The Difference Between A Vegan And A Vegetarian

With most of us wanting to switch over to vegetarianism, the latest trend is the vegan concept. So, is vegan and a vegetarian the same thing? If not, what is the difference between vegan and vegetarian?

Millions of people all over the globe are adopting not merely a vegetarian diet but also a vegan lifestyle. Most of us are familiar with the vegetarian diet, but there’s more to vegans than just a vegetarian diet.

Many vegans feel that vegetarianism alone is not enough. They are irritated by the fact that vegetarians continue to consume eggs and dairy. They argue that vegetarians who protest against killing of animals for meat must also realize that the dairy industry is equally or even more horrendous than the meat industry.

Dairy cows are killed when not useful and are exploited mercilessly throughout their lives, whereas animals killed for meat only suffer for a short time. So, let’s check out the differences between being a vegan and a vegetarian.

What is a Vegetarian?

A vegetarian lifestyle consists of a diet that does not include meat or any other food made from living or dead animals.

  • A vegetarian diet consists of grains and pulses; legumes; nuts; seeds; vegetables; fruits; dairy products and so on.
  • A vegetarian diet normally shuns meat and fish, but some might consume eggs.
  • Lacto ovo vegetarians include milk and eggs in their diet
  • Ovo vegetarians consume only eggs as a dairy product, whereas others consume milk, yogurt, cream and the like but avoid eggs.
  • Demi vegetarians consume dairy products and eggs as well as fish, but avoid meat.
  • A semi vegetarian eats meat, but controls the quantity of intake or the frequency.

What is a Vegan?

Vegetarianism has existed since a long time, but Vegan is a rather new concept, which has been receiving a lot of attention lately. The term was coined by a group of vegetarians who separated from the Leicester Vegetarian society and formed a Vegan society.

  • As far as a vegan diet is concerned, vegans do not eat dairy products, eggs and any other produce that originates from animals, such as honey, yogurt and cheese.
  • In addition, they avoid all meat, just like regular vegetarians.
  • Veganism is more a way of living, rather than a way of eating.
  • A vegan avoids all kinds of animal exploitation or cruelty to animals.
  • While discussing vegan and vegetarian difference, vegans avoid using animal food as well as clothing or other accessories prepared using animal skin and bones.
  • Many ethical vegans spend money buying products that are not used in the animal agriculture industry. They put their ethics in the forefront. They love animals and care for them.
  • Raw vegans will not eat any by product of animals, such as milk or cheese, which is cooked beyond 115 degree F, as it loses all the enzymes and nutrients.

Note: Why go Vegan? Check out these top reasons for going vegan!

vegan and vegetarian difference

Even the reasons for being a vegetarian or opting to go one step ahead and become a vegan, are slightly different!

Reasons for Vegetarianism

  • Some opt for a vegetarian diet because it reduces the risk of several killer diseases like heart problems, cancer and the like.
  • Some believe it helps you lose weight.
  • Others believe that meat and other animal food contain pesticides, antibiotics and other toxins present in the fatty flesh, along with viruses, bacteria, worms and other parasites.
  • Others opt for vegetarianism as they feel they are doing their bit to reduce global warming.
  • To some others, it is a religious or social norm to be a vegetarian.
  • For some, a vegetarian diet is just cheaper than buying meat!

Reasons for Veganism

People choose to be vegans for several reasons.

  • Due to ethical reasons. Vegans firmly believe that all creatures on earth have the right to life and to freedom.
  • They choose this way of life, as there are plenty of alternatives available to humans.
  • Vegans are against the stress and cruelty that animals are subjected to due to recent trends in farming practises.

Note: This includes grinding of male chicks, forcibly over feeding ducks/geese for foie gras, etc.

vegan vs vegetarian

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  • Some choose a vegan way of life, as it has many healthy benefits. For instance, plant and vegetable based diet is less likely to lead to heart problems, cancer, premature death, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and so on.
  • Antibiotics, hormones etc. are used in latest farming trends, and vegans wish to avoid their side effects.
  • There are many studies showing that vegan diets can help with obesity and reduce body weight.
  • Vegans feel that production of meat etc. impact the environment negatively, use up more resources and increase greenhouse emissions.

Note: Check out the vegan vs vegetarian health benefits.

Wrap Up

So you might have noticed that there is a lot of similarity between vegetarians and vegans, as they both shun meat and animal flesh. However, Vegans are vegetarians and a lot more than that as well.

If you’re wondering about vegetarian vs vegan which is healthier? well, each group claims that theirs is the healthier way of living.

  • While considering a vegan vs vegetarian, both the diets have low levels of saturated fats.
  • A vegetarian diet that includes fish and eggs could be considered good, as you get the benefits of calcium and proteins. However, you might have to supplement your food with vitamin B12 and iron, but generally speaking, there are many professional athletes who are vegetarian and remain healthy and strong.
  • However, a 100% vegan diet will not be able to offer adequate nutrition. You will have to supplement your diet with fortified foods, as vegan diet is lacking in enough calcium, iron and, most importantly, omega 3 fatty acids. These are available in plant food but only in small quantities.

No one diet can be called better than the other. If you are considering becoming vegetarian, it all depends on the way you plan meals. If you’re able to get all the necessary nutrients through food and supplements, you can remain healthy and strong! So, hope this helps you make a choice?

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