Differences Between Vegetarians and Vegans

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What is the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan? What do vegetarians eat? What is a lacto-ovo vegetarian? What do vegans eat? What are the differences between a vegan and vegetarian? Do vegans eat dairy? Do vegetarians eat eggs? Can vegans

Most people think the differences between vegetarians and vegans is simply in what they eat, but this is not true, let us learn what separates a vegetarian from a vegan.

Whether they choose to be vegetarians, or vegans, as a result of health concerns, environmental concerns, or concerns in regard to animal welfare, both vegetarians and vegans have made a commitment to a lifestyle choice that mostly involves diet. Most vegans start out as vegetarians and indeed veganism can be thought of as an extreme formof vegetarianism.

Neither vegetarians nor vegans eat meat. Some vegetarians justify eating chicken and fish as okay, but these are not seen as “real” vegetarian. A vegan would certainly not consume either. Some vegetarians define themselves as “lacto-ovo” vegetarians and these people do consume dairy and eggs. Lacto-vegetarians will eat dairy products, and ovo-vegetarians will eat eggs.

Vegans are also concerned what products their foods are cooked in, and will ask if restaurants cook foods in vegetable oils or animal oils, and will usually not eat anything if it was deep-fried in the same oil that any meat would have been deep-fried in.

Vegans are far more strict when it comes to what they will, or will not eat, and even go further in regards to what they will not wear, or purchase in general. A vegan will not eat anything made from animal, or by an animal, this means they will not eat dairy or eggs.

Vegans are also very strict about what they buy or wear. They will not buy leather clothing, furniture, or even cars with leather interiors. Vegans will definitely not wear fur or anything made from slaughtered animals.

Some vegans will not wear wool sweaters, wool socks, or other products made from animal derived fibers, others allow this since these fibers are harvested from live animals.

Vegans do not use products that were tested on animals, nor will they use products that are made from animals, such as some lipsticks. Vegans would not take premarin or other pills that are made at the expense of animal suffering.

All in all the vegan may consider themselves more socially aware of cruelty in the food and product industry and have chosen an extreme way trying to avoid contributing to animal suffering, particularly death.

vegetarian food

photo credit to Mark Gordon Brown

The Controversy

There are several controversies in regards to these diets. If a vegan owns a pet cat, ferret, or other animal that is an obligate carnivore, and feeds it a vegetarian diet this can be considered animal cruelty, however the vegan insists they are doing so to prevent animal cruelty.

Vegans who do not wear leather, wool, and so forth, are wearing synthetic (unnatural) products that may have a greater environmental impact than using natural products. Certainly wearing fur is cruel, but there is some debate about leather and wool, with valid points on either side.

Honey is also a hotly debated item, with some vegans using it and others rejecting it as cruel.

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