In today’s world of ever-changing diet fads, there are two more timeless options that are steadily attracting a growing number of followers; vegan and vegetarian diets.
While most people have heard of vegan and vegetarian diets, few can accurately describe what the precise methodology or “regulations” of each diet are, and even fewer can explain the differences between the two.
So what are the differences?
We’ll start by clarifying what a vegetarian diet consists of. A vegetarian, by the true definition, DOES NOT consume meat. However, there are numerous variations of the vegetarian diet that range from limiting meat consumption to specific days, to only eating plant based products (vegan). Some of the variations of vegetarianism include flexitarians, pescatarians, lacto-vegetarians and ova-vegetarians.
Flexitarians are those people who want to decrease their meat consumption, but not give it up altogether. They often designate two or three days a week to when they will consume meat.
Pescatarians consume fish, mollusks, fin fish and shellfish, but no other meat (pescatarians often consume dairy and egg products too).
Lacto-vegetarians consume dairy products, including cheese and ice cream, but no meat.
Ova-vegetarians consume eggs and products with eggs, but not meat or dairy.
Now let’s clarify what a vegan diet consists of. Vegans (the name for someone who follows a vegan lifestyle or diet) DO NOT consume animal products. This includes avoiding meat, dairy, eggs, seafood…everything from T-bones and barbecued ribs to cheddar cheese and omelets. A vegan diet is most often adopted based on one’s profound respect and compassion towards animals. These influences often play a central role in a vegan’s lifestyle, beyond what they eat. People who take on a 100% vegan lifestyle choose to not wear clothing made from animals (leather, wool) and avoid using items fabricated from animal products (certain makeups, goose down pillows, etc.).
Whether you opt to try a vegan diet, vegetarian diet or one of the many subcategories of vegetarian diets, you are sure to see the health benefits associated with increasing the number of fruits and veggies in your diet.
Some of the benefits of adopting one of these more “veggie-inclusive” lifestyles may include: Feeling healthier, fewer sick days, weight loss, increased energy, greater endurance, healthier skin, a decrease in “bad” cholesterol, a drop in blood pressure and much more.
Start this week by setting a goal to try one the previously mentioned diets for two or three days and see how it makes you feel!
We’d love to hear about your experiences in the “comments” section below!