Frequently Asked Questions:

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What is a Vegetarian?

Vegetarianism is the practice of living on products of the plant kingdom, with or without the use of eggs and dairy products, but excluding entirely the consumption of any part of the body of an animal as food (including chicken, fish and seafood).

A Lacto-Vegetarian includes dairy in their diet
An Ovo-Vegetarian includes eggs.

No type of Vegetarian ever includes Fish or Chicken!

What is a Vegan?

Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.

Definition of the term 'vegan' coined by Donald Watson, 1944, co-founder of the Vegan Society, UK

Where do you get your protein?

This must be the question that vegetarians hear most often. Adequate protein is easy to find in a balanced vegetarian diet. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in America recommends:

  • 5 or more servings of grains per day (this includes cereal and bread) - roughly 3 grams of protein per serve
  • 3 or more servings of vegetables each day - roughly 2 grams of protein per serve
  • 2-3 servings of legumes each day (this includes cooked beans, lentils, hommous, tofu, soymilk, meat analogues and nuts) - between 4 and 10 grams of protein per serve

A few examples:

  • black beans boiled (1 cup) - 15.2 grams
  • lentils boiled (1 cup) - 17.9 grams
  • tofu (firm) (1/2 cup) - 19.9 grams
  • broccoli (1 cup) - 4.6 grams
  • peanut butter (2 tbsp) - 8 grams

Modern Western Diets are high in protein, mostly animal protein. High protein diets have been shown to cause heart disease, impair kidney function, increase risk of cancer, and encourage urinary calcium loss. For more information go to:

What is Rennet?

Rennet is used in the production of most cheeses and causes milk to coagulate, forming curds and whey. Rennet is an extract from the fourth stomach of young ruminants, such as cows, goats, and sheep. This means that the majority of cheese on the market is not, in fact, vegetarian!

Vegetarian cheeses are available however, and are manufactured using rennet from either fungal or bacterial sources. The label will state 'non-animal rennet' or 'vegetarian cheese'. Soy cheese is another alternative. Some soy cheese contains casein, which is a milk protein, suitable for vegetarians, other such as Cheezley and Kingland are soy cheeses that are suitable for vegans.



© Vegetarian Tasmania, 2009