Lacto Ovo Vegetarian diet is the most common type of vegetarian dietary preference. The term “Lacto Ovo Vegetarian” is a combination of three different words – lacto = milk, ovo = eggs, and vegetarian = plant based foods. Thus, a lacto ovo vegetarian is a person who restricts all animal flesh and its by-products but is open to consuming dairy and egg products. People might choose this dietary preference due to moral, social, cultural, religious, ethical, or health concerns. Of all the sub-categories of vegetarian diets, many believe that lacto ovo vegetarian diet is the most practical diet preference. Cookies, Puddings, Ratatouille, and Baklava are some of the popular lacto-ovo-vegetarian recipes.
History and Cultural Significance of Lacto Ovo Vegetarian diet:
According to the proponents of lacto ovo vegetarian diet, the earliest human were basically gatherers and survived on wild plant products, eggs, and surplus milk produced by certain mammals. They started including meat only after mastering making tool techniques - essential for hunting animals.
Later, several religions promoted this diet as a way of practicing non-violence. Till date, Yi Guan Dao followers and Seventh-day Adventists follow a lacto ovo vegetarian diet.
Dietary Laws Governing Lacto Ovo Vegetarian Food Consumption
The dietary norms of a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian diet basically involve restriction of all animal products other than dairy and egg produce. Thus, flesh of all animals – land or aquatic, certain animal tissues like blood, marrow, bones, etc., animal by-products like gelatin and rennet are restricted from the diet.
Apart from the aforementioned restrictions, lacto ovo vegetarians may also avoid vegetarian recipes that might contain ingredients from animal origin, eg., cheese with rennet or gelatin based mousse. Moreover, a strict follower of this diet may also restrict vegetarian dishes that have been in contact with or cooked in close proximity with the restricted foods.
Typical Diet Routine Based on Lacto Ovo Vegetarian Diet
A lacto ovo vegetarian meal plan may include:
- Breakfast: Cereals, eggs and bread, a fruit, and tea/coffee
- Lunch: French Onion soup, Caesar’s Salad, baked beans with bread on side.
- Evening Snack: Doughnuts with tea/coffee
- Dinner: Rice with stir fried vegetables, tomato and herd gravy, egg salad.
- Dessert: Soufflé.
Health Benefits of Following a Lacto Ovo Vegetarian Diet
Several health and nutrition experts agree that a lacto ovo vegetarian diet is the most nutritionally balanced version of all vegetarian diet types. This diet is heart friendly by the virtue of excluding cholesterol rich red meats. But at the same time provides enough high value proteins via the dairy and egg products, plus adequate fibers by including a high percentage of plant based foods.
Thus, lacto ovo vegetarian diet is supposed to be heart, friendly, and help in preventing several lifestyle diseases like diabetes, CVD, and obesity. However, one must be wary of including high amounts of refined carbohydrates, fats and oils, which will only nullify all the benefits of a meat free diet.
Lacto Ovo Vegetarian Diet: Trivia
According to an independent survey, almost 10% of Americans are Lacto Ovo Vegetarians.