Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian
The Animal Connection
For most people, the word "vegetarian" brings to mind a diet or lifestyle without including meat in meals or snacks. While this is correct in the broad sense of the term, there is much more to it than just not eating meat. The Vegetarian Society claims that a vegetarian is one who does not consume products such as meat and poultry. Essentially vegetarians does not eat by-products of slaughter. Different subtypes define various groups of vegetarian diets and lifestyles. Some "semi-vegetarians" eliminate red meat, yet consume poultry, fish, and dairy products. There are those who stop eating any type of meat or poultry, yet still allow seafood in their diets. This is often done as a sort of stepping stone to total vegetarianism. "Pescatarian" is the commonly used term for this type. Then, there are Lacto-vegetarians who do not consume any meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs, but allow products like milk and cheese in their diets.The differences between the types of vegetarianism are not too difficult to learn or distinguish. Yet there is one group that combines the practices of vegetarianism along with other dietary changes as well as whole lifestyle routines that revolve around their beliefs. That is the Vegan group.
In order to see the difference between vegan and vegetarian, it helps to first look at the similarities. Both abstain from eating meat, and as previously noted, many types of vegetarians, and vegans, do not consume poultry or seafood/fish of any sort. Dairy and egg products also are avoided. Both groups need to ensure their nutritional needs are being met, and their diets varied. A balanced selection of foods can help with any health needs. Some natural supplements are also recommended.
After noting these similarities, the difference between
vegan and vegetarian might be harder to discern. That is because one of the
biggest differences between those who practice a vegetarian diet and those who
are vegans is more with the philosophy behind it, and the lifestyle embraced by
vegans. Both groups, of course, love animals. But the difference goes beyond a
love of all living creatures.
Vegans avoid all food and food products with any trace of animal - whether it's the meat, skin, milk, or eggs. If a vegetable were fried in the same pan as an egg, for example, it would not be consumed. Likewise, if the vegetable were breaded with any breading that contained milk or eggs, or was produced in a factory that also manufactures meat products, it would not be eaten.
The list of foods vegans do not eat includes honey, although that has been a bit debatable at times. Gelatin, which comes from bones and other animal tissues, is avoided - along with refined white sugar and certain wines.
Food is not the only consideration for those living a vegan lifestyle. It extends in to the products purchased. No cloth or clothing made from any part of an animal, such as leather, would be bought or worn. Products tested on animals are never used. Products made with any part of an animal are avoided. Natural and organic products are used instead. This includes anything from soap to shampoo to laundry detergent. Make-up can also be found that is not connected to animals in any way. The killing, cruelty, and commercial exploitation of animals is greatly abhorred by those who adopt this way of living. Spiritual, even political, and environmental concerns are the top reasons for adopting a vegan lifestyle that goes beyond an "animal free" diet.
Both vegetarianism and vegan lifestyles are healthy, socially conscious ways to live. The benefits are enormous, not only for the current population, but for future generations as well.