The Vegetarian Food Pyramid
Before we get to the
description of a vegetarian food pyramid, let us try to get the meaning
of the term vegetarian. In simple language, a vegetarian is an
individual who does not eat meat. There are mainly four different groups
of vegetarians categorizes according to their eating preferences. These
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian: This is a group of
vegetarians who do not eat meat but consumes dairy products and eggs.
This term lacto-ovo actually means dairy and eggs since lacto means
dairy and ovo stands for eggs. In essence, this group of people will
comfortably eat animal products like milk, cheese, eggs and other
byproducts from animals but not the meat.
- Lacto vegetarian: This group consumes any
sort of dairy products but do not take eggs or the meat.
- Ovo vegetarian: These are the opposite of
the lacto vegetarians since they do not consume meat or meat related
products but they do include eggs in their diet.
- Vegans: These are the strictest category of
vegetarians since they keep off any animal products be it meat, eggs,
milk, gelatin, or even honey. Some are so extreme that they even choose
to avoid the use of any outfits that may be made or contain any form of
animal products such as leather, wool, or even silk.
After going through the various classes of vegetarians,
let us have a look at the vegetarian food pyramid. The vegetarian food
pyramid refers to the breakdown of food that comprises a complete balanced
diet for a vegetarian person. The type of the vegetarian in mind while
organizing the recipe will mostly influence this pyramid. For example if the
serving were for a lacto vegetarian, then the meat substitutes would
comfortably include dairy products. A vegetarian food pyramid that targets
an ovo vegetarian will also accommodate egg products. Lastly, a vegan’s
diets will not withstand any dairy or egg products as a meat substitute.
For purposes of elaboration, we will give a general out
look of a standard vegetarian food pyramid describing the recommended
portions of servings that should suite each person’s calorie demands. Just
like in the case of ordinary persons without any dietary restrains,
vegetarian food pyramid must meet the general rules on diet such as having a
balanced diet and healthy eating. The vegetarian food pyramid must therefore
meet the golden balanced diet rules, which demands that any food serving
must contain the three main food groups that include vitamins, proteins and
carbohydrates. The food portions in each of the main food groups i.e.
proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins will depend on the age, gender or
activity of the person in question.
Although each person requires the three food groups in
the vegetarian food pyramid to maintain a good and healthy body, demands for
proteins and carbohydrates will mostly vary according to age or lifestyle. A
teenager or an active youth’s vegetarian food pyramid will need more protein
as compared to an elderly person who is less active and does not require a
large portion of energy giving foods or proteins that help the body in
developing new tissues. It is therefore always important to consider the
calorie needs of each person when managing their vegetarian food pyramid.
After taking into account all the above factors, it is
however clearly evident that the vegetarian food pyramid will include some
basic food items in order to meet the calorie demands of any individual
regardless of their age, gender or level of activity. It is therefore
important to point out these standard requirements. In this, we will start
by listing out the different foods that should feature in the vegetarian
food pyramid starting with the ones that one should take in small
quantities to the ones that are consumable in generous portions. Sweets,
fats and oils will top the list of items that should not take in large
volumes. Low fats or non-fat items such as milk, yogurt, legumes, nuts and
other meat substitute follow in line. The vegetable and fruits group come
third in line and of course, the leader in the vegetarian food pyramid is
carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, rice and other cereals. These do
not have any side effects and give the body the energy it requires for every
The diagram bellow represents the breakdown of a
vegetarian food pyramid. The vegetarian should take the food in descending
quantities from the bottom of the vegetarian food pyramid to the top. The
food at the top of the vegetarian food pyramid are often associated with
obesity and do not help the body so much hence the recommendation that one
should not take them in large amounts. On the other hand, the foods at the
bottom of the vegetarian food pyramid are regularly used by the body on a
daily basis hence the need to consume them in large portions. It is however
up to the consumer to decide on the rations to take at the middle of the
pyramid since these four groups are so essential in bodybuilding and the