Not a vegan or vegetarian? Often get confused between a vegetarian and vegan? Well, it happens. But next time remember that both are different. Vegetarianism is more like a dietary choice and veganism is a lifestyle.
What is veganism and vegetarianism?
Veganism is a chosen lifestyle. Vegans do not eat any animal products and animals. They believe that animals are not existing for their use. Vegans believe that humans live along with animals on the earth without feeding on them. According to them, humans don’t have to be predators. Vegans do not believe in the dominance of humans over other species. They make it clear that like a human has purposes and contributions to earth, animals also have those duties to the ecosystem to fulfill. Some people also chose to become vegan due to the health potential of a vegan diet and also to reduce the environmental footprint. Vegan can also be considered a vegetarian diet.
Vegans completely avoid animal products. They do not eat meat, dairy products, and fish products. They don’t even use cosmetics, bags, or clothes made from an animal. They believe that killing animals for human use is unjustifiable. They do not use wool because it’s made from the sheep, instead, they use synthetic fibers. For them, leather is technically the skin of a dead animal, so they avoid leather. Vegans avoid cosmetics and other essential daily products if they are made from an animal.
Vegetarianism is a dietary choice. One can become a vegetarian because of health issues, dislike for food from other animals, ethical reasons, or other personal preferences. Some vegetarians also believe that killing animals for food is unacceptable and so they avoid animal products. Environmental pollution caused by animal farms and factories can also be a factor for choosing vegetarianism. People also become vegetarian because of religious preferences o beliefs.
Vegetarians do not avoid complete animal products. There are different types of diet in vegetarianism. Some people eat fish but not meat, while some eat dairy products but no animal products, etc. The vegetarian diet is based on an individual’s preferences, health concerns, likes, dislikes, religious beliefs, moral concerns, etc.
What do and don’t they eat?
A vegan or a vegetarian diet is a plant-based diet. A vegan diet consists of food from plants like cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, bread, rice, oils, nuts, seeds, vinegar, herbs, spices, etc. As alternatives to milk from animals they use coconut milk, almond milk, etc.
Vegans avoid complete animal products like meat, seafood, poultry, dairy products, eggs, etc. Unlike vegans, vegetarians do not avoid complete animal products. There are different kinds of diet which differ based on the food they reject and accept.
- Lacto-vegetarian diets include dairy products like cheese, milk, butter yogurt, every plant-based food, and products, etc. But they avoid meat, poultry, eggs, and fish. They also avoid food that contains them.
- Ovo-vegetarian diets include eggs, plant products, and foods. But they exclude meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products.
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet allows eggs, dairy products, and food from plants in their food. But they exclude seafood, meat, and poultry from their food.
- Pescatarian only allows fish in their diet other than plant-based food. They completely avoid consuming meat, dairy products, eggs, and poultry.
- Vegan is the diet in which people completely avoid meat, seafood, poultry, dairy products, eggs, etc.
- A semi-vegetarian diet is also considered to be a different type of diet. It more like a plant-based diet but it may contain small quantities of meat and other products from animals.
Benefits of being a vegan or a vegetarian
Studies show that being a vegan or vegetarian can help you reduce many health issues. A vegan or vegetarian diet is rich in nutrition. They are proved to be good for heart health, cancer, weight loss, asthma issues, bone health, blood pressure, and diabetes.
Saturated fats which are mainly present in animal food are very unhealthy for the body if consumed in high amounts. Accumulation of saturated fats in the human cause stroke and other heart diseases. Vegan or vegetarian diets contain a very less amount of saturated fat which reduces the risk of heart issues, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Plant fiber which is highly present in a vegan diet is a reason for better heart conditions. Plants are also rich in potassium which helps to reduce blood pressure.
A vegan or vegetarian diet also contains fewer calories when compared to other diets. The consumption of fewer amounts of calories can help to balance weight and reduce obesity. The high quantity of fiber, vitamins, and other plant compounds in this diet can reduce the risk of cancer. The nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain help to lower the risk of diabetes. Asthma symptoms can be also reduced by this diet.
Being a vegetarian also indicates the use of animal products once in a while according to the diet one follows. The adequate use of animal products gives the body essential proteins and other minerals lacked by the vegan diet. Studies also show that these diets result in increased lifespan.
Apart from the health befits and personal gains, being a vegan or a vegetarian also helps the environment. The lower consumption of animal products can lower the amount of environmental waste from animal products. It helps to reduce the environmental footprints.
Risks of being a vegan or a vegetarian
Although being a vegan or vegetarian is extremely good for health it also has its drawbacks. Plant foods can not give a complete variety of minerals and vitamins needed for the human body.
Choline crisis is one of the diseases that result from veganism or vegetarianism. The choline crisis is caused due to the lack of choline nutrient which is essential for brain health. But this nutrient is present in poultry and meat products. Vegan diets can also hair loss due to their low quantity of iron, zinc, Vitamin B, and C. These vitamins and minerals are essential for hair growth and are present in meat.
In vegan or vegetarian diet legume is the main protein source. Legumes present in the diet contain antinutrients. These antinutrients can cause a leaky gut. Plants do not contain heme iron and this kind of iron deficiency can cause fatigue. Iron-deficient anemia is one of the usual risks of being a vegan or a vegetarian.
Being a vegan or a vegetarian is personal choice. But whether you are vegan or vegetarian or not, make sure that your diet contains all the essential nutrients and minerals your body requires.
So, choose your diet to stay healthy.