When I became vegetarian, life was simple. You were either a vegetarian or you weren't. Sure I knew a few vegans but that was it. Since then, I've read many books, found lots of ideas in the blogosphere and had many conversations about what to call vegetarians (and wannabe vegetarians).
Here is a guide to vegetarian names, labels and terms I have come across. Please bear in mind that some are not strictly vegetarian and some are tongue in cheek. It was quite a challenge matching pictures with terms, but lots of fun. Hope you enjoy them:
Eats no meat or products of the flesh but will eat dairy, eggs and honey. Often referred to as just vegetarians. This is me so it seems quite normal but I know others can still find it challenging.
Eat no meat, products of the flesh, dairy or eggs. Check out Vegan MoFo if you want to see how well Vegans eat.
Eats a GLuten-free, vEGAN diet. If you think it is restrictive, check out local gleegan blog, In the Mood for Noodles.
Eats a vegan diet plus honey.
Eats fruits, nuts and seeds, without animal products, vegetables and grains. The idea is to only eat produce that fall from trees and plants rather than vegetables that are part of a plant. I met a few on my travels. They like WWOOFing.
Lives on fresh air and sunshine. I've never met one though I have met a few kids who seem to be heading in that direction!
Eats creatures with beady eyes. This usually means they don't eat red meat (cows, pigs and larger animals) but they eat pale flesh of chickens, other birds and fish. Maybe it is easier to refuse an animal with big eyes.
Eats a vegetarian diet plus fish. I love the fish and chipocrite term that I learnt from a friend who defined herself that way. It just rolls off the tongue so nicely.
Eats vegetarian quite a lot but not all the time (and in the case of Chele's friend the "freedom eater", labels himself vegetarian when it suits him). These people are very supportive of Meatless Mondays.
Lover of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and rice. Often young kids.
AKA dumpster divers. Reclaims and eats food that has been discarded by others. Also see amazing The Gleaners and I documentary.
Eats uncooked and unprocessed foods that have not been heated above 40 C (give or take according to who you listen to). Predominantly but not necessarily vegan. There are heaps of raw food blogs. I like Choosing Raw.
Everyone with any sort of dietary restriction, whether by choice or not. I saw this hilarious term on Where's the Beef.
Update July 2012: just saw a new term - hegan
Update Oct 2012 - another new term - nutrttarian
Update Feb 2013 - What kind of Vegetarian are you? in The Guardian, 28 Jan 2013
Update September 2017 - reductarian
And what do vegetarians eat?
Well the top photo shows a selection of my groceries. However I really think this is the ideal place to share my favourite alternative faux meat terminology: facon, tricken, shamburgers, beetloaf, chilli non carne. Any more?