Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw, Plant-Based — Decoding the Language Around Meatless Diets — Everyday Vegetarian

(Image credit: courtesy of Fox)

There’s a little joke that goes around vegan circles — the concept of the “level-five vegan,” someone who is unflinchingly committed to the plant-based lifestyle. The term is a reference to an episode of The Simpsons, in which Lisa Simpson — one of television’s most celebrated vegetarians — develops a crush on a guy who chuckles dismissively when she says she’s thinking of going vegan. “I’m a level-five vegan,” he says. “I won’t eat anything that casts a shadow.”

There are so many ways to go meatless today that you could be forgiven for falling behind on the terminology. No, veganism doesn’t have “levels” (at least, not that we know of), but it has plenty of variations. Below is your glossary of vegetarianism in its many forms, from the basic meat-abstinent to the purely plant-based.

And what if — despite our trusty guide — you should find a vegetarian at your dinner table, and you’re at a loss for what (not) to serve? When in doubt, ask. Just ask! Ask early and ask often. Ask with genuine curiosity and then actually listen to the answer. It really is that easy.

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