Vegetarian and Vegan Healthy Eating: What’s the Difference?

Vegetarian and vegan diets are thought to be healthier than an omnivorous diet.

To consume meat – or not to consume meat…

Today, this is one of the most common questions between many people. The negative effect of animal foods on well-being, the damage related to animal foods and the environs, religious beliefs, and the desire to respect and protect animals are some of the most common reasons for the increase in the number of people eating a vegetarian diet. Many people express an interest in eating vegetarian and vegan diets but don’t do so because they are not really sure of how to do it or aren’t ready to eliminate meat. Luckily, there are lots of great resources and options available to help.

The main key to making a vegetarian diet work for you is to understand which nutrients you are missing from the food that you aren’t consuming and to learn how to balance the meals excluding these foods.

Vegetarian and Vegan

Vegetarian and Vegan Diet: What is a Vegetarian & What is a Vegan?

 About Vegetarian

A vegetarian doesn’t eat meat for whatever reason he chooses – animal protection, for the environment, or his health. A Lacto-ovo vegetarian is a person who does include dairy and eggs into their diet.

In order to be considered a vegetarian, you should not consume the meat of any kind. The typical vegetarian way of eating is usually called a meatless or meat-free diet. A pescovegetarian is each person that doesn’t eat meat; a pollo-vegetarian is a person who consumes fish; a flexitarian is someone who eats a vegetarian diet occasionally. None of these specific groups are considered vegetarians.

About Vegan

One of the main differences between a vegetarian and vegan is in not just what they eat but in what they don’t eat. A vegan doesn’t eat anything to do with animals that include poultry, fish, meat, eggs, dairy, gelatin, or honey. Vegan’s diet consists solely of grains, seeds, nuts, beans, vegetables, and fruits. It might appear that this kind of eating is a far cry from a typical American diet, but it’s much more than just consuming a salad. There are various delicious meals that a vegan could enjoy.

What Is the Difference Between Vegetarian and Vegan Diet? 

The main difference between being a vegetarian and being a vegan is that being vegetarian is generally limited to what an individual eats while being a vegan is considered as a lifestyle. So, a vegan doesn’t consume meat and they don’t have anything to do with animal products. Moreover, a vegan doesn’t have clothes of any kind, cosmetics, or household items that have anything to do with animals. There are many vegans who say that they first began as vegetarians and gradually migrate to eradicating anything to do something with animals.

Also, there are many people who become vegans because of their moral or political issues (ethical vegans) and others embrace it because of health problems. A vegan has very strong opinions that animals weren’t put on the Earth to be commercialized and taken advantage of for the good of people.

On the other hand, vegetarians may start this sort of diet because of health problems; some are worried about the safety of the poultry and meats we get from the grocery stores. Moreover, religious reasons can also be the basis for someone deciding to become a vegetarian. Certain Christian religions require a period of a diet without meat during Lent; some other religions like Hinduism and Jainism are geared towards a vegetarian diet.

 

Vegetarian and Vegan Healthy Eating

To make sure that you have a varied and balanced diet, read our recommendation on healthy eating for every vegetarian and vegan.

In order to have a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes all the nutrients your body needs, ensure you consume a great variety of foods.

Every vegetarian and vegan diet consists of:

  • Pulses
  • Grains
  • Seeds
  • Nuts (more about health benefits of nuts: LINK)
  • Fruits and vegetables

Vegetarian diet (but not vegan diet) also include:

  • Eggs
  • Dairy products

Vegetarian and vegan diet doesn’t contain:  

  • Poultry
  • Meat
  • Fish or shellfish (like lobster or crab)
  • Game
  • Animal by-products (like gelatin)

Additionally, vegans don’t consume dairy products and eggs.

 

Types of Vegetarians

Some people who call themselves vegetarians might eat various combinations of these foods. For instance, some people might drink milk but not eggs while others might consume fish but not meat.

  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarians

Lacto-ovo vegetarians consume both eggs and dairy products. Lacto-ovo is the most common type of vegetarian diet.

  • Lacto vegetarians

Lacto vegetarians don’t eat eggs but eat dairy products.

  • Ovo vegetarians

Ovo vegetarians don’t eat dairy products, but they eat eggs.

 

Vegans

Vegans don’t eat eggs, dairy products, or other animal products.

 

 

Conclusion:

According to a study published by Vegetarian Times, called “Vegetarianism in America”, shows that 7.3 million people, or 3.2% of U.S. adults, or 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian-based diet. About 1 million, or 0.5 %, of those people, are vegans, who eat no animal products at all. Moreover, 22.8 million people, or 10 % of U.S., adults, claim they generally follow a vegetarian-inclined diet.

A vegetarian or vegan diet can be appropriate for everyone, regardless of the age. But, you might need to consider some specific needs at different stages of life – for instance, if you are pregnant.
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