Most people are familiar with the term “vegetarian” and know what it stands for.
More recently, vegan or veganism has become more popular which might need some more detailed explanation for some people, especially in regards to the specific differences between vegan and vegetarian.
Are they similar or completely different?
Here is what you have to know:
First, let’s talk about what a vegetarian diet is. Basically, a vegetarian is someone who does not consume animal flesh, which includes meat, poultry, seafood and wild game.
There are different types of vegetarians, however. The most common types of vegetarians include:
Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Those who avoid all animal flesh, but do include dairy and egg products in their diet.
Lacto vegetarians: Those who avoid animal flesh and eggs, but do consume dairy products.
Ovo vegetarians: Those who avoid all animal products except eggs.
And then there are people who do not consume meat or poultry but do eat fish. They are called pescatarians are some regard themselves as vegetarians even though they don’t technically qualify under the definition of vegetarianism.
What about vegans?
Vegans go one step further and not only exclude animal flesh from their diet, but also dairy, eggs and animal-derived ingredients. The reasons for becoming a vegan are many and can include moral, environment and/or health reasons.
In this sense vegans are more strict than vegetarians. For example, vegans and vegetarians will not consume meat, but vegans often also choose to avoid all animal products which can also include leather and fur.
When we look at the two diets from a nutritional standpoint they both tend to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol, while being high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. This is due to the high intake of quality carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Add to this nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil, which are all staples for both vegans and vegetarians and you have a diet that can be extremely nutrient-dense while being fairly low in calories.
The exclusion of meat and other animal products does require certain planning, however, as it raises the risk of nutrient deficiencies especially iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12.
But as I explain in my other videos such deficiencies can be prevented easily either through smart meal planning or supplementation.