Rus Articles Journal

History of vegetarianism and types of vegetarian diets

It can surprise many, but our far ancestors lived on a semi-vegetarian diet during many millions of years. Some anthropologists created a stereotype “the person - the hunter“, however careful studying of modern tribes “hunters - collectors“ allowed scientists to draw a conclusion that our far ancestors ate mainly vegetable food, only with rare addition from meat of animals.

Studying of life of tribes of the Australian natives and some South African tribes living in the conditions very similar to living conditions of our primogenitors demonstrates

that the food of an animal origin makes no more than a quarter of their diet. Nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables - here their main food.

As well as the majority of ideas, existing now in the Western world, vegetarianism for the first time developed in Ancient Greece. Pythagoras and Porfiry were the most famous vegetarians of that time, however, the list of supporters of vegetarianism can be continued by such names as Diogenes, Platon, Plutarch. Ancient Greeks were drawn towards vegetarianism for a set of the reasons. For example, Pythagoras and his followers believed that animals have soul on an equal basis with the person, and after death of a shower animal can revive in the person and vice versa. This representation has directly something in common with idea of the reincarnation accepted in Hinduism where most of religious figures and many simple people also adhere to vegetarianism.

Platon in “Republic“ describes vegetarianism as the most suitable diet for ideal society. According to Platon, the vegetable food is preferable as it is the food which is most of all promoting health of the person and also because its production requires the smaller number of lands, than for production of food of an animal origin.

the Romans who adopted the majority of the ideas from Greeks including borrowed also vegetarianism. The most famous vegetarians of ancient Rome it is possible to call Ovidiya and Seneca.

Fall of the Roman Empire and distribution of Christianity gave

in Europe to “dark centuries“, including, it concerned also vegetarianism. In the Middle Ages such Christian thinkers as, for example, St. Augustine, intellectually proved murder, eating and, in general, use of animals by people. They proved that only the person has soul and free will while animals are created only for use by their person for the needs. Such point of view still is the most widespread in the modern world.

However traditions of vegetarianism continued to live also in the medieval world. Many monks avoided the use of meat for the sake of suppression of “animal“ passions of the body. Benedictines, cistercians and some other monastic orders of medieval Europe practiced vegetarianism during some periods of the history. In the 15th century Europe rediscovered for itself ancient philosophy, art and science. However Europeans could reopen for themselves vegetarianism not at once. Leonardo da Vinci, being a dreamer, outstripped the time, adhering to firm vegetarianism. He wrote in the diary:“ Since early years I had disgust for the use of meat and I believe that such times when people, similar to me, treat murder of animals will come soon the same as now treat murder of people“.

the Real revival of vegetarianism can be carried to the XVIII-XIX centuries. At this particular time the theory of evolution of Darwin destroyed idea that animals fundamentally differ from people and by that nullified religious and philosophical justifications of murder and eating of animals. The new view consisted that animals differ from people only in I.Q., but not the nature.

Such view of animals as on our far ancestors led

to new humanistic reforms. At this particular time there were early serious studies concerning vegetarianism. Then there were also first handiworks connected with this question. Lev Tolstoy and Percy Shelley - here examples of the writers of the 19th century calling, among other things, for refusal of meat food and of murder of animals. Some time people whom we call vegetarians now called themselves followers of the Pythagorean diet. Later there was a term “vegetarianism“ which came from the Latin word “vegetus“ (vegetus) that means strong, active, vigorous. In the 20th century the vegetarian movement gathered the increasing and great popularity. Practically in each country there were vegetarian communities, books, newspapers were published, the researches helping to understand better not only the ethical, but also physiological party of this question in influence of a vegetarian diet on a physical condition of the person were conducted. In 1908 the Vegetarian Union (Vegetarian Union) which main function was an organization of conferences at which vegetarians from around the world could communicate was created. This union exists and works fully to this day.

60 - e - 70 - e years of the 20th century were time of the greatest rise and dawn of the vegetarian movement around the world. New knowledge of need of diets for maintenance of health, hobby for east philosophies, interest in improvement of quality and duration of human life, fight for peace and utopian belief in ideal community - all these social currents led to emergence of a set of new ways in vegetarianism. Presently there are hundreds of types of vegetarian diets which can be united in several general groups conditionally. Here the main.

Veganism. Absolute vegetarianism. Followers of this diet do not eat either some meat, or milk, or fish, or eggs. They practice full refusal of products of an animal origin. Very often this vegetarian diet is exposed to the greatest attacks from official science and medicine. And actually, full refusal of products of an animal origin quite often conducts to avitaminosis, decrease in level of iron and other valuable minerals in blood that leads to serious problems with health and immunity.

Lactovegetarianism. This type of a vegetarian diet allows, along with phytogenesis products, the use of milk and dairy products. Most of followers of east, especially Indian, philosophical and religious trends concerns to lacto-vegetarians.

of Ovovegetarianstvo. the Diet excluding the milk use, but allowing the use in food of eggs. This type of a vegetarian diet is based generally on reasons of ethical character or on personal intolerance of dairy products.

of Laktoovovegetarianstvo. As appears from the name, it is a vegetarian diet which, except food of a phytogenesis, allows the use of eggs and milk. Modern scientific researches prove that such diet is the most suitable from the point of view of the healthy and balanced food.

Krom of above-mentioned four main groups of vegetarian diets the set of types of diets semi-vegetarian exists. Such diet as seven-vegetarianism - the diet excluding the use of red meat, but allowing the use of any other types of meat and a bird concerns to them, for example. Also it is possible to carry to semi-vegetarian types of diets a fleksitarianizm . This diet is based on the use in food of products of a phytogenesis, but allows the rare use of meat, a bird and fish.


with vegetarianism closely connected also other types dietary the practician.

of Frutorianstvo. It is a diet which allows the use in food of fruit, nuts, seeds and other types of vegetable food, but only provided that production of these products is not connected with infliction of harm to plants.

of SU vegetarianism (in practice of Buddhists). Excludes all products of an animal origin, and also vegetable products badly smelling, such as onions and garlic.

Macrobiotic diet. This diet is based on the use in food of products from whole grains of cereal and bean cultures. However, the macrobiotic diet cannot be considered fully vegetarian as allows the use of fish.

Rawism. This diet allows the use of any kinds of products of a phytogenesis, but only in case they were not exposed to thermal treatment. Anyway, to what vegetarian practice you would not decide to adhere, you should remember that vegetarianism is, nevertheless, the diet connected with restriction of the use of these or those types of products that can lead to loss or complete cessation of receipt in an organism of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, important for health. So before in whole or in part refusing the use in food of products of an animal origin, it is necessary to consult with the attending physician to be sure that your ethical aspirations will not be injurious to your health and wellbeing.