A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet is one that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat products. In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year's most useful word and defined it as «a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat». In 2012, the term was listed for the first time in the mainstream Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat – red meat, poultry, seafood and the flesh of any other animal; it may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter.
Vegetarianism can be adopted for different reasons. Many object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, along with the concept of animal rights. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic or economic.
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.
Distinctions are sometimes made between different categories of veganism. Dietary vegans, or strict vegetarians, refrain from consuming animal products, not only meat but, in contrast to ovo-lacto vegetarians, also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances. Ethical vegans not only follow a vegan diet, but oppose the use of animals or animal products for any purpose. Environmental veganism refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the harvesting or industrial farming of animals is environmentally unsustainable.
The EU Directive 2007/68/EC of 27 November 2007 stipulates that the following 14 ingredients (and products thereof) must be specified as potential triggers of food allergies and intolerances on packaged foods, as they most often lead to the so-called immediate-type reactions:
- Cereals containing gluten, ie wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelled, kamut or their hybridised strains. (The coeliac gluten intolerance is one of the immunologically mediated, non-IgE-mediated food intolerances)
- Milk (includin lactose)
- Nuts, ie almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts and Queensland nuts
- Sulphur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations of more than 10 mg / kg or 10 mg / liter expressed as SO2. (This is a pseudo-allergy)
- Sesame seeds
- Molluscs (eg mussels, snails, cuttlefish)
Source: Wikipedia (de)
A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein. They are distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacological reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions.
The protein in the food is the most common allergic component. These kinds of allergies occur when the body's immune system mistakenly identifies a protein as harmful. Some proteins or fragments of proteins are resistant to digestion and those that are not broken down in the digestive process are tagged by the Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These tags fool the immune system into thinking that the protein is an invader. The immune system, thinking the organism (the individual) is under attack, sends white blood cells to attack, and that triggers an allergic reaction. These reactions can range from mild to severe. Allergic responses include dermatitis, gastrointestinal and respiratory distress, including such life-threatening anaphylactic responses as biphasic anaphylaxis and vasodilation; these require immediate emergency intervention. Individuals with protein allergies commonly avoid contact with the problematic protein. Some medications may prevent, minimize or treat protein allergy reactions. There is no cure.
Food intolerance or non-allergic food hypersensitivity is a term used widely for varied physiological responses associated with a particular food, or compound found in a range of foods.
Food intolerance is a detrimental reaction, often delayed, to a food, beverage, food additive, or compound found in foods that produces symptoms in one or more body organs and systems, but it is not a true food allergy. A true food allergy requires the presence of Immunoglobin E (IgE) antibodies against the food, and a food intolerance does not.
Lactase is an enzyme produced in the digestive system of infants and some, mostly European, adult humans. Lactase is essential to the complete digestion of whole milk. Lactase breaks down lactose, a complex sugar which gives milk its sweetness. Lacking lactase, a person consuming dairy products may experience the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Lactase can be purchased as a food supplement, and is added to milk to produce «lactose-free» milk products.
Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten may also be found in some cosmetics, hair products, and other dermatological preparations.
Between 0.5 and 1.0 percent of people in the US and UK are sensitive to gluten due to coeliac disease (spelled 'celiac' in American English), which constitutes an abnormal immune reaction to partially digested gliadin. It probably occurs with comparable frequencies among all wheat-eating populations in the world. Wheat allergy and celiac disease are different disorders.
A preservative is a naturally occurring or synthetically produced substance that is added to products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, paints, biological samples, wood, etc. to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes. Preservatives can be divided into two types, depending on their origin. Class I preservatives refers to those preservatives which are naturally occurring, everyday substances. Examples include salt, honey and wood smoke. Class II preservatives refer to preservatives which are synthetically manufactured.
Flavor or flavour is the sensory impression of a food or other substance, and is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The «trigeminal senses», which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat as well as temperature and texture, are also very important to the overall Gestalt of flavor perception. The flavor of the food, as such, can be altered with natural or artificial flavorants, which affect these senses.
Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. Organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides but excludes or strictly limits the use of manufactured (synthetic) fertilizers, pesticides (which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides), plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock antibiotics, food additives, genetically modified organisms, human sewage sludge, and nanomaterials.
Organic agricultural methods are internationally regulated and legally enforced by many nations, based in large part on the standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an international umbrella organization for organic farming organizations established in 1972.
Quorn is a high-protein aliment, produced industrialy, made of fermented mildew. In a patented procedure this low-cholesterol mixture, made of 10 – 15 % proteins and 13 % fats, is enriched with vitamins and minerals and manufactured with egg-white of chicken eggs as binder into a vegetarian meat alternative.
The soybean (US) or soya bean (UK) (Glycine max) is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. The plant is classed as an oilseed rather than a pulse by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Fat-free (defatted) soybean meal is a significant and cheap source of protein for animal feeds and many prepackaged meals; soy vegetable oil is another product of processing the soybean crop. For example, soybean products such as textured vegetable protein (TVP) are ingredients in many meat and dairy analogues. Soybeans produce significantly more protein per acre than most other uses of land.
Traditional non fermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk, and from the latter tofu and tofu skin. Fermented foods include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, natto, and tempeh, among others. The oil is used in many industrial applications. The main producers of soy are the United States (35 %), Brazil (27 %), Argentina (19 %), China (6 %) and India (4 %). The beans contain significant amounts of phytic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and isoflavones.
Tofu also called bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is a component in many East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way. Tofu has a subtle flavor and can be used in savory and sweet dishes. It is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish.
Wheat gluten, also called Seitan, wheat meat, mock duck, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.
Wheat gluten is an alternative to soybean-based meat substitutes such as tofu. Some types of wheat gluten have a chewy or stringy texture that resembles meat more than other substitutes. Wheat gluten is often used instead of meat in Asian, vegetarian, Buddhist, and macrobiotic cuisines. Simulated duck is a common use for wheat gluten.
Tempeh is a traditional soy product that is originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy foods in that it is the only one that did not originate from the Sinosphere cuisine.