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Do Vegetarians Eat Eggs? The answer is really weird!

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Simplest answer: it usually depends where you are. Most vegetarians in the US, UK, Europe and Australia will eat eggs. In India, many will not.

To find out why, read on!

A dark plate with rice wafers, fresh pieces of cucumber, avocado and slices of boiled eggs is on the light surface. Near it, there are two pieces of rice wafers and linen fabric | Hurry The Food Up

Are eggs vegetarian?

Eggs have long been a topic of debate among vegetarians.

In fact, on this very site we have had HUNDREDS of comments (and bickering) between readers and so I would like to clear the argument up.

See for yourself:

Vegetarians don’t eat eggs. Infact animals in any form.

– Datta

Hi there,
Eggs in a dish is not vegetarian.

– Devika

Eggs are not vegetarian they are chicken embroys that arent
fully devolped.

– Carrots

Carrots- eggs are not “embryos that aren’t fully developed”.
Egg laying hens aren’t exposed to roosters, therefore the
eggs produced are not fertilized and will never become an
animal. Just like human females have to pass the eggs that
aren’t fertilized, so do hens.

– Brigid

Hey, some good ideas but not sure why eggs are considered
vegetarian they don’t grow on trees…

– Carol

Nice ideas. But egg is not vegetarian! Why do you guy always use egg
in vegetarian meals are beyond me. Would be nice to see some
Ideas without egg.

– Rachael

This is misguiding and clearly author have no idea what vegetarian
means. Highly dissapointed. For your knowledge Vegetarian doesn’t
eat eggs but eats dairy products.
Eggetarian doesn’t eat meat but eggs and dairy products.
Vegan doesn’t eat meat or dairy.

– Shrey J

In what world are eggs vegetarian? Where do I find these eggs that
seem to be growing on trees?

– Poul Hansen

I dont like this sight vegetarian means you dont eat animal products
that inclueds egg.

– I came here for breakfast idea

Eggs are not vegetarian.
You can do your ovo lacto all you want, it’s a biological creation – not
organic. Even if you don’t care about animal cruelty, eggs are not
vegetarian by any means.

– Kay

No eggs are not vegetarian if someone just eats eggs and
continues a veg diet he/she is an eggetarian and this meal is
probably for them vegetarians are the ones who just drinks
milk from the cow and milk products

– NOTNEEDED

Since when are eggs a vegetable?

– Flergen

Vegetarian does not include egg buddy!

– Laksh

Vegeterians dont eat meat and fish…..vegans dont eat any
animal products like eggs and cheese. thats the difference.

– Jannaet

While some vegetarians do include eggs in their diet, others choose to abstain from consuming them.

The decision largely depends on cultural and personal beliefs, and it often comes down to the ‘Western World’ version of vegetarianism and the Indian/Hindi version. I personally do eat eggs and I am a vegetarian.

West vs East

Different size eggs from different birds lie on the dark wooden surface | Hurry The Food Up

The exclusion of eggs in India is usually due to religious and ethical reasons. In Hinduism, for example, eggs are often considered non-vegetarian because they are seen as a form of potential life.

However, even that is pretty well debated as you can see on this Quora post on eggs.

Many of the anti-egg readers on our site call themselves ‘pure’ vegetarian (as opposed to ‘regular’ vegetarian) and this difference is what sets them apart from egg-eaters.

This type of vegetarian is also often known as ‘lacto-vegetarian’. That means they dairy products but no eggs.

The counter argument in favour of eating eggs from Americans, Brits, Europeans and Australians is that eggs bought for consumption have not been and never will be fertilized.

That means they can never become an animal, and so they will not become animal flesh (meat).

This type of vegetarian is called an ‘ovo-vegetarian’. There are many more types of vegetarian (I didn’t say it was easy) and I’ll come to those in a moment.

So is an egg really vegetarian?

I personally think it is fine to eat eggs as a vegetarian. My reasoning is that no animal will die to become my food.

However, animal welfare is also very important to me, so I will only eat eggs when I know they come from sources that meet my expectations. I do not eat eggs from caged hens or from battery farms.

Two plastic boxes with different fresh vegetables, rice, and eggs are on the light wooden surface. An apple, a pear, and a kitchen towel lie near it | Hurry The Food Up

Nutritional considerations

Eggs are a rich source of quality protein (6-7 grams of protein per large egg), vitamins, and minerals such as vitamin B12 and iron and they health benefits can be great. They also contain all essential amino acids.

They can provide essential nutrients that might be lacking in a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, fish or dairy.

Overall eggs are a well-balanced source of both macronutrients and micronutrients for human consumption.

Eggs can also be excellent for weight loss.

What about egg health concerns?

If you have (or are at a high risk of) cardiovascular disease or diabetes, the current recommendation is to limit your intake to no more than one egg per day.

Currently, there isn’t an established “recommended upper limit” for egg consumption any more, and there is insufficient data to be used as guidance beyond one egg per day—positively or negatively.

I recommend exercising caution and keeping it to 2-3 eggs per day for safety.

Why don’t vegans eat eggs?

Vegans (or those on a vegan diet) eat no animal products at all. This goes for meat, cheese, milk, fish, honey and yep, you guessed it, egg.

Those following a strict vegan lifestyle will also abstain from using animal products in general – for example leather or wool are also off-limits.

So which vegetarians really eat eggs then?

Ok, ok. Time to break it down and look at the different forms of vegetarianism.

Here we go:

Infographic data about whether vegetarians eat Eggs | Hurry The Food Up

Eggitarian is a slang word for a vegetarian who eats fish (so either an ovo or ovo-lacto vegetarian.

Veggan is a slang term for a vegan who has decided to eat eggs, usually for their nutritional value.

The bottom line

Look, it’s really up to you if you eat eggs or not. They are not and never will be a live animal.

However, if animal welfare is important to you (and personally I think we should all be mindful of other’s lives) then this could be a good reason to skip eggs, or at least do your homework on where you’re sourcing them from.

Eggs also have an environmental impact – though less than meat products, so that’s something to be aware of. Although plant foods generally have the least impact, it is of course up to individual to decide what works best for them.

The dark plate with halves of boiled eggs lies on the sacking on the wooden surface | Hurry The Food Up

How to eat eggs

Right, if you’re still reading and have decided to eat eggs – then here are some awesome ways to do it!

I’ve been experimenting with egg-based recipes for as long as I remember (in fact I think an omelette was the first thing I ever cooked).

The World’s Simplest Pancakes

Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

Savory Egg Muffins

Keto (cheese and egg) Pie

High-protein Egg Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Comments

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3 comments
  1. Dave, you’re absolutely right, dietary choices are so individual but what we’ve come to love and what we’d like to see more of are recipes that cater (pun unintended) to those varying choices. So, personally, as a lacto-vegetarian, please give us more eggless recipes so we can hurry our protein up without having to put all our eggs into one basket(hmm … The same ‘pun unintended’ excuse wouldn’t fly this time, I reckon)

  2. Years ago before vegetarianism became popular my nephew informed us before Christmas ( I was catering that year) , that he and his wife were now vegetarian and I said ok Chris so what do you want me to serve for you and Anne-Marie, his reply was that the simplest way to understand it was vegetarians don’t eat anything with a face. Therefore eggs are ok, chickens aren’t, dairy yes, beef no etc. that has stood me in good stead whenever I’ve had to cater for anything as a general rule of thumb. Although as a person that eats a general diet, I must admit I make quite a few vegan and vegetarian dishes and quite often have to stick a label on saying not for meat eaters (Actually I just had laminated labels with big V or little v denoting their ingredients)
    as it annoys me when people that have the choice of every other food on the table gravitate to my meat free, dairy free, egg free dish and leave the others behind. As a family we eat small amounts of meat products as part of a balanced diet as I cook from scratch and don’t like the fake meat in the supermarket, I learnt to cook meat free when my teenage girls went through a save the lambs I can’t eat meat it’s cruel stage and we liked the taste so I keep them in the rotation even though the girls have left home and now are meat eaters.

  3. I don’t think eggs are vegetarian. And many of your breakfast recipes use eggs. Which you had more protein forward breakfast that did not rely on eggs.