Vegetarian diets have reportedly been around since as early as 700 B.C. Several types exist and individuals may practice them for a variety of reasons, including health, ethics, environmentalism and religion. Vegan diets are a little more recent, but are getting a good amount of press. So, we have to ask….Vegan and Vegetarian – What is the difference?
This article will take a look at both the similarities and differences between these two diets and discusses how they affect your health and the environment.
What Is a Vegetarian Diet?
According to the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian is someone who does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or by-products of animal slaughter.
Vegetarian diets contain various levels of fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. The inclusion of dairy and eggs depends on the type of diet you follow.
The most common types of vegetarians include:
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid all animal flesh, but do consume dairy and egg products.
- Lacto vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid animal flesh and eggs, but do consume dairy products.
- Ovo vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid all animal products except eggs.
- Vegans: Vegetarians who avoid all animal and animal-derived products.
Those who do not eat meat or poultry but do consume fish are considered pescatarians, whereas part-time vegetarians are often referred to as flexitarians.
Although sometimes considered vegetarians, pescatarians and flexitarians do eat animal flesh. Therefore, they do not technically fall under the definition of vegetarianism.
Simply Put: Vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, game, fish and shellfish. Certain types of vegetarians also exclude eggs, dairy or other animal by-products
What exactly is Vegan?
A vegan diet can be viewed as the strictest form of vegetarianism.
Veganism is currently defined by the Vegan Society as a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty as much as possible.
This includes exploitation for food and any other purpose.
Therefore, a vegan diet not only excludes animal flesh, but also dairy, eggs and animal-derived ingredients. These include gelatin, honey, carmine, pepsin, shellac, albumin, whey, casein and some forms of vitamin D3.
Vegetarians and vegans often avoid eating animal products for similar reasons. The largest difference is the degree to which they consider animal products acceptable.
For instance, both vegans and vegetarians may exclude meat from their diets for health or environmental reasons.
However, vegans also choose to avoid all animal by-products because they believe this has the largest impact on their health and the environment.
In terms of ethics, vegetarians are opposed to killing animals for food, but consider it acceptable to consume animal by-products such as milk and eggs, as long as the animals are kept in adequate conditions.
On the other hand, vegans believe that animals have a right to be free from human use, be it for food, clothing, science or entertainment.
Thus, they seek to exclude all animal by-products, regardless of the conditions in which animals are bred or housed.
The desire to avoid all forms of animal exploitation is why vegans choose to forgo dairy and eggs — products that many vegetarians have no problem consuming.
Veganism is a way of eating and living that excludes the exploitation of and cruelty to animals as much as possible.
What are the reasons people choose the Vegan lifestyle?
Vegans generally choose to avoid consuming animal products for one or more of the following reasons:
For Ethical Reasons
Ethical vegans strongly believe that all creatures have the right to life and freedom.
Therefore, they oppose ending a conscious being’s life simply to consume its flesh, drink its milk or wear its skin, especially because alternatives are available.
Ethical vegans are also opposed to the psychological and physical stress that animals may endure as a result of modern farming practices.
For instance, ethical vegans deplore the small pens and cages in which many animals live and often rarely leave between birth and slaughter.
What’s more, many vegans speak openly against farming industry practices, such as the grinding of live male chicks by the egg industry or the force-feeding of ducks and geese for the foie gras industry.
Ethical vegans demonstrate their opposition by spending their money on products that do not contribute to sustaining the animal agriculture industry.
Some choose veganism for its potential health effects.
For example, some vegans are interested in how plant-based diets may reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer or premature death
Others may be encouraged by reports that lowering the amount of animal products you eat may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dying from cancer or heart disease
Some also choose veganism to avoid the side effects linked to the antibiotics and hormones used in modern animal farming.
Finally, studies consistently link vegan diets to lower body weight and body mass index (BMI). Some people may choose these diets to help shed body fat.
Dietary vegans avoid eating meat, eggs and dairy to improve health, prolong life, lose weight or lower disease risk.
For the Environment
People may also choose to avoid meat and other animal products because of the environmental impact of animal agriculture.
A 2010 UN report argues that these products generally require more resources and cause higher greenhouse emissions than plant-based options.
For instance, animal agriculture contributes to 65% of the total amount of nitrous oxide emissions. It also comprises 35–40% of global methane emissions and 9% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide are considered the three principal greenhouse gasses involved in air pollution and climate change.
Furthermore, animal agriculture tends to be a water-intensive process. Between 550 and 5,200 gallons (1,700 and 19,550 litres) of water are needed to produce 1 pound (0.5 kg) of beef
This is up to 43 times more water than is needed to produce the same amount of cereal grain.
Animal agriculture can also lead to deforestation when forested areas are converted into areas intended for grazing or growing animal feed crops. This habitat destruction is thought to contribute to the extinction of various animal species.
Some vegans choose to avoid consuming animal products in an attempt to reduce their environmental footprint
What Are the Different Types of Veganism?
Several types of vegans exist. The most common types are:
- Dietary vegans: This term is often used interchangeably with “plant-based eaters” and refers to those who choose to avoid animal products in their diet but continue to use them in other products, such as clothing and cosmetics.
- Whole-food vegans: Vegans who favor a diet rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Junk-food vegans: Vegans who rely heavily on processed vegan food, such as vegan meats, fries, vegan frozen dinners and vegan desserts, such as Oreo cookies and non-dairy ice cream.
- Raw-food vegans: Vegans who consume raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as foods cooked at temperatures below 118°F (48°C)
- Low-fat, raw-food vegans: Also known as fruitarians, this subset of raw vegans limits high-fat foods, such as nuts, avocados and coconuts and relies mainly on fruit. Sometimes other plants are also eaten in smaller amounts.
The main types of veganism include dietary, whole-food, junk-food, raw-food or low-fat, raw-food vegans
Vegans avoid eating and using anything either animal based or tested on animals. These include:
- any products tested on animal
- vegans avoid foods containing any ingredients that come from animals including albumin, casein, carmine, gelatin, lactic acid, pepsin, shellac, vitamin D3, whey or certain animal-derived E-numbers
Simply Put: Vegans avoid eating meat, chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy and honey, as well as any other products containing ingredients derived from animals.
What exactly can vegans eat?
animal products doesn’t mean you must survive on veggies and tofu alone.
In fact, many common dishes are already vegan or can be adjusted easily.
Some examples include bean burritos, veggie burgers, tomato pizzas, smoothies, nachos with salsa and guacamole, hummus wraps, sandwiches and pasta dishes.
Meat-based entrees are generally swapped for meals containing the following:
- Beans and Legumes – are an inexpensive, healthy and very filling alternative to meat.
- Lentils – Lentils are another tasty replacement for meat and can be used in soups, burgers and pretty much anywhere you would use meat.
- Textured Vegetable protein (TVP) – one that I was raised on..basically it is dehydrated soy that comes in chunks or granules (like ground beef). Once you hydrate it you can make meatloaves, hamburgers, cutlets with this.
- Tofu – a wonderful substitute for meat that if seasoned right can take on the taste of almost anything as it absorbs flavours easily.
- Seitan – this is one to be careful with if you have a gluten intolerance but it can seem similar to chicken, pork or beef depending on how it is cooked.
- Tempeh – a firmer tofu that has more of a grainy texture.
- Gluten-Free Vegan Meat – This is also called V-Meat and comes in different flavours and textures.
- JackFruit – this is a very healthy tropical fruit, but its texture and mixed taste make it a great replacement for meat.
- Mushrooms – mushrooms such as the Umami, cremini or portobello mushroom is a tasty meat alternative.
Dairy products are replaced with things like almond milk, coconut milk, rice milks and there are a lot of Vegan dairy alternatives. Scrambled Tofiu is used in replacement of eggs, whereas raw eggs can be replaced with flaxseeds or chia seeds in various recipes.
Honey can be swapped for plant-based sweeteners, such as molasses or maple or rice syrups. In addition, vegans tend to consume a variety of whole grains, as well as a wide array of fruits and vegetables
There are beginning to be a wider variety of things that Vegans can choose from that fit within the “plant-based” eating; however, when making those choices it is important to consider the higher level of carbohydrates present in this type of diet and always consult a physician or nutritionist before starting this type of eating.
also choose from an ever increasing selection of ready-made vegan products, including vegan meats, fortified plant milks, vegan cheeses and even vegan versions of your favorite desserts.
Simply Put: Vegans eat a variety of foods, all of which are plant based, including beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Vegans are individuals who choose to avoid consuming animal products for either ethical, health or environmental reasons — or a combination of the three.Instead, they eat various different plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and products made from these foods.
So Whether you choose the Vegan or vegetarian lifestyle or you continue to choose the meat-eating lifestyle, there are healthy choices in all…we all make our “diet” lifestyle for different reasons. Either way, it is all about choosing the diet lifestyle that is suits your individual needs.
The Vegan Massage Therapist
Aside from Healthy eating, Vegan and Vegetarian massage therapists now have choices for “VEGAN” massage oils.
Living plant-based is becoming very popular but its hard to find cosmetics and any body products that are truly vegan. Some companies say that their products aren’t tested on animals yet they often use honey or must as part of the ingredients.
If you’re on the hunt for something natural to use on yourself in between your relaxation or deep tissue massage treatments, I’ve found four of 4 vegan massage oils for you. They are:
- Sweet Almond oil – try adding lavender and mandarin essential oils for a wonderful smelling massage oil blend.
- Virgin Coconut Oil
- A blend of grapeseed oil with natural vitamin E
- A blend of Arnica Montana with Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Grapeseed Oil – this is a wonderful, Vegan, Sports Massage Blend
At Custom Bodies Fitness and Massage, we believe in providing our Vegan and Vegetarian clients with products such as oils used during massage that are “vegan” and are created using Cruelty free ingredients.