Vegan and vegetarian sounds related, right? People who identify with either type of lifestyles also share certain things in life. For instance, both vegans and vegetarians don’t eat meat. Most vegetarians also share vegans’ beliefs that animals shouldn’t be subjected to the cruelty they face before getting slaughtered. But while they share certain things in common, both vegans and vegetarians have their own differences. Read below however to learn everything you need to know as about vegan and vegetarians.
Who eats what?
Vegetarians do not eat poultry, fish and meat. However, most of them don’t shy away from animal products like eggs, dairy products and clothes made from animal products. It is also common to find a partial vegetarian. Some partial vegetarians for instance are referred to as lacto-vegetarians, because they eat dairy products and not any other meat products. Lacto-ovo vegetarians on the other hand eat both eggs and dairy products. There is still a group of vegetarians though who avoid both eggs and dairy products, but instead consume fish related products.
A typical vegan, on the other hand, is a stricter vegetarian. She or he not only does not eat meat, but also avoids all types of animal products, edibles or wearable. As such, a vegan avoids any animal product, including honey or fish oils. When it comes to clothing, vegans don’t wear woolen, leather or perfume processed with animal oils. So what does a vegan eat? Fruits, vegetables, and edible plant products are good sources of food for a vegan.
Differences in Philosophy
For many vegetarians, nutritional concerns, religious or political beliefs are their reasons behind switching to vegetarianism. Vegans however base their decisions on moral and political decisions. For many of them, commercialization of animals and their products is inhumane and unjust by any standards. Besides morals, there are people who are vegetarians due to religious beliefs. Catholics for instance are discouraged from taking meat during lent. Some Japanese and Hindu cultures also encourage vegetarianism. Still, there are people who base their decisions on environmental grounds. Such people believe that switching to vegetarianism is good for the environment.
Benefits of Going Vegan or Vegetarian
Contrary to popular belief, both vegans and vegetarians are healthy people. In fact, studies show that these people are as healthy as their meat-eating counterparts. Vegan diets are especially praised because they have no allergens or products that may cause obesity. This is not the case for vegetarians though, as dairy products and eggs depending on level of consumption can cause increased cholesterol levels and potential attack by heart diseases. According to numerous studies however, both vegans and vegetarians live longer, healthier lives than their meat-eating counterparts.
In one study published on the Wall Street Journal for instance, vegetarian lived longer and experienced fewer heart conditions by up to 19%. The report was without rebuttal however, as many anti-vegans argued that correlation between meat-eating people and more deaths didn’t imply people died because they ate meat. They argued that because vegetarians are generally the affluent people, they probably lived longer because they could exercise; avoid anything that diminished their health and such.
Weakness of a Vegan Diet
The biggest debate between vegans and people who don’t eat meat is about the diet’s overall health benefits. A few studies for instance show that vegans don’t get 100 percent of the nutrients meat eaters get. Legumes for instance, which are the biggest protein sources for a vegan do not contain all amino acids needed in your body. For a child especially, a lack of these amino acids can impact on their growth. Another mineral that misses from a vegan dish is B12. Most vegans therefore opt to B12 supplements to help get the vitamin.
Is Vegetarianism good or Bad for the Environment?
Scientists believe that the world becomes greener with more people switching to vegetarian diets. But if you wonder how this happens; listen carefully. With millions of cattle bred and killed every year to feed human beings, lots of lands are cleared for animal feeds. Despite this though, only 4% of what cattle consumers go towards producing dairy products. That is to say that nearly 96% of what animals consume is released as greenhouse gases like Methane. While not a perfect solution for protecting the environment however, scientists believe than vegetarian plays a role in protecting the environment.
Demographics for Vegetarians
If you are worried that you are the only vegan, you shouldn’t. In fact, studies show that vegetarianism increases in the developed world day by day. One study by Gallup poll for instance shows that about 5% of the American population is currently vegetarians. In the less developed world, there are even more vegetarians; although most of such people are vegan for reasons other than political philosophies.