I love this question because the differences are both huge and small. For example, do you sprinkle parmesan cheese over your vegetarian pasta dish?
Or, do you refuse to eat or use any part of an animal or insect, including what it produces, such as bee pollen and honey.
Both vegan and vegetarian lifestyles are a great way to eat healthier, lose weight, and feel awesome.
So what is the difference between them both?
Here’s the short version: a vegan is definitely a vegetarian, but not all vegetarians are vegans.
And then, you’ve probably heard of pescatarians and flexitarians . . .
Defining the Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian
For some people, it’s a lifestyle decision while for others, it’s a health necessity, such as food intolerances, allergies, or inflammatory diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The medical reason is a no-brainer. If you continued to drink milk when you’re lactose intolerant, then you’re more likely to have a serious problem later.
Many people also believe you must eat meat to have enough protein in your diet but, believe it or not, plants also have protein.
So let’s explore why each group chooses what, or what not, to eat, because for sure, one day you’ll be asked!
Vegans exclude animals and insects from their diet, along with their by-products, such as clothing.
They do not eat honey, pollen, eggs, dairy, or meat. As well, they will not consume anything made from an animal such as chicken stock in a soup, or own a leather couch.
Did you know the aperitif Negroni, equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth served on the rocks with an orange peel may still get its red colour from bugs? Campari has over 60 ingredients, blending herbs with tree bark, fruit peel, and juice of the female cochineal insect.
Vegetarians do not eat meat or fish but will eat dairy (milk, yoghurt, butter, cheese) and eggs. Like vegans, they have a plant-based diet, but wear leather shoes, carry a leather purse, and maybe sport a leather jacket.
What About all Those Different Types of Vegetarians?
There are four other categories.
- Pescatarians are vegetarians who also eat fish and other seafood products, dairy and eggs.
- Flexitarians are “almost vegetarian.” They will eat meat, fish, dairy and eggs on occasion.
- Lacto vegetarians are vegetarians who eat dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese and milk. Lacto comes from the Latin word, lact, meaning milk.
- Lacto ovo vegetarians are vegetarians who will eat cheese, eggs, egg-based food, yoghurt, milk, and other dairy products. Ovo comes from the Latin word ovum, meaning egg.
For me, it’s about balance: making wise choices, listening to my body, and respecting the world around us.
What about you?