Vegan vs Vegetarian

Here we hope to assist you in understanding the benefits of being a Vegan vs Vegetarian. But before we go too far into it, we’ll start with a brief but accurate definition of a vegan and a vegetarian.


vegan vs vegetarian



On the most basic level, a true vegan is someone who chooses for whatever reason, whether it be ethical, spiritual or for their health, to refrain from consuming or wearing anything that contains any animal products whatsoever, whether it involves killing the animal or not. This includes food, clothing, cosmetic products and can even go as far as the kind of material their car seats are covered with.

Now, contrary to some people’s beliefs, a true vegetarian is someone who refrains from eating meat of any kind. That means beef, pork, chicken and seafood are all off the menu. There are a couple of variations to the vegetarian diet and these are:

  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarian – those who eliminate meat, fish or fowl, but consume honey, eggs and dairy.

  • Pure (Lacto) Vegetarian – those who eliminate meat fish, foul or eggs but consume honey & dairy.

  • Ovo Vegetarian – those who eliminate meat, fish, foul or dairy but consume honey & eggs.

OK, now that we’ve got that covered, let’s get into some of those benefits of being vegan vs vegetarian, and because looking and feeling good tends to be on top of everyone's list, lets start with health.



Health Benefits

As we established in our definitions above, a vegan does not consume any animal products. This includes dairy. Now the dairy industry would like to have us believe that milk and dairy products are the only reliable source of calcium. This is actually not true. In fact some of the best sources of calcium are pure vegan and when eaten in the right combination with other foods are really tasty. Some examples of these are:

  • Blackstrap Molasses (2 tablespoons contains 400 mg)
  • Fortified non-dairy milk (1 cup contains 200-300 mg)
  • Fortified orange juice (1 cup contains 300 mg)
  • Collard Greens (1 cup contains over 350 mg)
  • Turnip Greens (1 cup contains 250 mg)

Dairy products have also been linked to:

  • Increased cancer and autoimmune disease (The China Study)
  • Increased bone breakage (Nurse’s Health Study)
  • Increased bone loss (National Dairy Council)
  • Crohn’s Disease (American Academy of Family Physicians)

Another thing that a vegan doesn’t eat that a vegetarian does, is eggs. Now although eggs may contain quite high levels of protein, 70% of the calories in eggs are from fat and a high level of that fat is saturated. They are also packed with cholesterol. In fact the average sized egg contains 213 milligrams.  Another thing about eggs is that their shells are quite fragile and porous and conditions on most egg farms are crowded. This can make them the perfect host for salmonella—the bacteria that is the leading cause of food poisoning in this country (Australia).


Ethics - A Clear Conscience

One of my biggest challenges as a vegetarian was the clear contradictions I was faced with on so many levels. As a vegetarian or vegan you find that some people just love to challenge you on your choice and will find any little inconsistency in your lifestyle to try and trip you up. The most common one that used to come up for me was this…… 

“So if you don’t eat meat, why are you wearing leather shoes?”

To which, the best reply I could come up with was that the cows had already been killed for their meat and that the leather was just a by-product. But in my heart I knew that this wasn’t a good enough reason and that the only way I could avoid this argument was to stop wearing leather altogether.

After being vegetarian for some time I found that the longer I was vegetarian, the more of these contradictions seemed to rear their ugly little heads and eventually, after addressing all of these contradictions it was like BOOM!.. it’s a vegan there!



To What is a Vegan from Vegan vs Vegetarian

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