The abstinence of meat and animal products is the basis of a vegetarian and vegan diet. Both of them do not use poultry and meat products. Vegetarianism is a diet plan while veganism is a strict lifestyle. You might have watched or participated in a debate about plant-based diet plans; vegetarianism and veganism. Currently, these are trendy topics due to a lot of media attention and ongoing debates. Many NGOs concerned with animals’ rights and protection are propagating the idea of veganism on moral grounds.
All of this discussion might have left you double-minded about what is true and what is false. Are you confused about the clear differences between vegetarianism and veganism? Are yogurt, pizza, and brownies prohibited in vegan? Which one is better for humans, animals, and the environment? What are the similarities and health benefits? Do they have any nutrition deficiencies? In the following text, I am going to take you through these common queries to give you a crystal clear idea about vegetarianism and veganism so that you can make the best decision about these two options.
Vegetarianism is an ancient diet:
A vegetarian diet can be date back to 700 B.C as cavemen were naturally vegetarians. It is a mode of dieting which excludes meat, poultry, seafood, or any byproduct of animal slaughter. According to the vegetarian society; a vegetarian does not take meat (Beef, pork, mutton), poultry (like chicken Turkey, duck), fish (crab, seashell, trout), insects, gelatin and animal proteins and fats obtained from animal slaughter. Anyhow they do consume animal products that are not related to their slaughterings like eggs and dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt). The idea behind this thinking is the fact that these products are not produced from the killing of animals so they can be taken ethically. Vegetarian diet, as the name suggests, consists of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, and the byproducts of animals. It is a flexible practice of eating and there are many types of vegetarians including:
Lacto-Ovo-vegetarian: who do not take meat and fish but do consume dairy products and eggs.
ovo-vegetarian: Whose diet is devoid of meat, fish, and dairy products but consume eggs.
Lacto-vegetarian: who are against eating meat, fish, eggs but do consume dairy products like milk.
Pescatarian: These are pseudo-vegetarians whose diet is deficient of meat and poultry but they consume fish and other seafood.
Vegetarianism is all about foods and does not include the restriction of other animal-derived products. Vegetarians don’t mind using items like leather, wool, fur, beeswax, and other animal-derived products.
Veganism is a compassionate philosophy:
It is a stricter form of vegetarianism where are all kinds of animal products and by-products are prohibited. It is a way of living with the aim of not using any product that can harm animals in any way. The Vegan Society defines it as a lifestyle that excludes all forms of animal-derived products for food, clothing, or any other purpose. They do not eat meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, honey, and any kind of animal proteins like gelatin, casein, albumin, and shellac.
Veganism is not limited to diet and they also avoid all kinds of routine products that can involve the killing of animals like leather, wool, silk, and cosmetics. This lifestyle is adopted based on ethical and political reasons. Using animals for human products is deemed as a fundamental lack of respect for basic life and open exploitation of nature.
Health aspects of vegetarian and vegan foods:
Vegetarian and vegan diet plans are generally very healthy due to their low cholesterol levels and rich amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and plant-based nutrients. Since they are low in saturated fats and rich in fiber; these are ideal foods for weight loss. Weight loss is one of the major reasons for the popularity of vegetarian and vegan diet plans.
Studies have shown that they are very effective in reducing BMI and managing many serious disorders like morbid obesity, type2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, high blood pressure, and food allergies. If you want to achieve low cholesterol levels, better sugar control, improved blood pressure, and reduced inflammation; go for vegetarian or vegan foods. Both vegetarianism and veganism are suitable for all age groups if understood clearly and practiced wisely. Anyhow, some nutrients are deficient in vegetarian/vegan diets like Iron, zinc, calcium, and Vitamin D. it is recommended to take B12, Calcium and Mega 3 fatty acid as supplements to make up for their deficiency.
In a nutshell, both vegetarianism and veganism include the exclusion of animal products for similar reasons with different levels of extent. They can improve beneficial for us, our environment, the animals, and nature if practiced wisely. We can achieve optimum levels of health without posing any harm to animals or Mother Nature.