Food is a nutritious substance that is a physiological need of plants, animals and humans in order to sustain vitality. The food consumption of the human population varies geographically, from culture to culture, in different races and religions, through different beliefs and or simply by taste preference. In order to maintain optimal health, a balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, ands fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) must be acquired through the intake of substances from all food groups. However, a group of individuals called vegetarians abstain the consumption of meat, fish, poultry and sometimes even dairy group. Vegetarians have a long history and a plethora of debatable reasons for their decision to not eat such foods. .
Vegetarianism is the avoidance of consumption of meat, fish, poultry and sometimes dairy but there are many variations of the practice. A vegetarian diet is mainly plant based. A Pescatarian does not eat any type of meat or animal flesh besides fish. A flexitarian is one who mainly follows a vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat. A Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian consumes animal by-products such as eggs, milk and cheese but does not eat any form of animal flesh. A Lacto-Vegetarian will not consume eggs or animal flesh but will eat dairy, and an Ovo-Vegetarian will consume eggs but no dairy or animal flesh. A vegan abstains the consumption of any animal or animal by-product. Each of these practices is different but all shared the common basis of refraining from the consumption of animals and their by-products. .
Vegetarian beliefs may also extend further than just the consumption of animals. Animal by-products are in far more manufactured goods than what meets the eye. Stearic acid is a chemical that can come from animal fats. Many other fats and oils deriving from animals, euphemistically known as tallow, can be found in products such as cosmetics, toiletries and pharmaceuticals.