For those who have a fleeting idea what veganism is, they often end up muddling vegetarianism with it. Well sure both of them don’t have meat, poultry and fish in their diet, but people tend to pay less attention of animal products. Yes, vegans just don’t avoid meat, poultry, fish or any products resulting from animal slaughter like vegetarians but they do away with animal products and products derived from animals such as dairy products. Let’s get a little into the details of these two eating practices and look at how the diets affect the health of people and of the environment.
What is Vegetarianism?
A person who does not consume any meat, fish, game, poultry, shellfish or any by-products of animal slaughter is tagged as a vegetarian. The vegetarians eat fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds to have a wholesome diet. Usually, vegetarians consume dairy along with the above in their diet but it usually depends on the kind of eating habit they follow.
Types of Vegetarianism
The most popular forms of vegetarianism are the following:
Lacto-Ovo vegetarians: These are the kind of vegetarians who do not eat all kinds of animal flesh but have dairy and egg products in their daily diet.
Lacto vegetarians: People who do not consume animal flesh and eggs but do make it a point to have dairy products are the Lacto vegetarians.
Ovo vegetarians: The kind of vegetarians who refrain from eating all kinds of animal products other than eggs is known as ovo vegetarians.
Vegans: This type of vegetarians avoids having all kinds of animal products and products derived from animals.
Pescatarians: People who do not consume poultry or any kind of flesh of animals but eat fish are called pescatarians.
Flexitarians: People who practice part-time vegetarianism are considered to be flexitarians.
Though the last two categories of people are at times considered to be vegetarians, they are technically excluded from the practice of vegetarianism as they do consume animal flesh such as fish and meat.
To sum it all up, a vegetarian diet does not include meat, fish, poultry, and shellfish. As discussed above, certain types of vegetarianism exclude dairy, eggs and other derived products from animals too.
What is Veganism?
Veganism is a recent off-shoot of vegetarianism and is considered to be a stricter approach to vegetarianism. The Vegan Society defines veganism as not just an eating practice but a lifestyle that excludes all kinds of animal cruelty, consumption and exploitation (for food or for any other purposes) and the vegans try and stick to this practice as much as possible. Thus, veganism is much more than just an eating practice but also a way of leading life that excludes any kind of exploitation or dependence on animals for the consumption of food or other products.
Therefore, a vegan diet excludes animal flesh for sure along with other animal products and animal-derived products such as dairy, eggs, gelatin, honey, carmine, pepsin, shellac, albumin, whey, casein and quite a few types of Vitamin D3.
Similarities between Vegetarians and Vegans
Both the vegetarians and vegans exclude animal products from their diets for very similar reasons. Like, for instance, both the vegans and the vegetarians refrain from eating meat in their daily lives mostly out of the consideration of their carbon footprint on the planet and due to their impact on the environment and the environmental resources. A few studies have also suggested that vegetarianism and veganism are also a healthier approach to life. Quite a few numbers of researchers also believe that vegetarians and especially vegans live longer life and have healthier skin and hair due to a disciplined approach to life.
Differences between Vegetarians and Vegans
Though both mainly depend on plant-based products for their diet and for the other products, the primary difference lies on the extent to which both the vegetarians and the vegans accept animal products for consumption in their daily life. For example, although both the vegans and the vegetarians strictly swear by not having an ounce of meat in their diets for either health or environmental safeguarding, vegans entirely cut out on all the animal products and products derived from animals. Vegans believe that animal products leave the largest footprint on the planet and hence, have pledged to reduce their impact on the ecological balance and the environment by choosing to discard all kinds of animal products and by-products. Vegans share the common belief that animals too deserve to live on their own, free from the clutches of human use and exploitation. Animals are generally widely used in the poultry and the food industry, in the clothing and the fashion industry, in scientific experiments and for entertainment and recreational purposes.
On the contrary, ethically, vegetarians do not support the direct slaughter of animals for dietary consumption but do use other animal products or animal by-products such as milk and eggs, if the animals are kept in optimum and adequate conditions. The drive to see all animals free from any kind of exploitation and abuse is what pushes vegans to completely abandon dairy products and animal by-products like eggs. Products such as these are readily used and consumed by vegetarians without such strict consideration. Vegans, in all circumstances, look to eliminate all kinds of products directly or indirectly derived from the animals. They do not pay heed to the thriving or the housing conditions of the animals where they are bred or are kept for husbandry.
As is evident from the above-detailed discussion, vegetarians and vegans do not just differ in their dietary practices but also in their beliefs about the utilization of the animals by humans and their way of life. The usage of animal-derived products and by-products draws the line of differentiation between the vegans and the vegetarians, though the consumption of the essential nutrients is mostly the same for both the vegans and the vegetarians.