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An ovo-lacto vegetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian is a vegetarian who consumes some animal products, such as eggs and dairy. Unlike pescatarians, they do not consume fish or other seafood. A typical ovo-lacto vegetarian diet can include fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, roots, fungi, milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir, and eggs.
The terminology stems from the Latin lac meaning "milk" (as in 'lactation'), ovum meaning "egg", and the English term vegetarian, so as giving the definition of a vegetarian diet containing milk and eggs.
In the Western world, ovo-lacto vegetarians are the most common type of vegetarian. Generally speaking, when one uses the term vegetarian, an ovo-lacto vegetarian is assumed. Ovo-lacto vegetarians are often well-catered to in restaurants and shops, especially in some parts of Europe and metropolitan cities in North America.
Jainism prohibits causing harm to anything with a soul or potential life. Traditionally this includes eggs and certain kinds of vegetables, as well as animals, but dairy products are permitted. Jains are therefore lacto vegetarians, not ovo-lacto vegetarians.
The Bible Christian Church was a Christian vegetarian sect founded by William Cowherd in 1809. Cowherd was one of the philosophical forerunners of the Vegetarian Society founded in 1847. The Bible Christian Church promoted the use of eggs, dairy and honey as God's given food per "the promised land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:8).
Ovo-vegetarianism in India
In India, eggs are not universally considered vegetarian; those who do practice ovo-vegetarianism are often described as "eggetarians". To accommodate this, products containing eggs are specially marked to differentiate them from otherwise vegetarian food products. Some manufacturers specifically advise that their products contain eggs but not meat or animal products to avoid diminishing interest among those who practice ovo-vegetarianism.
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- Surveys studying food habits of Indians include: "Diary and poultry sector growth in India", Quote:"An analysis of consumption data originating from National Sample Survey (NSS) shows that 42 percent of households are vegetarian, in that they never eat fish, meat or eggs. The remaining 58 percent of households are less strict vegetarians or non-vegetarians." "Indian consumer patterns" and "Agri reform in India". Results indicate that Indians who eat meat do so infrequently with less than 30% consuming non-vegetarian foods regularly, although the reasons may be economical. Archived June 26, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
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