs heavily on the planet. Rearing cattle is expensive for the planet since it involves greenhouse gas emissions comparable to emissions made by large automobiles.

Additionally, rearing cattle involves grazing on large pastures created by cutting down large areas of forests. The future of the planet depends on decreasing the intake of meat.


Health benefits

Vegetarian diets are generally much healthier than non-vegetarian diets. They ensure more fiber intake and prevent all the health risks associated with meat. Intake of fiber helps maintain a low Body Mass Index since fiber is very filling and reduces overeating. Additionally, fiber helps to maintain good metabolism.

Vegetarian diets also involve consuming fewer calories since most vegetarian foods are low on calories. Since ovo-vegetarians avoid dairy and dairy products, they are also at a lower risk of several diseases caused by high sugar intake and unsaturated fat in food products.

Several vegans have started to add eggs into their diet since vegan diets can be relatively nutrient deficient.

Eggs are a great source of protein, and they can provide nutrients such as Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 that are otherwise only available in meat. Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 are essential for the human nervous and immune systems. Adding eggs to a vegetarian meal is also a lot more satiating than a pure vegetarian meal.


Potential risks and concerns

Inadequate protein intake

Several kinds of meat form the primary source of protein in non-vegetarian diets. In a vegetarian diet, protein intake can fall below the required amount if it is not carefully supplemented with plant-based options.

Legumes and nuts are good sources of protein for vegetarians. Ovo-vegetarians have an additional option of eggs and egg products. Egg whites are excellent sources of protein.


Nutrient deficiency

People who stick to a strictly vegetarian diet can suffer from deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B12, vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc are the most commonly neglected nutrients among vegetarians.

These deficiencies are potentially dangerous. These nutrients are usually derived from seafood, meat, and dairy. Several plant-based options are available to compensate for the lack of non-vegetarian food products. Fortified foods often have artificially added vitamins and minerals in food products such as plant-based milk and breakfast cereals.

The important thing is to keep track of your nutrient intake and add health supplements to make up for the nutrients absent in your diet. Making a diet chart can help keep a tab on your nutrient intake.


Processed foods

Choosing a vegetarian diet does not necessarily mean a healthy diet. Vegetarian junk foods and processed food products are as available and are as harmful as any other diet.

If you choose ovo vegetarianism for its health benefits, you must include whole foods and green vegetables in your meal. Minimize the consumption of junk food and avoid eating processed food whenever you can. Processed meat alternatives can be tempting, but they can be as harmful as any meat products.

  • Luke Rooks

    Luke is a passionate environmental advocate based in upstate New York. When he's not sharing tips on sustainability and wellness, you can find him hiking with his dog, Max.

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