Online Class: Vegetarianism 101 — How to Be a Vegetarian

This course is perfect for those interested in becoming vegetarian, as well as parents who have a child who has become vegetarian, educators, teachers, and many others! Get started today and learn all about vegetarianism and why it has become so popular around the world.

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Course Description

Are you curious about vegetarianism or thinking about becoming a vegetarian? You are not alone! Millions of people have made the switch to vegetarianism. Why? Because there are so many benefits, including for your health, the planet, and the animals!

This course is jam-packed with information, tips and advice on making the switch. You will learn about the different types of vegetarians, the history of vegetarianism, get an in-depth look at the various reasons why people choose vegetarianism, some famous vegetarians, as well as vegetarian myths and frequently asked questions. You will also learn about animal rights, vegetarian nutritional needs, and how to raise vegetarian kids. In addition to all this, the course will teach you about how to eat as a vegetarian, including dining out and being a guest at someone's house.

This course wraps up with providing information on how to make the transition successfully and where to find more information and support.  This course is perfect for those interested in becoming vegetarian, as well as parents who have a child who has become vegetarian, educators, teachers, and many others! Get started today and learn all about vegetarianism and why it has become so popular around the world. The more you know about vegetarianism, the more successful you will be at making the transition or supporting someone who has!

Course Motivation

From the Beginning

Not only has vegetarianism been around since the beginning of mankind, but it has remained popular worldwide and in America has been steadily becoming more popular over the years. Vegetarianism has moved into the mainstream audience and is touching all corners and classes of people.

For those that live in America it may seem at times that not many people are vegetarian. And that is true of the population in the United States. But worldwide, there are many vegetarians. In India alone, the country (which has over a billion people) has a population of people of whom roughly half are considered to be vegetarian. So that's more vegetarians in one country than make up the entire population of the United States of America! As a vegetarian you may at times feel you are the only one around, but in reality there are many.

Types of Vegetarians

To get started in this course it is important to first know exactly what a vegetarian is. There is a lot of misconception in the general public about what a vegetarian is and what they do and don't eat. Some people mistakenly believe that vegetarians eat fish or chicken, as well as other misconceptions. A vegetarian, also known as an herbivore, is someone that does not eat animal flesh (which consists of meat, fish, chicken, seafood, and products made from their tissue).  

But it goes a little deeper than that, as there are several different types of vegetarian. Here are the types of vegetarian: 

  • Total vegetarian. A total vegetarian, or pure vegetarian, is someone that has a completely plant-based diet. This means that all of their food comes from plant sources. They eat no animals, as well as animal products, such as cheese, animal milk (cow, goat), eggs or their by-products. They only eat food that originates from a plant source.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian. Since lacto means milk and ovo means egg, this is a vegetarian that eats an all plant based diet, but also includes milk and eggs.
  • Lacto vegetarian. This type of vegetarian eats an all plant based diet, but includes animal milk (cow, goat). They would exclude eating eggs.
  • Ovo vegetarian. This type of vegetarian would eat an all plant based diet, but they include eggs. They would exclude milk.
  • Vegans (pronounced vee-gun). A vegan has the same diet as the total vegetarian, but they take it one step further. They also do not use any animal products in their lifestyle and avoid all forms of animal exploitation, wherever possible. This means they would avoid such things as leather, silk, wool, circuses, fishing, etc. A vegan avoids the harming of any animal, whenever given the choice, whether it is for food, entertainment, or another reason.

Although there are various types of vegetarians the one thing that remains consistent is that no type of vegetarian eats any kind of animal. This means that they never eat fish, chicken, pork, seafood, or any other animal body part. Some of the misconception about what a vegetarian is gets started by well-meaning people who try to adopt a vegetarian diet, yet still eat fish or chicken (or some other animal) and continue to call themselves a vegetarian. They really aren't vegetarian, so it sends out mixed messages. But vegetarians do not eat any type of animal. 

The difference in a total vegetarian and a vegan is the lifestyle that goes beyond just what people eat. The person who has a total vegetarian may be following the diet for the multitude of health benefits that it provides, but they may not pay much regard to animal issues beyond how it impacts their health and diet. The person who is a vegan is usually someone who is against all forms of animal exploitation and seeks to avoid harming animals whenever possible. So for vegans it is a lifestyle, rather than just a diet.  

By the Numbers

People, vegetarians and non-vegetarians, often want to know just how many vegetarians there actually are. It would be difficult to figure this number out on a worldwide basis, but there have been polls conducted in various countries that can shed some light on the topic.  

According to recent research conducted by The Vegetarian Resource Group (in conjunction with Harris Interactive), the number of Americans that are considered vegetarian is around 3%. Yet in a survey of the country's youth, they found that around 7% of them said they never eat meat and 8% of adults said they never eat meat. The discrepancy here is between "never eating meat" in the questionnaire and then if they ever eat fish or poultry (chicken, turkey, duck). So apparently there are some people that don't associate things like chicken and turkey with meat. Yet according to the definition of meat, as it relates to animals, is "animal tissue considered especially as food." 

It is safe to say that in America around 3% of the population is actually vegetarian. What that amounts to are over 9 million people who are true vegetarians. Many people believe that vegetarianism with the country's youth is on the rise, as younger people are beginning to adopt the lifestyle. Beyond that, there are millions more in the country that are "vegetarian inclined," meaning that they mostly eat vegetarian foods and just include small amounts of meat here and there in their diet. 

Vegans make up the smallest percentage of vegetarians, representing around 1% of the American population. Most vegetarians fall into the lacto-ovo varieties. Throughout the world, countries vary by how many vegetarians they have. Some have many vegetarians, such as India, while other countries have few, such as Eastern Europe.

Making the Decision

You may be asking yourself just why it is that so many people choose to go vegetarian, especially in a country so prone to not be vegetarian. There are several reasons that people choose vegetarianism. Below provides a brief overview of these reasons, but we will go much more in-depth in this course regarding the various reasons behind each of these decision areas. 

Here are the most common reasons that people choose vegetarianism (in no particular order): 

  • Health. One of the most common reasons that people go vegetarian is because of the health benefits. Some may do it to lower their cholesterol, reverse heart disease, or take advantage of a myriad of other ways that it can improve one's health.
  • Environmental. Because of the vast environmental damage caused by the livestock and fishing industry, some people choose to eat a plant based diet. A plant based diet is better on ones carbon footprint, taking fewer resources and causing less damage to the planet. Basically, it's a more earth friendly way to eat.
  • Animal Rights. Many people choose vegetarianism for ethical reasons, believing that one should not eat take the life of an animal to eat when there are so many other possible food options. Animals rendered for food suffer horribly in the vast majority of cases. These vegetarians believe animals should not be treated as objects, but should be allowed to live their life as nature intended.
  • Religious. There are several religions that promote or subscribe to vegetarianism, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Seventh Day Adventists. Usually the religious principles are out of ethical reasons, striving to treat other creatures with respect and to not do them harm.
  • Other. There are other reasons that people choose vegetarianism, such as world hunger issues. Because producing meat takes a vast amount more of resources, it is an efficient form of feeding the world. For example, it is estimated that it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. You can feed a lot more people in the world with 16 pounds of grain than you can one pound of beef. Essentially, you can feed more people with vegetarian foods than you can non-vegetarian ones. So those who would like to end world hunger would find this a compelling reason to be vegetarian. 

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  • 6 Months to Complete
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Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Lesson 1: Introduction to Vegetarianism

In this lesson you will be introduced to vegetarianism, including the types of vegetarian. 11 Total Points
  • Lesson discussions: Vegetarianism; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: Course Introduction and Goals
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2: The History of Vegetarianism

In this lesson we will take a look at the history of vegetarianism, from pre-historic to modern times. 10 Total Points
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3: Vegetarian Health Benefits

This lesson will focus on the many health benefits of following a vegetarian diet. 10 Total Points
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4: Environmental Benefits of Vegetarianism

This lesson focuses on the environmental aspect of eating meat and vegetarianism. 10 Total Points
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5: Animal Rights Reasons for Vegetarianism

This lesson looks at the animal rights, or cruelty issues, that prompt many people to choose vegetarianism. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson discussions: Reasons for Vegetarianism
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6: Vegetarian Nutritional Needs

Lesson six looks at the various nutritional needs of the vegetarian and how to fulfill them. 10 Total Points
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7: Raising Vegetarian Children

This lesson focuses on raising vegetarian children, from pregnancy to the teenage years. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson discussions: Vegetarian Children
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8: Vegetarian Eating

This lesson covers vegetarian eating, including cooking, shopping, dining out, and more. 10 Total Points
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9: Famous Vegetarians

Lesson nine takes a look at who some of the famous vegetarians are. 10 Total Points
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10: Myths and FAQs

In this lesson we take a look at some vegetarian myths and frequently asked questions. 10 Total Points
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam

Lesson 11: Tips for Transition and Success

This last lesson focuses on ways that you can transition to vegetarianism and be successful. 61 Total Points
  • Lesson discussions: What do you think about this course?; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 Exam
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what is vegetarianism.
  • Describe the history of vegetarianism.
  • Describe vegetarian health benefits.
  • Describe environmental benefits of vegetarianism.
  • Summarize animal rights reasons for vegetarianism.
  • Summarize vegetarian nutritional needs.
  • Describe raising vegetarian children.
  • Summarize vegetarian eating.
  • Summarize famous vegetarians.
  • Identify myths about vegetarians.
  • Summarize tips for transition and success to becoming a vegetarian.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Vegetarianism 101: How to Be a Vegetarian
Course Number: 7550541
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: October 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.6 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "Thank you for offering this class. It was very informative." -- Patricia G.
  • "I thought I knew a lot about vegetarianism, but this course put everything together and presented all the different aspects in an organized, thorough way. I really liked the class! I feel like I had access to a great deal of high quality information." -- Becky T.
  • "Instructor was very helpful and fast to respond. I loved the material presented and will be recommending this course to anyone that would like to transition to vegetarianism." -- Shenea W.