Here you will find a brief overview of different ways of eating. It is certainly not exhaustive but it should be enough to give you an insight into your guests’ health and/or state of mind! Some are for medical reasons and some are choices. I respect them all by being extra careful about cross contamination, by not being careless about small ingredients, and by trying to be subtle about my menu choices so that everyone feels included.
A vegan diet excludes all animal products or by-products, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, animal gelatin, and honey. Individuals following a vegan diet instead consume fruits, vegetables, grains, meat substitutes (including tofu, seitan, and tempeh), seeds, beans, and nuts. There are numerous reasons a person may adopt a vegan diet, including ethical reasons, environmental concerns, and health issues. Many vegans are proponents of animal rights and will similarly refrain from using or wearing leather-based products or clothing.
American Vegan: What is Vegan?
A vegetarian diet excludes meat and poultry products, but there is a wide range of variety in the degree of restriction. Common forms of vegetarianism include lacto-ovo-vegetarianism, lacto-vegetarianism, and pescatarianism. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians abstain from meat but consume eggs and dairy products, lacto-vegetarians abstain from all meats and eggs but consume dairy products, and pescatarians consume fish products. An individual may choose to adopt a vegetarian diet for health reasons, ethics, environmental concerns, religious or spiritual beliefs, or taste preferences.
Brown University Health Promotion: Being a Vegetarian
A gluten-free diet may be adopted to treat coeliac disease, a disease in which consumption of gluten leads to inflammation in the small intestines. Other individuals may not have coeliac disease, but choose to adopt a gluten-diet due to gluten sensitivity or healthy benefits. If an individual who has coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity consumes gluten, he or she may feel ill or experience gastrointestinal distress.
Individuals adhering to a gluten-free diet avoid foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. As a result, a gluten-free diet excludes foods containing these ingredients, such as wheat-based bread, pasta, pizza, cakes, and even beer. Other foods may be unlikely sources of gluten, such as soy sauce, salad dressings, broths, and seasonings. As a result, if you are preparing food for someone who avoids gluten, be careful of cross-contamination with gluten-containing foods. In addition, be sure to check the label for an indication that the product is gluten-free.
Mayo Clinic: Gluten-free diet.
A dairy free diet excludes all products that contain milk. A dairy free diet may be adopted due to ethical concerns, taste preferences, or health reasons. Some may adhere to a dairy free diet due to an allergy to milk proteins, such as album, casein, or whey, that causes an allergic reaction. And still others may avoid milk due to lactose intolerance, a condition characterized by gastrointestinal distress due to an inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk. Individuals adhering to a dairy free diet avoid known milk products such as butter, yogurt, and ice cream, as well as products containing smaller amounts of dairy like certain sauces or desserts. By reading the food label, you can learn if the food product is dairy free.
GoodFood: Spotlight on… dairy-free
The paleo diet is also referred to the “Caveman Diet” or the “Hunter-Gatherer Diet.” Proponents of the paleo diet posit that humans evolved to eat the food products available to our ancestors and that we have not adapted to consume many of today’s current and processed food products. Therefore, individuals adhering to this diet aim to eat like humans from the Paleolithic era and avoid processed foods.
The paleo diet excludes grains, dairy, beans, sugar, and salt. Instead, the diet focuses around foods that can be hunted and gathered, including meats, poultry, vegetables, fruits, fish, and eggs. The paleo diet may help to boost consumption of fruits and vegetables while decreasing sugar and salt intake.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Paleo Diet – Should We Eat Like Our Caveman Ancestors?
An egg-free diet excludes egg products, including whole eggs, egg yolks, egg whites, egg powder, dried eggs, and egg solids. An individual may adhere to an egg-free diet due to allergies, medical conditions, or health concerns. Sticking to an egg-free diet may be difficult because many foods contain eggs, even in trace amounts. Examples of foods containing eggs include custards, baked goods, salad dressings, sauces, mayonnaise, and pastas. To keep your meal egg-free, check the food label for any of the following words that indicates egg products: albumin, globulin, lecithin, lysozyme, ovalbumin, and ovovitellin.
WebMD: Living With an Egg Allergy
An individual may adhere to a kosher diet due to religious affiliation. A kosher diet obeys Jewish dietary law and only includes foods meet certain requirements. For example, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and grains are kosher, but animal products must be prepared for sale in a regulated manner to comply with kosher regulations. In addition, according to Jewish dietary law, meat and milk products (such as ground beef and cheese) must never be consumed with one another. Food labels will indicate whether or not a food product is kosher.
Chabad.org: Kosher Basics.
Kosher Certification: What Does Kosher Mean?