I'd say no. People in those days weren't fortifying foods with B12 and D, because they hadn't even discovered them yet. They would have had no clue that there were nutrients missing from a plant based diet that they could get from animal products. Milk and eggs are not good sources of those nutrients anyway, or they wouldn't have to fortify everything under the sun with B12 and D to keep full on meat eaters from getting sick nowadays. People didn't take drugs and antibiotics and drink chlorinated water, so they probably had sufficient intestinal bacteria to make the B12 they needed. I believe diseases caused by vitamin D deficiency did kill lots of people during the industrial revolution when the need for factory workers grew, and those workers were treated abysmally and never allowed to see the sun.Originally Posted by lucky_charm
Do you think that those early vegans/ strict vegetarians would have gotten sick due to not having enough B12? And possibly D (what with this being in the UK and sunshine being a rare treat rather than something that we are privileged to see on a regular basis)?
Some did. Not all (nomad888's explanation helps explain why). B12 deficiency was noted in some of the first Vegan Society members, many of whom had already abstained from all animal products for years. In the 1970s the vegan intentional community The Farm (of cookbook fame) saw a number of B12 deficiencies, especially in children and women.Do you think that those early vegans/ strict vegetarians would have gotten sick due to not having enough B12?
Originally Posted by nomad888
Vitamin D does not IDEALLY depend on your dietary preference. If you're outside all the time you should be able to synthesize enough of it from the UV exposure. The changing nature of society to be inside most of the time, except when moving from one inside place to a different inside place, combined with our obsession with covering ourselves with sunscreen lotion to protect us from what little sunlight we do get, forces us to unnaturally depend on getting the vitamin D from food and/or vitamin supplements.
In the end it depends on the definition used. "not meat" or "not a product of slaughter" works with the word 'vegetarian' if that is how it is defined, which seems to be how it is used today and how it has been since it entered popular use in 1847. The word 'vegetarian' was used in print a handful of times between 1842 and 1847, and given that all these uses were associated with Alcott House - where eggs were not used - it is likely that anyone familiar with the word at that time would not view eggs as vegetarian.Ultimately, yes they are vegetarian