What’s The Difference Between A Vegan And A Vegetarian?

A true vegan is a person who does not eat or use animal products of any kind. This not only includes honey, eggs, dairy products and meat, it also includes the choice to not use any animal products such as leather and. feathers.

You’ll find that there are many different degrees of the vegetarian diet, but a true vegetarian does not eat animal products. Often they do wear or use products that are made from animals. Some vegetarians eat fish or eggs. Others will eat dairy products. There are as many reasons as there are vegetarians why people decide to give up dairy products, meat, and fish.

There is now terminology which defines different degrees of the vegetarian diet. For example, a pescatarian still eats seafood, a lacto eats dairy products, an ovo eats eggs and a lacto-ovo vegetarian includes both dairy and eggs in their diet. The newest term floating around is a flexitarian which is someone who chooses to be vegetarian or vegan only on certain days. Should you decide to eliminate all animal food products and byproducts completely, you’ll be known as vegan.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why people choose this lifestyle.

Health Concerns Are Often A Major Factor When Choosing A Vegan Or Vegetarian Diet:

Often people choose a vegetarian diet because of concerns over their health. A vegan or vegetarian diet can sometimes be helpful in treating certain diseases and conditions. This diet choice may also be a significant factor in prevention.

A good example of how a vegetarian or vegan diet can be beneficial is this: If you become a vegan, you stop adding cholesterol to your diet because vegetables and fruits don’t contain cholesterol. If a person has high cholesterol and combines exercise with a vegan diet, it can help lower cholesterol.

Saturated fat is added to the diet by eating meat. Meat consumption can cause stress on your kidneys. Semi-vegetarians who consume both eggs and dairy are more likely to improve their cholesterol and overall health than they would by continuing to eat meat. Generally, people who stick to vegan and vegetarian diets reduce their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke caused by excess fat and cholesterol.

Vegan and vegetarian diets have also been known to be beneficial when managing other conditions as well. It may also increase longevity and may help control obesity.

Vegans and vegetarians may experience a lower risk of certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. The vegan and vegetarian diet may also reduce the risk of contracting food borne illnesses such as salmonella and listeria.

The vegan and vegetarian diets generally contain a high fiber content which helps the body eliminate waste and aids in the prevention of constipation. It also reduces the risk of suffering from spastic colon and hemorrhoids.

Vegan and vegetarian diets also help to strengthen bones, boost immunity and increase your strength and stamina.

Vegans and vegetarians are less likely to suffer from diabetes. They also have a reduced risk of gall bladder problems and gallstones. Some people become vegans or vegetarians in an attempt to ward off a full-blown case of diabetes. It has been found that people who are vegans or vegetarians experience fewer health problems than people who eat meat.

Dairy Intolerance And Allergy:

As surprising as it may seem, there isn’t any evidence that humans require milk from cows. There are many delicious alternatives for dairy milk available in the marketplace. Soy, hemp, almond and rice milks are ideal for people with dairy intolerance or allergies. Tofu is made from soybeans. Soy products are available in many delicious options including products such as soy yogurt, vegan butter and soy cheese.

Animal Rights:

Another reason many people become vegans or vegetarians is because they are against the practices of the meat producing industry as well as the common practice of using hormones, antibiotics and other drugs. Animal cruelty is often also a major deciding factor when choosing to become vegan or vegetarian.Certain religions are also an influencing factor as they have guidelines about eating meat. Buddhists are vegetarians. Hindus usually don’t eat meat and never eat beef. As much as 80% of the population of India is vegetarian.

Environmental Factors:

Environmental consciousness is another reason people choose to become vegans and vegetarians. Raising animals requires much more water than raising grains and vegetables. Concerns over deforestation and the extinction of species are other reasons people choose to become vegan or vegetarian.

Raising animals uses natural resources in larger quantities than raising crops of grains and beans. Raising cattle for beef destroys the topsoil,which is not as thick as it once was. Another concern is the run off of pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides used to grow food for cattle leaching into the groundwater and causing contamination.

World Hunger:

The decision to become vegan or vegetarian sometimes comes with the awareness that raising meat costs more than raising grain. Grain used to feed animals destined for slaughter could be used to help alleviate hunger around the world.

There really aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. The path you choose to follow will ultimately be uniquely your own.

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