Vegan Vs Vegetarian, Is there a difference?
Vegan vs Vegetarian, different names of the same diet? Many people consider vegetarian and vegan interchangeable terms. Indeed, all the term vegetarian does include vegans. However, people pursuing the vegan lifestyle are not all vegetarian.
Vegans enjoy a life encompassing only plant-based foods. They omit meats, but also products from animals, such as eggs, dairy, and honey.
Vegetarians omit meats but may choose to include eggs, dairy, or honey, or a combination of these products. You might hear the terms Ovo-vegetarian or Lacto-vegetarian. Ovo-vegetarians eat plant based and also include eggs. Lacto-vegetarians include dairy. If the person includes both, they may refer to themselves as ova-lacto vegetarian or just simply as a vegetarian.
Some choose to include fish in their diet and call themselves pesco-vegetarian. While consuming any animal flesh rules out the vegetarian label, they feel it accommodates their choice. For many, it becomes a step toward full vegan diet lifestyle.
Why choose a plant-based diet?
Many pursue the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle as a means of protecting animal life. They feel that killing animals is inhumane. Many also disagree with factory farming practices that produce the majority of our non-vegetarian products.
An increasing number of people practice the plant-based diet for health reasons. Studies show many health benefits to those choosing to forego meat and animal products. The China Study and other similar results led to Blue Zone Projects.
Not only do vegetarians live longer than meat eaters, they are healthier, on average. Some insurance companies consider this a factor when calculating insurance rates based on eating habits. Studies and statistics prove the many health benefits.
Loma Linda Study Results indicate vegans have a 15% lower risk of death than people on the standard American diet. Not only do they live longer, they enjoy better health and a reduced incidence of heart disease, cancer, and other illness.
Health Benefits for part-timers, too
Jumping from eating standard meat-eating fare into a vegan diet seems extreme to many. It does take time to retrain your taste buds and become accustomed to the textures and flavors.
Meatless Monday began in 2003 in an effort to allow people to try the plant-based lifestyle. While no one expects dramatic health effects by making the change one day a week, it can lead to healthier food choices. For some people, this little step offers a chance for them to try a healthier diet without feeling trapped.
Many begin their health journey by eliminating red meats, then chicken and eventually become vegetarian. The next jump to entirely plant-based might prove more challenging, especially for those relying heavily on dairy and eggs.
Taking the plunge
Often the choice to adopt a plant-based lifestyle comes from a major health issue. Diabetes, heart disease, and other critical medical concerns often jar people into considering eating healthier and exercising. For these people, as well as others, Meatless Monday is not enough. An immediate change to a vegan diet might well save their life and start them on the road to health.
For those that choose to plunge in, rather than testing the water, many opt for convenience substitutes, at least to start. Vegetarian burgers, sausage, and even turkey cutlets offer great taste and texture, without the meat. Many find that they are preferable. Senior citizens, for instance, may have problems chewing and even digesting meats. However, a pot roast made from vegan beef tips offers the taste and delicate texture in an easy to chew form. Other recipes also help the transition.
While some stay with these vegan meat substitutes, many use them as a transition. Often expensive and containing some ingredients considered less healthy, the substitutes provide one route to transition to the best diet. Consider balancing these with healthier options and eventually eliminating them.
Starting now or already on the journey….
Whether you are just trying occasional meals or celebrating decades of plant-based eating, new recipes and interesting cuisine offer more choices for healthy foods. While many countries and regions within countries have unique cuisine,
America offers choices from all over the world. Indeed, each region often features local favorites, while most cities offer an even greater variety. Our melting pot design encourages newcomers to bring the best from their birth country. We integrate those favorites into our own.
Vegan Globetrotters allows you to virtually travel around America and around the globe, choosing healthy vegan options to add to your family favorites. And like any adventure, the journey is never over. We’ll continue to add new flavors, new inspirations, and interesting features. Stop by often!