There are a lot of people who don’t really know the difference between veganism and vegetarianism. I hear opinions from meat eaters all the time, but a lot of their opinions are judgement that is stemmed from a media spawned ignorance. In America you are told from a young age that you must consume animal proteins or you will get sick. This is not true. In fact it’s quite far from the truth. I explain both vegetarianism and veganism and the difference between the two.
Note this post contains affiliate links. Though there are links here that I put in because I just honestly believe in the product and was in no way compensated for sharing.
What is Vegetarian?
Vegetarians don’t eat meat; bison, fish, poultry, pork, cat, dog, or beef. Really anything that is an animal that is slaughtered, and butchered. We also don’t consume gelatin. Fruitarians are vegetarians with the most of their food intake being, you guessed it, fruit.
I’ve excluded from this group people who assume the title vegetarian but still eat fish, and white meat. I am pescatarian because I still consume a small amount of fish and some dairy.
Not all cheese is vegetarian. There are cheeses that are made using the stomach of a slaughtered newborn calf because the enzyme needed to produce the cheeses isn’t in adult cows. I recommend reading this link, it’s definitely interesting if nothing else.
Let’s get technical for a moment, there are a few common types of vegetarian; lacto, ovo, and lacto-ovo. As you may have guessed from the name, lacto vegetarians consume dairy, but no egg. Ovo vegetarians consume egg but no dairy. Lacto-ovos consume dairy and egg. Then we have the subcategory of vegetarian known as vegan.
What is Veganism?
Vegans often use the phrase, “Nothing with a face.” to describe their diet. If it comes from an animal they don’t use it or consume it. I hope one day to have the mental fortitude to call myself a vegan. For now I say veganish.
Vegans consume fruits, vegetables, and grains. If you think they’re missing out, just take a gander at the vegan search on pinterest. They have a variation of almost every non-vegan recipe you can think of. Some of them are excellent, and some of them leave you wishing for just a little cheese.
The biggest thing is that vegans strive to purchase products that are cruelty free, and that don’t have animal ingredients. There are strict vegans who don’t use honey or bee products. I don’t know if I will ever be there because honey is life. Not to mention bees wrap clings are far better for the environment than regular plastic wrap.
Strict vegans don’t eat white sugar because it is refined with bone char. I personally try to get organic sugar because, in order to be organic it can’t be processed with the bone char.
There is a subset of vegans who are “raw vegans”. These people amaze me. They eat food that is raw, meaning it isn’t cooked higher than 118°! I have heard of the raw foodism before, not that I could ever follow a diet like that. It’s definitely worth checking into. One of my favorite vegan youtubers is raw, and that’s where I first heard about it.
What is the difference?
The main difference is that some vegetarians still consume dairy, eggs, and/or honey. Where vegans don’t. That is the only difference. Vegan is a branch of vegetarian. In my opinion it’s the strict older sister of vegetarian.
Within each group of people there are levels of dedication. Some people say they’re vegetarian while continuing to eat fish or poultry. Some people say they are vegan, but still eat honey. It’s about what works for that person and their own belief system.
What About the Health Risks?
The good news is that with supplements you can live a meat and dairy free life. The biggest thing is that you need to be getting enough B-12, calcium, vitamin D, zinc, and iron. Some of these supplements are animal based so make sure you’re researching where you get yours.
READ INGREDIENTS! I cannot stress this enough. Read the labels, make sure that you know what you’re putting in your body. Even if you’re eating meat you should be doing this. If you can’t pronounce it, or don’t know what it is even after a quick google search, it doesn’t belong in the body.
There is a lot of false information pertaining to living a vegan or vegetarian diet. Especially the one that states that you NEED animal proteins, it’s really more about the amino acids. You can make up these amino acids by eating a balanced diet, and making sure you’re covering all of those bases. I will be making a post in the future about how to have a balanced day of eating to get all the nutrients you need from plants.