What is a vegan diet? The Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian

The Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian

We have been working on vegan anda bhurji for over eight-nine months. And whenever we have had a trail, where people from media and academia were present, most of them didn’t really know what vegan means. And many of them advised us to put vegetarian on our packaging because Indians don’t relate much with term vegan and in fact get confused whether it contains meat or eggs in any form.

That’s why education on such terms becomes important. Terms like vegan, vegetarian and plant-based are used many times to mean the same things but the fact is that they are considerably different in their meanings.

To understand “The Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian “, first we must define them. 

let’s take a look at what these terms mean and who all come under their purview and who don’t.

Vegetarianism

There are multiple definitions out there in the market as per people’s choice and convenience. There are fish-eating vegetarians, there are egg-eating vegetarians and there are occasional vegetarians.

Here, we would go by the definition of Vegetarian Society.

As per Vegetarian The Vegetarian Society, “a vegetarian is someone who does not eat the products or byproducts of animal slaughter in any form.

What do Vegetarians not consume?

  • Meat, such as mutton, beef, and pork etc
  • Poultry, such as chicken, turkey, and duck
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Insects
  • Rennet, gelatin (capsules containing various medications and drugs are made of up gelatin which is made from by-products of animal slaughter), and other types of animal protein
  • Stock or fats that derive from animal slaughter

What do Vegetarians Consume?

  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Grains and pulses
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Honey

There are different types of vegetarians and term in colloquial usage. We will also discuss these terms for the reader.

  1. Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid all kinds of animal flesh, but consume dairy and egg products. So is an  egg veg?
  2. Lacto vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid animal flesh and eggs, but consume dairy products.
  3. Ovo vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid all animal products except eggs. Which raises the question egg is veg or non veg?

There are two other terms in popular usage are:

Pescatarians:Those who do not eat meat or poultry but do consume fish are considered pescatarians,

Flexitarians: People who are generally vegetarians but sometimes consume eggs, meat and dairy etc. More like Part-time vegetarians.

Some people consider pescatarians and flexitarians as vegetarians. But since they consume animal flesh they do not technically fall under the definition of Vegetarians as prescribed the Vegetarian Society.

What is Veganism? 

Veganism can be regarded as a subset of a vegetarian and strictest form of vegetarianism.

As per The Vegan Society,

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

Leading a vegan life means to exclude all animal-based food from your diet (Meat, Dairy, Eggs, Honey, Fish and insects etc), as well as avoiding using all animal-derived materials, products tested on animals and places that use animals for entertainment.

Vegans do not support animal torture in any form. And hence, they don’t just avoid animal foods and products like leather but they also do not visit aquariums, horse races, circus and zoos. The avoid mode of transportation that use animals.

Why do people turn Vegan?

Vegetarians and Vegan share the belief of not killing animals for the sake of food. But vegans go the extra mile for the welfare of animals and for creating a more just world. They try to find vegan replacements of their favourite soap, shampoo, face wash, and almost every other thing that they use in their life.

Vegans feel animals have the right to roam around freely in their natural habitat. And the milk, honey and rest of the edible content that they produce, they produce for themselves and hence humans have no right to hijack milk, honey and their offsprings as well for the sake of food or for the sake of convenience.

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I am not a vegan. You can call me a vegetarian. I do not consume meat, eggs, honey but sometimes consume diary.

But I would not hesitate in saying that a vegan diet is the most ethical diet healthiest as well.

Giving up your taste, your comfort, and your entertainment for the welfare of the creatures who can not fight for their own welfare does require a strong sense of ethics. Taking a stand for those who can not take a stand for themselves needs a lot of courage, conviction and character and that’s what people strictly following vegan philosophy do and that is what I admire about them.

I hope you must have understood the meanings, differences and similarities between the philosophy and lifestyle of veganism and vegetarianism. 🙂

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