Did You Know that Vegan Is Not Vegetarian? Here Is The Difference.
October was Vegetarian Month, and we honored it by detailing some meatless but oh so delicious Nigerian foods. A year before that Funmi hosted a vegetarian party following a vegetarian week and it turned out great. Now, as a foodie, I am always on the lookout for international holidays that are about food. So I was surprised when I found out that even after Vegetarian month, November 1st was International Vegan Day. In fact, I was more confused than surprised, because up until a few Google searches ago, I always thought vegan was simply the shortened form for vegetarian. And I am quite certain that I am not the only one. So I sought to find out what the difference was between the two. Here is what I found.
What’s The Deal with Meat?
Both vegetarians and vegans do not eat meat. This includes beef, pork, mutton, goat meat, chicken, sea food or any other kind of meat. However, some vegetarians include some animal and dairy products in their diets while others don’t. Vegans on the other hand, completely steer clear of all animal and dairy products. They keep off foods produced using any of these products, including eggs, milk, butter and honey.
The Major Difference Is In the Lifestyle
Anyone can decide to go vegetarian for many reasons, some of which we will look at later. But being vegan is considered a lifestyle. It entails more than just avoiding meat. Most vegans keep off any items made from animal products like clothes, leather belts and shoes, cosmetics and household items. Some even swear off any products that have been tested on animals like body creams, make-up and medicine.
Veganism is basically a philosophy which believes that animals should be left to live out their life in peace without being exploited or commercialized. It states that every life is important and should be respected, even animal life.
So, Are All Vegans/Vegetarians The Same?
No. Evidently, there are different types of vegetarians and vegans, depending on the types of foods they eat.
Raw Vegan-stands firm for complete veganism and their diet majorly consists of raw foods. Additionally, any food cooked at above 48˚C is a no-no for them.
Paleo Vegan-Diet excludes dairy products and processed foods. Paleo-vegans, sometimes known as pegans mostly focus on more protein and fats.
Lacto Vegetarian– Consumes dairy products but not eggs.
Ovo Vegetarian– Consumes eggs, but not meat, fish and any dairy product. Ovo vegetarians are also called “eggetarians”.Ovo vegetarians are advised that they should ensure they include enough protein in their diets.
Lacto-ovo Vegetarian-Diet includes dairy products and eggs but excludes meat and fish. A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet mostly comprises of fruits, grains, vegetables, eggs, milk, legumes, nuts, seeds, flowers, herbs, fungi, cheese, butter and yogurt.
Demi-Vegetarian– Does not eat meat. However their diet includes eggs, fish, vegetarian cheese and dairy products.
Semi-Vegetarian– Anyone that is cutting down on their meat intake, but still eats meat when they really want to. This is very common in a lot of people who are trying to live healthy.
Why The Choice To Go Vegan/Vegetarian?
Many people decide to go the vegan way because they believe it is the humane thing to do. Vegetarians may make the choice either for philosophical reasons or due to health reasons like allergies, doctor recommendations and many others. Religion also influences this decision a great deal, as some religions prohibit their members from consuming meat. Some like Catholics, have Lent which is a period that requires them to go vegetarian and to use the money they would use to buy meat help the less fortunate. Sometimes the decision is political and often times, it is simply out of curiosity or preference.
Whatever the reason, going vegan/vegetarian is a healthy choice. In the Bible, Daniel and his friends ate only vegetables and water and at the end of the trial period, they looked much healthier than their counterparts who ate fancy foods.
Are you vegan or vegetarian? We would love to hear your story. If not, would you try out a vegan/vegetarian diet? Let us know in the comment section below, or on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. Stay healthy!