But what’s The Difference Between Vegan And Vegetarian and what does it really mean to be a vegetarian and a vegan?
People are often a little confused about the differences between a vegan and a vegetarian that, in most cases, these terms are used synonymously and interchangeably. Is vegetarian and vegan the same thing? What’s the difference between a vegan vs vegetarian diet?
To clear up the confusion, this article explains everything you need to know about vegan and vegetarianism. Also, see What’s The Difference Between Vegan And Plant-Based.
Who is a vegetarian?
According to the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian is someone who lives on a diet of plant-based foods and doesn’t eat meat, poultry, and seafood, but their diets may or may not include animal byproducts that do not involve animal slaughter, such as eggs, dairy, and honey.
While this definition is a general description of a vegetarian, there are several types of vegetarianism that people are typically not aware of.
What’s The Difference Between Vegan And Vegetarian
Vegetarians vary in which food they include or exclude in their diet
The most common variations of vegetarians are:
1. Lacto-Ovo vegetarian
These are also referred to as Ovo-Lacto vegetarian.
The word Lacto comes from lactose, a Latin word for milk, while Ovo means egg.
A Lacto-Ovo vegetarian eats plant foods and excludes meat, poultry, and seafood in their diet but includes animal products such as dairy, eggs, and honey.
This is the most common and the most popular form of vegetarianism.
People who choose this diet want to be mainly vegetarian but not all-out vegan.
A Lacto-vegetarian eats a plant-based diet but doesn’t eat meat, poultry, and seafood as well as eggs and any food containing eggs.
However, they consume dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter.
3. Ovo Vegetarian
An Ovo vegetarian eats plant foods but excludes meat, poultry, and seafood as well as dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
They, however, would consume eggs and any food containing eggs.
A vegan is someone who avoids all kinds of animal flesh and all meat byproducts and all animal-derived products regardless of whether it’s a product of animal slaughter or not, such as dairy and eggs. They also don’t consume honey.
Their diet consists wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, and nuts.
This is the most restrictive and strictest form of vegetarianism.
Vegans take vegetarianism a step further by limiting food options and cutting out all animal products.
Veganism is not just about food. It’s also an ethical stance.
Veganism recognizes animal rights, and they exclude practices that constitute the exploitation and cruelty to animals.
Many vegans seek a lifestyle that abstains from animal products. They avoid all things that use animal products such as leather goods, wool, silk, and any cosmetic products that involve animal testing.
So vegan is a type of vegetarian, but not all vegetarians are vegan.
Why do people go vegetarian?
People choose to embrace a vegetarian diet for different reasons, such as
1. Health reasons
Meat is generally known to contribute to different health issues such as the increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Read More.
Besides, animal agriculture today involves the use of hormones that contribute to hormonally related conditions, especially in women, such as breast cancer, fibroids, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
2. Ethical reasons
From a moral perspective, animal cruelty and exploitation for food, or any other reason, is not acceptable for some individuals.
3. Environmental reasons
Animal agriculture contributes to water degradation, gas emissions, acid rain, coral reef degeneration, and deforestation. Read More.
Going vegan or vegetarian means less support to the animal agricultural industry, leading to reduced water and land pollution, reduced global warming, reduced methane/nitrous oxide production, reduced destruction of tropical forests and wildlife habitat.
4. Religious reasons
Some people follow a vegetarian or a vegan diet because of their religious beliefs.
Forms of diets people often confuse as vegetarian.
What of those individuals call themselves vegetarian but eat chicken and fish? Are they vegetarian?
Technically, these people can’t be considered vegetarians because their diet includes animal meat and goes against the core definition of what a vegetarian is.
Other forms that people mistake for vegetarian include:
A Flexitarian is someone who eats a primarily vegetarian diet but may include meat and other animal products occasionally or on a limited basis.
They have almost an entirely plant-based diet but eat all kinds of meat when they feel like it.
This diet offers flexibility for those who like to center their diet on vegetarian-based but are hesitant to give up their meat consumption.
It’s also a practical way for those who want to cut down on their meat intake to improve their health.
A Pescatarian diet is mostly plant-based but includes seafood such as fish as a source of protein.
They may or may not include eggs and dairy in their diet.
This kind of diet is ideal for those who love seafood and don’t want to lose the nutritional benefits of eating them.
A Pollotarian is someone who eats a plant-based diet but restricts their meat consumption to poultry such as chicken and turkey.
Like pescatarians, they may or may not include dairy and eggs in the food they eat.
4. Pesco-pollo vegetarian
Pesco and Pollo are Spanish words for fish and chicken.
A Pesco-Pollo vegetarian is someone whose diet centers on plant foods but eats fish and chicken, but they don’t consume red meat.
Vegans and vegetarians choose not to include meat or meat products in their diet; however, vegetarians can still consume animal byproducts, while vegan completely prohibits animal exploitation for whatever reason.
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