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What is the Difference Between a Vegan and a Vegetarian?

A vegetarian dish which includes cheese.
Vegetables make up a large part of a vegan diet.
Land used for grazing cattle could feed far more people it were used for crops instead.
Silk cocoons. A vegan will generally not use any product made from animals, including silk.
An ovo-vegetarian will eat eggs, while a vegan will not.
Cattle consume more protein in grains than they deliver in meat.
Vegan mayonnaise doesn't use eggs.
Vegetarian meat crumbles are made of textured vegetable protein.
Some vegans have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy products or avoid them for ethical reasons.
Vegans don't eat dairy products, such as yogurt.
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The difference between a vegan and a vegetarian is that a vegan eliminates all animal products from his or her diet, including dairy. Those following a vegan lifestyle generally do not wear leather and avoid products made from animals such as wool, silk and down. Vegans’ tremendous humanity for animals is an abiding, overriding conviction in their lives.

Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry, but might eat dairy products such as cheese, eggs, yogurt or milk. Vegetarians are not as predictable in their beliefs, as there are many reasons to become vegetarian that don’t necessarily include altruism as a primary motive. For example, many vegetarians have eliminated meat for the sake of their health. In fact, there are a great many people lumped into the category of vegetarian. Lacto-vegetarians will eat dairy, but not eggs. Ovo-vegetarians will eat eggs, but not dairy. Lacto-ovo vegetarians will eat eggs and dairy products. The reasons for these choices are varied and based on individual beliefs. In some cases they are based on moral choices, and in others on dietary needs or simple preference.

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A vegan, on the other hand, is self-committed to upholding a personal standard of living where animals are concerned. The vegan will often go beyond eliminating meat, dairy and animal products, to become an activist for animal rights. Generally, the vegan point of view is that animals are not here to be exploited by man, and that commercialization of animals necessarily involves a fundamental, inhumane component and lack of respect for basic life. Unfortunately, cruel methods are often cheaper methods, and animals raised for meat or dairy products by commercial interests are commonly and routinely kept in abusive conditions and slaughtered inhumanely in the interest of a competitive marketplace.

There are also humanitarian issues associated with being vegetarian and vegan. It has been proven that if land used for grazing cattle was instead used to raise crops, world hunger could be easily eliminated. Pound for pound, cattle consume far more protein in grains than they deliver in meat. Additionally, many third world countries raise cattle in order to export the meat to wealthy nations, while their own masses starve, unable to afford meat.

However, health might be the most common reason for becoming a vegetarian or vegan. While personal beliefs about animals differ and world hunger remains a remote reality to most people in industrialized nations, people do respond readily to the idea of personal benefit.

To this end, international, independent studies conducted by the world’s leading health organizations have provided far-reaching and conclusive research. Beginning in the early 80s and continuing through the late 90s, studies found that a vegetarian diet is far healthier than one which includes meat. This conclusion is backed by redundant, real-life measurable, statistical results. The organizations (and studies) include the British Medical Association (BMA), The China Study, The World Health Organization (WHO), the Oxford Study, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), and the American Dietetic Association. The basic finding is that eliminating meat reduces the chances of contracting many types of chronic diseases and some types of cancer. While a vegetarian diet has since been deemed the healthiest diet of all, the closer one moves towards a vegan diet, the greater the benefits. Many companies that provide health insurance now offer discounts to vegetarians and vegans.

If interested in starting down the road to a vegetarian or vegan diet, one needn’t go cold turkey, so to speak. By looking for vegan and vegetarian products in the grocery store and trying different products each week, over time you will develop a list of vegetarian foods you enjoy. As this list grows and your tastes change, you will appreciate the healthier feeling of eating vegetarian. The process of switching your diet and improving your health can be a gradual and natural one.

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anon358835
Post 50

To all Vegans and Vegetarians: Not consuming meat is a good thing, as we all have compassion for other living things.

What kind of vegetables can we eat ?

We should try to avoid: garlic, onions and leeks. Why? Because it increased your body odor, which attract ghosts and demons and distract angels, god and Buddha.

It increases your anger (hot temper). On the one hand, you have compassion for animals, but with a hot temper, you tend not able to control your temper with other human beings.

It increases your sexual desire. In the daytime, you try to control your negative thoughts, but during sleep, you will encounter bad, sexual dreams.

Without the ability to control your temper and negative sexual thoughts, you will not be able to enter the gates of heaven.

anon356503
Post 49

The reference to meat as a food source in Scripture is well established. The fundamental notion that eating meat is morally wrong isn't consistent with Scripture.

As Americans, we eat too much read meat, but to say that our bodies are not designed for meat at all is inconsistent with history. B12 is one of the hottest nutritional trends today; many say that we would be in poor health without it. Since B12 is so important, how does a vegan get B12 in any appreciable amount? From a supplement. What explains early civilization's superior health before they were capable of producing supplements?

anon348046
Post 48

Having a medical background, I know that vegetarian and vegan diets are detrimental to your health. You need protein to heal. If you get injured and don't have the protein needed, your body cannot help repair itself. A few vegetarians know how to get the protein they need in their diet, but not many. You have to combine the right combination of proteins in one setting to make a complete protein. How many people do that? Vegetarianism is unhealthy.

anon328628
Post 47

This nonsense about meat being unhealthy is absurd. I understand what you believe, or how you see it, but eating meat is not unhealthy. We have adapted from crude enviromnents and supplies/skills. As long as you do not over-indulge in something, your body will not become unbalanced. This includes a healthy bit of exercise, routinely.

anon318569
Post 45

Diet has its own importance in our life. Most people will not eat from their own species, and most choose not to eat from the same family or order, but most will eat from their own class, phylum and kingdom. Wherever you personally draw the line, you are still destroying life to maintain your own sustenance.

anon313771
Post 44

While I disapprove of the way cattle are butchered, it is a fact that we humans evolved by hunting and gathering. Agriculture has brought us to a decline, evolutionarily speaking. A real, human, healthy diet is composed of a lot of animal protein (except milk after two years old) with yes, vegetables, nuts and some fruit. That's it. No cereal, no grain, and people getting their protein from it are misinformed and will pay for it when they get chronic diseases with time.

We evolved eating these things, and tampering with it is not a healthy option, whether you like it or not. There is no way around it.

anon299108
Post 42

I'm neither vegan nor vegetarian. I don't think there is anything wrong with not eating meat or using animal products. It's a personal lifestyle. I do think it's wrong to hate on others who eat meat or use animal products. People eat animals and animals eat animals. There are still people who hunt and use fur to provide for their family.

A carnivore would not be so kind as to kill an animal humanely, but would eat it alive. Animals are not nearly as kind to each other as we are to them and they certainly would not be as kind to us. (I'm not including those who purposely and neglectfully torture animals.)

Blogzilla
Post 41

Becoming vegetarian really wasn't an option for me. It was a matter of life or sickness and death from heart disease, etc. You can eat all the hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, etc. when you're young, but when you reach your late 30s or 40s, it will catch up with you.

I went vegetarian a year ago and have never looked back. Yes, they will hate you at almost every restaurant, your friends will get frustrated when trying to invite you to dinner parties, etc. But hey, for many years everyone on the planet thought it was flat, until a scientist proved them wrong.

anon272207
Post 40

@anon90729: Whoever told you that eating meet on weekends is allowed to remain a vegan is a moron. Either that or you misheard and it has to do with some religious rule, which was probably just created so that farmers could maintain their animal population more easily, then only bother to butcher and sell them right before and during the weekend. So you're not certainly not vegan or even "vegetarian".

@anon93388: Humans are omnivores and can eat meat, yes. But meat is actually bad for you; it causes several kinds of cancer. Before you mention protein, plants can give you just as much from normal consumption and is easier for the body repurpose than animal proteins.

@anon101588: If you're vegetarian because you don't want to take lives, then depending on how you look at it, the debate of eating an egg is similar to abortions. If you believe abortions are wrong because you are preventing life from being created that normally would have been, then eating eggs should be considered wrong as well. It's not an meant to be an answer only advice on making your own decision.

@anon140544 and anon156409: Being a vegan is about what you eat, anything else is extra.

@anon165147: I think you're overreacting. Would you refuse surgery if you needed it to stay alive because the tools and stitching are man made as well?

anon272206
Post 39

"Vegans’ tremendous humanity for animals is an abiding, overriding conviction in their lives."

@the article: Have you ever considered that eating animals is simply disgusting? My dad hates animals, buys some leather stuff (like a wallet), talks about killing annoying yip dogs (I doubt he would), yet he hates the idea of hunting and is disgusted by the idea of eating anything from an animal or even having animal products in the house.

Strangely, he lectured me starting off with something like, "you went out of your way to kill a bug" because we were outside and it wasn't bothering us (which is true).

Personally, I am fine with eating most things and do not claim to be vegan/vegetarian, but I am repulsed by red meat (prefer "shoe leather" steak) and especially pus in milk. I drink soy/almond/coconut milk with tea mostly, rarely on its own.

anon269967
Post 38

I have just decided to become a vegetarian. I really don't want to let go the eggs or the dairy but I certainly don't want milk with pus! I want milk harvested in a gentle way with no hormones! Just like I saw in my uncle's farm when I was little! He did it gently and slowly and even talk to the cow while doing it! He didn't raise cows for their meat, only for their milk and I don't think that is so bad.

When he harvested the eggs he also talked with the chickens and they seemed to respond to him and were really calm. That is from that type of place I want my milk from. Can anyone tell me a place like that?

anon267064
Post 37

Organic farmed animals are treated just as cruelly as factory farmed animals. Those who think buying organic is more humane need to read updated material on the matter and not just take the industry's word for it. Maybe the animals aren't pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, but their lives are just as miserable and their slaughter is just as gratuitously vicious.

anon262983
Post 35

@anon173127: Your post is the perfect example of ignorance. What happens to animals, because we consume too many animals, and animal products, is disgusting. They are abused and slaughtered in deeply disturbing ways that involve a lot of suffering. Please don't get angry; just get informed and understand that you are contributing to a sadistic mindset when you make posts like these without educating yourself.

We need balance in the world, and vegans help to create that balance, especially when the majority of Americans eat meat every day, if not twice a day.

anon219849
Post 34

I have a couple of quick questions that I think I know the answers to, but would much rather have confirmation from people far more knowledgeable than I on this topic.

I have a small greasy spoon and would like to offer a couple of vegetarian/vegan options. Any veggie options would cease to be veggie/vegan friendly if fried in oil that also fries chicken right? Likewise, items couldn't be cooked on the same griddle as meat correct? If I were to make a falafel dog fried in fresh soybean oil would that be both veggie and vegan friendly? Thanks in advance for your responses and forgive my ignorance, I'm learning.

Side note for the author: I find it ironic you feel all animals should be treated equally but clearly feel that vegetarians are a lower life form. You might consider switching to a less self-righteous keyboard.

anon175161
Post 33

I have a vegan boss who says that our bodies were not designed in any manner or form to eat meat, from the design of our teeth to how our insides manage food. Is she correct in her belief system?

I would like to go the vegetarian path and for obvious reasons, i want to be educated in my decision making.

anon173127
Post 32

so basically if you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can destroy as many plants as as you like and avoid eating animals. Hmmm. For me, this doesn't make sense at all. Just because plants do not have faces or legs as we recognize them or do not move, does not mean they have to be abused by humans.

But obviously people will go hungry if they don't eat something. please stop the fuss about what to eat and the hypocrisy about saving animals (plants deserve the same attention) and go eat what suits your body.

anon165147
Post 31

I am not a vegan. Yet. I am considering it for health reasons. I recently bought hair color and it came with a free shampoo sample.

I happened to notice while I was reading the label that the shampoo was marketed as 100 percent Vegan. So I got excited and flipped the bottle over to read the ingredient list. I was horrified.

Sure it wasn't tested on animals and contained no animal byproducts, but there was not one pronounceable, natural, non-chemical ingredient listed on the label. So if I can do it with real, healthy products/foods then count me in, but if going vegan means I will use/consume products that are all man-made chemicals that will do who-knows-what to my body, no thank you.

I mean who cares if I save a cow by not eating it but end up killing myself by eating methylmononitrides? (ok so that chemical was made up for drama's sake).

anon156409
Post 30

I'm vegan and many of you have called 'vegans' hypocrites for wearing leather. Well, from my point of view, these people are not vegans. True vegans do not wear leather, wool, fur or use any products containing animal ingredients or tested on animals.

As for us all being 'self-righteous' preachers: Do you seriously think we never get stick of non vegans telling us stuff like 'You need to eat meat.", "Animals were put on this Earth for us to eat.", "You're mad for not eating meat." and to top it all, they conclude with, "You should respect others' choices."

I never lecture. No one listens when preached to. If someone asks me about it and genuinely seems interested, I'll talk about it, but if they're only asking so they can start an argument, I'll discontinue the debate, so very often, they feel they've 'won'. No. I just don't want a 'fight of words'.

I'm not interested in playing in 'debates' as a show of strength.

Another form of attack is when someone discovers I'm vegan and starts on me simply because they assume I'll lecture them and they want to 'get their point in first'.

This is not every non vegan by any means. Most just say, "Oh. Okay." and that's it. Just as I do when seeing someone eating meat.

anon150871
Post 29

this is really a poorly written article that doesn't back up its statements with fact. Case in point - most rangeland that is used for raising cattle is not suitable for agriculture. The oversimplified "cure" for world hunger through a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle is a bunch of hooey!

anon149204
Post 28

God put these animals on Earth so that we can survive off of them. It is not inhumane to eat dairy products as long as they are organic. Sorry I just don't believe that I'm never going to eat chicken ever again. Horrible, now if its for health reasons then I understand.

anon146074
Post 27

I love red meat and veggies too. Meat rocks. I am not a fan of dairy, though. But dark chocolate -- the best food group of all.

anon145553
Post 26

RE: A vegan upholding a personal standard of living concerning animals. Excuse me?

Who wrote this article? Who says vegans are on the higher ground than veggies?

Wisegeek, you're way off on this one. Prime example of the internet leading people astray.

anon142425
Post 25

While I am not vegan, I do try to make decisions on my diet based on animal welfare. It takes a bit of research but it's worth it. For example, organic milk and eggs. No hormones for the animals, and they are generally treated better.

I only eat free range chickens, and kosher meats from local butchers. The meat is cleaner, and the killing process kinder. I respect vegans, but animals eat other animals and I am no different.

I do believe that people who eat meat should do so with more concern for the animals' welfare. The belief that the animal is going to end up dead anyway and that its treatment doesn't matter is ludicrous. Our local butchers use every last bit of the animal; nothing is wasted. I can respect that.

I don't wear leather but I do appreciate that our family's choice in butchers even uses the hides. There are even companies that sell fur and wool yarns made from combing and shaving the animals, and most of these animals are treated very well.

I think it is wrong to kill an animal for it's skin or fur. I think it is commendable to use every scrap of an animal killed for food.

It's a delicate balance. I absolutely oppose animal testing and use no product tested on animals. I am glad that there are vegans and vegetarians in the world, but I agree that you may be a part time vegetarian but there is no such thing as a part time vegan.

My best friend's girlfriend is an extremely preachy vegan and drives a car with leather seats and wears uggs. Enough said. We share the world with animals, and they were here first.

Ultimately, your choice is your own, but I do wish more meat eaters such as I would take more consideration into the source of their meats and animal products. The native American history in my family has been a great influence, but with a little research, anyone can do it.

anon140544
Post 24

It's fine to be a vegan or vegetarian, but when I hear that one is a vegan and then see pics of them driving in a car with leather seats or carry a designer bag or use products that were tested on animals, don't claim you're a vegan!

I see so much of this on FB, all those claiming to be vegetarians and vegans. it's not right for them to eat a cow but they can sit on one. bunch of hypocrites!

anon138773
Post 23

Okay, I'm sick of this! I've been a vegetarian for seven years. I'm 19 and I'm so tired of being labeled as "lazy" or "uncaring" because I am not vegan.

Sorry, but maybe I enjoy eating dessert with my boyfriend or having the same cake on our wedding day, or maybe when our kids want to eat ice cream with their mom I don't have to tell them no. Or you know, maybe at home, I don't eat certain things like milk, eggs, etc and yet when I go out, if food was made with milk or eggs I don't fuss over it.

I did it for animal welfare. I'm actually becoming a vet and working for animal shelters. I don't use medicine, I don't wear leather, fur, wool, not much silk. I don't use animal tested products all the way down to my toothpaste. You sit there and say that we are not committed when quite frankly we are on the same page as vegans, just prefer to do things with our significant other.

Make sure the next time someone writes something like this, they think twice about what they say.

It doesn't matter how far you take it, as long as you are taking some action and something is being saved. Don't shun one way because it's not full or not your own. If you are taking the time out of your schedule for a being's sake or your own, it's saving a life somehow.

anon138454
Post 22

i would just like to say my friend is a vegan, and she does it for her health mostly. the writer of this is obviously a vegan who does it for their health, the environment, and animal rights. kudos to you, but some people also choose to be vegan as a life/health choice. forums like this need to be written by someone who is more neutral and less imposing.

anon113636
Post 21

As much as I respect everyone's choice to do as they will with their own bodies, this site seems to make some fairly sweeping generalizations regarding the differences between vegans and vegetarians - almost fanatical sweeping statements. It's a shame. We have too many fanatics in this world. I hope you resist the urge to chain yourself to a bomb to prove a vegan point.

anon106511
Post 20

Can someone with more knowledge than me help out the guy in post #7, please. And Angela, you can probably look online and find lots of recipes if you enter the right search words for that. There's some words in dark blue above that you can click on that could get you started.

amypollick
Post 19

@Anon103984: I think you need to re-read my post. Did I say anywhere in it that being a vegan or vegetarian was bad or people shouldn't choose that lifestyle? Nope. I was speaking specifically to someone who was having trouble with someone who was being mighty self-righteous about his own lifestyle and was making the poster miserable with his comments.

I am all for people choosing a lifestyle that agrees with their personal morals and ethics. If that lifestyle is vegan or vegetarian, more power to them.

However, I am diametrically opposed to others making other people miserable because of their particular lifestyle choices. Doesn't matter whether it's dietary or what.

You completely missed the point of my post.

anon103984
Post 18

@amypollick: It's not just about health, also about environmental concerns. If we eat less cows then they won't eat up crops (the ratio being one cow farm for every 10 crop farms, which is pretty bad). This destroys nature for land and is bad for global warming because of methane from cows.

It also takes advantage of third world countries, in the way stated in this article. Also many animals are treated in some of the most appalling ways you cannot even begin to think of, because it saves money and many of the workers looking after the animals are poorly trained and have no idea how intelligent animals are and think that using chickens as footballs is okay!

amypollick
Post 17

@Anon101588: This honestly is why some of these people bug me! Being a vegan or vegetarian is a dietary choice/lifestyle. It's *not* a religion (assuming it isn't part of one's religion), although some people treat it as if it were. You know, "You don't do it like me so you're not vegan enough. You're not a *real* vegan."

You make your own dietary choices at your comfort level. If you're good with eating eggs, fine. It is *no one's* business but yours! Tell that guy it's a free country, you'll eat what you like, you're not forcing him to eat the same way you do, and that if you eat eggs, milk, fish or bubblegum and shoelaces, it's none of his @$%$#^$$ business! Fill in the blanks with your favorite adjective. Tell him to clean up his own backyard where his attitude is concerned, and when he achieves 100 percent perfection, he will then be qualified to speak to you about your diet.

anon101588
Post 16

i am a vegetarian and have been for almost five years. i decided to stop eating meat after discovering the animals' living conditions and the methods of slaughter used. i have stopped drinking cow's milk but have recently begun eating eggs again.

i am being criticized for this by a friend's friend, who thinks by doing this, i may as well be wearing a fur coat and croc shoes! please can someone help me with a response to him as I'm struggling with my own beliefs!

anon99171
Post 15

I am vegetarian and I don't eat or drink dairy products at all but I wouldn't mind wearing leather so I'm not vegan. It isn't hard going vegetarian. Once you get into a habit and research all the bad things about meat and dairy products, you can see clearly that you don't need meat and the end result is you don't't want meat.

anon97776
Post 14

anon90729: You are not a strict vegan if you get meat at the weekends, nothing wrong with that, but if you wanted to be strict - you have to give up your weekend meat. lol.

anon93388: It's not just the killing that upsets veggies and vegans, it's the way they kill the animals - sometimes in a barbaric and disgusting fashion. Leaving semi conscious animals hanging while their blood is draining beneath them, being watched by their herd/family is not a laughing matter. I wouldn't do it to my worst enemy, nevermind an animal. Plants do not have a nervous system and therefore can not feel pain or even think 'damn I'm going to be eaten'.

anon94626
Post 13

I want to go vegetarian. Does anyone have any ideas about some great tasting foods that do not have meat. I will eat cheese, eggs, milk, etc. Thanks!

-- Angela

anon93388
Post 12

I fully understand not eating meat for health reasons, but to me vegans and vegetarians don't make sense. You guys feel for animals because they act as you do, but what about the plants you so religiously consume? Cut down in their prime for your consumption? Do they feel feelings? May as well not eat anything if your afraid of hurting its feelings or disrespecting its "rights." Humans are meant to eat meat. It's why we have pointed canine teeth. Meat = Good.

anon93314
Post 11

A vegan is the strictest form of vegetarian. They do not eat any form of animal by products, including honey.

Any person who eats white meat (fish, seafood) is considered as a pestician).

Any person who eats red meat as well as vegetarian diet is known as a semi vegetarian or flexitarian.

anon90729
Post 9

I am a strict vegan. I only eat meat on the weekends. And when I say meat, I mean steak, hamburger, bacon, duck, lamb, and of course chicken.

You're still technically a vegan as long as you don't eat meat on the weekdays. That's what I've heard anyway.

anon73584
Post 7

I'm almost finished reading "The China Study" by Campbell and I'm already convinced. However, at 64 years old, does anyone really think that it's not too late to start?

Don't know if I could go all vegetarian completely but might seriously think about starting as some kind of "vegan". Could anyone out there give me some advice? Thanks- Mike

anon71327
Post 6

What type of foods would a vegan eat for sustenance? I am vegetarian and would like to try vegan as I love animals but I have no idea how to escape dairy as it is currently a staple food for me! --Steve

anon65694
Post 5

I am a vegetarian but i still eat dairy products.

anon57892
Post 4

I guess I don't get it. Most people will not eat from their own species, and most choose not eat from the same family or order, but most will eat from their own class, phylum and kingdom. Wherever you personally draw the line, you are still destroying life to maintain your own sustenance.

I encourage everyone to eat as healthy as possible, but please do not delude yourself into thinking you have achieved some sort of altruistic superiority because you choose to devour life that is more different from your own.

You should make every effort to ensure that whatever life you are consuming has been treated respectfully regardless of where that life falls on the classification chart.

anon52584
Post 3

I am 16 and was a vegetarian for about a year. Now I can't eat meat because it makes me really sick, so I have just decided to go back to being a vegetarian. Eventually, I may become a vegan, but not right now.

I have a hard enough time trying to eat in the cafeteria at school because they have meat every day. Right now peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been my main food at school.

anon49200
Post 2

I decided to become a vegan, after I watched videos of animals being violently slaughtered on the peta site. I didn't think to gradually ease into a vegetarian diet, I just jumped into the pit, covered in weights. Because I did this, I felt like a little kid that was told they were bad, and so couldn't have something. After a day or so, I got used to it, and I started really thinking, and researching more. For example, I really wanted milk, but thought I couldn't have it. I went online, and read something. It said, milk from dairy cows in dairy farms contains pus. Yes, pus. This is so because the cows are given drugs to make them produce much more milk than they are physically able to, so their udders get infected. Explaining the pus. After reading this, I absolutely did not want to drink milk. After you really think about things, it becomes very easy to follow a vegetarian diet.

clyn
Post 1

I have a friend who was raised vegan for religious reasons, although he fell out of it as he got older. And my sister-in-law eats vegan primarily for health reasons - she is sensitive to animal proteins, and finds it easier to simply eliminate anything animal-related from her diet. It can be difficult, because there are so many food products that seem like they should be vegan but aren't.

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