Vegan vs Vegetarian

What is the difference between vegan vs vegetarian? This article discusses the health, environmental, and ethical reasons for looking at which base resonates with you. 

Vegetarian- Excludes meat as a diet practice.  A vegetarian eats plant-based foods and some or all of the following:  dairy, eggs, honey.  Typically a person chooses a vegetarian diet to be healthier, for weight loss to lower saturated fat in the diet.

Vegan- Excludes all animal products in the diet and is a practice about a compassionate lifestyle. A lot of vegetarians, like myself, will often consider a vegan lifestyle after learning about the cruelty to animals in the food industry.  Vegans seek to exclude the personal use of any animal product for clothing such as leather or wool. They do not condone animal testing. Being vegan is taking a ethical stance on the inhumanetreatment of animals.

Here is an article I encourage you to read on more of the the differences of Plant-based and Vegan diet.

Vegan Recipes

Creating vegan recipes can be easy.  The difference between vegan vs vegetarian typically comes down to eliminating fish, dairy and eggs from your diet. 

Cheese is the one food product that a lot of vegetarians feel they just cannot give it up. Why? It really comes down to two reasons:

  • Cheese is high in fat, one slice is approximately 70% fat according to Dr. Neil Barnard. A food that stays with us a long time and is high in fat takes longer to digest.  Our digestive system is not built to eat the high amounts of fat that is in our standard modern diet and causes our systems to overwork in order to do so. This stresses our system and can lead to various health issues and constipation.
  • Dairy products come from an animal and it is not a food that humans require.  Cheese includes rennet from calves stomach.  Casomorphins also known as caisens which is a hormone that creates an addiction to dairy products.  According to Dr. Jenna Taylor "Addiction to Cheese is Real thanks to Casomorphines, April 25, 2011.  Casomorphins are really meant to calm and attract the baby calves to their moma's milk.  Humans also seem to get addicted to this substance too. 

There are many alternative dairy products on the market that are a good substitute for cheese and dairy, and notably lower in fat.  There are also some great cheese recipes made with nuts that is easy to do and tastes really good!

Eggs are also used in some vegetarian diets.  There has been a lot of research on whether eggs are a great food or not.  The one variable that I considered is the chicken feed which often is soy and corn feed with antibiotics.  You decide if consuming eggs is a healthy choice or not, but do the research rather than the marketing.   

  • There are egg substitutes out there that work very well such as Ener-G egg replacer. This has virtually no taste when added to foods.
  • You can also easily replace eggs in recipes with applesauce, flax seeds, banana and tofu. Just remember, eggs are usually the binding agent in foods so they really are easy to replace.  It  depends on the recipe you are making on which egg replacer you would want to use.

Milk substitutes abound! There are numerous nut milks such as coconut milk, hemp seed milk and almond milk. Making your own nut milk, such as almond milk is easy, inexpensive and guarantees you are getting the freshest milk! These also play the base ingredient for other beloved dairy products like icecream and yogurt.

Fish - most people consume fish thinking it is a lower fat food and contains Omega 3's.  I get iodine and Omega 3's from Dulse and other sea plants, algae, hemp seeds, and purslane.

For those weighing the differences between vegan vs vegetarian points I hope this brief overview helps you in some way to consider why gravitating towards a vegan lifestyle has it's merits and is very doable.  I recommend reading the research that has been coming out the past few years from Dr. Neil Barnard, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Michael Greger, Brenda Davis RD, Dustin Rudolfs PharmD, Colin Campbell to start.  These resources have a lot of good information on the benefits of a plant-based diet. 

Other Pages You May Like:

List of Proteins

What do Vegans eat in Restaurants

Vegan Thanksgiving

Meatless Monday

Eating Vegan

Why Vegetarian

Vegan Food Pyramid

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