By: Marisa, Contributing Writer
This article explains the differences between a vegan and a vegetarian, the different varieties of food they eat, and types of vegetarians and vegans.
Why would someone make the dietary change of becoming vegan or vegetarian?
There are many reasons why an individual may choose to become vegan or vegetarian. Some people do it to approve their health by losing weight, clearing their skin, and lowering blood pressure. Individuals may choose to become vegan due to a dislike of meat or dairy products. Some people are allergic to certain meats and animal products, which guides them to a more plant-based diet. Also, many individuals are passionate about animal rights and choose to avoid the slaughtering of animals. They may also choose to avoid dairy products and use cruelty-free products and products free of animal ingredients. Individuals who are passionate about the environment may choose to avoid animal products, as animals emit lots of greenhouse gases and require vast amounts of food to raise. Creating meat and dairy products use a lot of water, causing an environmentalist to avoid a meat-based diet (though it's important to note that not all vegan diets are necessarily better for the environment than a standard diet).
What is a Vegan?
In short terms, a vegan is an individual who doesn’t eat or use any animal products. They do not eat meat, dairy, and eggs, or wear leather.
What do Vegans eat?
Most vegans get their nutrients from grains, beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Some foods that are common for vegans are tofu, soy-milk, beans, fruits, and nutritional yeast. A few examples of what vegans eat are black beans, tofu, avocados, tomatoes, corn, strawberries, bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, and more! As you can see, vegans just don’t eat lettuce for their meals and get nutrients from many plant-based sources.
Did you know there are vegan-friendly ice creams, cheeses, non-dairy yogurt? Companies such as So-Delicious and Diaya create vegan alternative options for your typically non-vegan foods. Ben and Jerry’s even makes vegan ice cream! How cool is that?
Different types of Vegans?
A raw vegan is a person who avoids processed foods and doesn't eat food heated above 115oF. People claim that a raw vegan diet includes weight loss, added energy, clearer skin, better digestion, and deeper sleep. In a raw vegan diet, someone eats nuts, fruits, vegetables, sprouts, fresh herbs, and seaweeds.
An ethical vegan does not eat animals or use animal-based products. Vegans understand they can eat foods that provide a healthy life without hurting an animal. Ethical vegans choose to avoid fashion and cosmetics with animal ingredients or tested on animals.
Individuals who follow a plant-based diet tend to be more concerned about their health. They avoid meat and dairy and try to avoid saturated fats. Individuals who eat a plant-based diet try and follow clean eating. Although vegan diets are good for managing cholesterol and saturated fat levels, they tend to put people at risk for anemia and other key vitamin & mineral deficiencies.
FUN FACT: in some religions, such as Orthodox Christianity, they avoid eating animal products and meats for long periods during the year,
Individuals who follow a High Carb Low Fat eat huge quantities of carbs in the form of fruits, vegetables, grains, and as little fat as possible. Some choose to eat carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables, while some eat a lot of potatoes and rice. Avocados, seeds, and nuts are still eaten but in much smaller quantities.
What is a vegetarian?
A vegetarian avoids most animal products and meat but doesn’t avoid all animal products. Most vegetarians avoid meat, fish, gelatin, and animal stock. An individual could be a vegetarian because of a dietary lifestyle, a love for animals, or a dislike of meat.
What foods does a vegetarian eat?
Each group of vegetarians chooses to eat and avoid certain groups of food. However, most vegetarians avoid meat, fish, gelatin, and animal stock. Most vegetarians consume nuts, fruits, vegetables, and seeds.
Like Vegans, Vegetarians consume meat and dairy alternatives from brands like So-delicious, Diaya, Silk, Earth Balance, and Gardien. Many alternatives to non-vegan/vegetarian foods can be found. There are even vegetarian-friendly chicken tenders! It’s crazy how much meat, dairy, and egg alternatives are available, and it allows many people to have a diverse diet while avoiding ingredients that they don’t want to eat.
Different types of Vegetarians?
There are many different types of vegetarians. Each group of vegetarians chooses to consume certain food groups and avoid others.
A flexitarian or semi-vegetarian is an individual who follows a vegetarian diet but occasionally will eat meat.
A pescatarian is an individual who avoids eating all meat and poultry recipes fish. Usually, people who adopt this diet do this for their health or a small step before choosing to be entirely vegetarian.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians don’t eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, selfish or animal flesh. However, they do eat egg and dairy products.
Lacto-vegetarians are individuals that don't eat eggs but still consume dairy products. They also avoid meat such as fish, beef, chicken, and pork.
An ovo-vegetarian refers to people who don’t eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs.