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Vegan Vs Vegetarian

So which do you go for when considering the vegan vs vegetarian diet? What do vegetarians eat that vegans do not? What are the benefits of a vegetarian diet compared to a vegan diet?



Which is the right choice?

I have obviously chosen a vegan diet and lifestyle but I want to be honest here and weigh up both sides of the vegan vs vegetarian dilemma. Some people struggle with which option to go for so let's delve into the good, the bad and the ugly.

First of all let's look at the different types of vegetarians.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF VEGETARIANS & WHAT DO VEGETARIANS EAT?

Vegetarians come in quite a few varieties:

  • Ovo-lacto-vegetarian:

    An ovo-lacto-vegetarian doesn't eat beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but will consume dairy and egg products.

  • Lacto vegetarian:

    A lacto vegetarian diet is a vegetarian diet which includes dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter and cream but not eggs. Cheeses which include animal rennet and yoghurts which contain gelatin are also avoided.

  • Ovo vegetarian:

    Ovo vegetarians eat eggs unlike lacto-ovo vegetarians, no dairy products are permitted.

  • Veganism:

    Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans do not use or consume animal products of any kind.


    Other types of vegetarianism

  • Fruitarianism:

    Fruitarians are people whose diets comprise fruits, nuts and seeds, without animal products, vegetables and grains.

    Some people whose diet is not 100% fruit consider themselves fruitarian if their diet is 75% or more fruit.

  • Raw veganism:

    Raw veganism is a diet which combines veganism and raw foods. It excludes all food of animal origin, and all food cooked above 48 degrees Celsius. A raw vegan diet includes raw vegetables and fruits, nuts and nut pastes, grain and legume sprouts, seeds, plant oils, sea vegetables, herbs, and fresh juices.

  • Dietary veganism:

    True vegans do not use animal products of any kind and dietary vegans restrict their veganism to their diet.



  • As you can see, there are quite a few different types of vegetarians. Some of the dietary changes may seem subtle but they are very important to the person on the diet. Some people are allergic to dairy products and it could be dangerous for them to eat cheese/milk or eggs for example. Other people choose their diets for ethical reasons which are just as important.

    So vegans vs vegetarians? What's it all about?


    VEGAN VS VEGETARIAN - HEALTH:

    This is an easy one. Any vegetarian diet which contains eggs and dairy produce will also contain bad trans fats and cholesterol.

    List of foods containing cholesterol

    Cholesterol is only found in animal derived foods and the main sources of saturated fats also come from animal derived foods.

    Cholesterol and saturated fats are two major players which add to the gathering fatty deposits which cling to your arteries which can lead to heart attack and stroke. It isn't a good look!!

    I have also met some "vegetarians" over the years who eat fish. Now fish is often seen as a healthy food but actually may not be as healthy as once thought with all the reports on mercury levels in recent times:

    More information.

    For more information on the disadvantages of animal flesh and animal by products, click here.


    VEGAN VS VEGETARIAN - ETHICS:

    This is another easy one. Being a vegetarian is just as bad as being a meat eater when you are considering ethics such as animal welfare and the environment. I know that sounds very dramatic, but I am afraid it's true. I too used to think I was helping to save animals' lives by being a vegetarian, but the facts are clear. What do vegetarians eat? Well we know that some vegetarians eat dairy produce and eggs.

    Dairy animals are of no use to animal agriculture when they stop producing milk and are killed. To keep an animal producing milk, they have to be repeatedly impregnated and the calves are often taken away from them before being fully weaned. The animal that is bred to give us milk and cheese is no more than a dairy machine. They still go to the slaughterhouse and do not live out their natural lifespan.

    Humans eat billions and billions of eggs each year. To supply people with eggs, the animal agriculture industry needs female chicks. The male chicks are often gassed to death or put into mincing machines as they are of no use. The female chicks which are allowed to live, are kept until they can no longer lay eggs and then are killed.

    Further information.

    If you are also concerned about the environment, a vegetarian diet isn't helping to solve the problem. Raising animals for eggs and dairy purposes involves chemicals and toxic waste which pollute the air that we breathe and contaminates our water supply. Animals which are bred purely for their milk and egg produce, contribute - and are a major player - of carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions cause environment pollution and adds to the problem of global warming.

    Aside from that, when these dairy and egg laying animals are of no further use, they go to the slaughterhouse and contribute further to pollution when the bodies have to be disposed of. That is billions of animals every year who are bred purely for the egg and dairy industry. It is important to remember that eggs and milk/cheese etc are not a by-product of the meat industry.

    Further information.

    Millions of people die each year through starvation. The grains that are grown to feed the billions of animals worldwide, could be used to feed these starving people directly. If people do not care about animals or the environment then they should care about innocent children starving to death. I often see celebrities campaigning for an end to world hunger and wonder if they are vegan. I think probably not.

    More information.

    Further information.

    The humane myth.


    VEGAN VS VEGETARIAN - FOOD CHOICE:

    Hmm!!

    Ok you now know the answer to the question "what do vegetarians eat?" and vegetarians that eat eggs just may have the upper hand here when it comes to variety (although I do not find the idea of a chickens period at all inviting. In fact it makes me feel ill but we are all different and need to make our own choices).

    There are a lot of vegan products out there which taste amazing. And by the way, getting better and better. However, there really isn't a vegan version of an egg if you wanted to have, say, a hard boiled egg and soldiers. There just isn't.

    It is easy to find egg replacements for vegan baking purposes so you can still make brilliant cakes and other vegan dessert recipes, but if you are looking for a vegan egg to eat whole or to make a souffle, then you will struggle. There are plenty of vegan alternatives out there which taste great. You can get vegan cream, ice-cream, soya spreads and cheese.

    Actually vegan cheese can be an aquired taste. I love it now but the taste varies from brand to brand and new vegans may struggle with it. Vegan cheese tastes great if you wanted to make a vegan moussaka for example, and you can get a grated "parmezan cheese" which tastes very similar to the animal derived version, but new vegans having a slice of vegan cheese out of the packet may not be impressed. However, if you shop around and try different versions, you are likely to find one that you like.

    So, the only foods I can see that new vegans may struggle with are eggs (for some purposes), and possibly cheese. Vegan ice-cream, cakes, puddings and chocolate taste great.



    In fact, if you see a non vegan recipe you like the look of, chances are, you can "veganise" it. As long as the recipe doesn't call for a lot of eggs, you have loads of vegan ingredients out there you can use in place of the animal derived versions.

    So there you have it. Weigh up the vegan vs vegetarian options for yourself. If you are an ethical kind of person, then vegan is definitely the way to go. Veganism is better for the animals, the environment and world hunger. Vegetarianism contributes to all of these problems.

    If you are interested in your health, you may want to look further into the health benefits of a vegan diet.






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