Since the inception of vegetarianism, it has been creating quite a buzz till now. We started to believe that vegetarians have strong moral ground not to eat animal flesh and any secretion from the animals, but here comes a more rigid philosophy of the veganism. Vegans not only avoid including animals in the diet, but they also omit animal products from their utility list. Veganism isn’t confined to only a diet or food habit, it refers to a lifestyle and a moral position against any kind of exploitation of animals. Imagine a world full of vegans and vegetarians, animals may take over us. Just kidding! Read more to know the similarity and difference between vegan and vegetarian diet.

Veganism and vegetarianism : A brief introduction and history

Both of these include a distinctive diet to their salient principles. Veganism and Vegetarianism aren’t new concepts but there’s an ongoing debate surrounding the two specialized type of diet since the beginning. Though the vegans and the vegetarians have a deep-rooted history in the previous centuries, the debate is still contemporary. Let’s know the brief history of veganism and vegetarians from the below discussion.

Veganism is actually the improved and modified version of vegetarianism. Vegetarians were out there long before the advent of vegans. Vegetarians avoid animal flesh but eat eggs and dairies that come from animals. So, in November 1944, Donald Watson, a British carpenter, felt the necessity to differentiate the people who omitted any sort of animal products and secretion and those who only avoided animal flesh but ate dairy and eggs. He introduced the new term ‘vegan’ to describe this new group of people who avoid anything that comes from or includes animals. since then, November 1 has been celebrated as World Vegan Day and the animal-free holiday was introduced in 1994 to observe the Golden Jubilee of the Vegan Society.

You must have heard the name of Pythagoras as a mathematician, but he was also recognized as the father of vegetarianism for centuries. Vegetarianism was termed as ‘Pythagorean diet’ before the modern vegetarianism thing appeared. After his death, his followers and like-minded people formed the Vegetarian Society in England in the mid-1800s. Great individuals like George Barnard Shaw, Mahatma Gandhi, Leonardo da Vinci, Leo Tolstoy, and some others were notable early vegetarians. Vegetarianism earned a spot in the trend and mainstream American life during the 1960s. Then, this movement gained speed after Francis Moore Lappe, a graduate student, wrote a book explaining why we should not eat meat not only for ethical reasons but also to protect the environment. And the idea of animal rights and conservation of animals flourished in Peter Singer’s 1975 work “Animal Liberation.”

Is vegan and vegetarian the same thing?

No. Vegan and Vegetarian people share some similarities, but they aren’t the same thing. Vegetarianism focuses only on the food habit whereas veganism includes a comprehensive lifestyle. If you eat only vegetables and fruits you are a vegetarian, but you need to exclude every food and products related to animals from your diet and consumption list to become a vegan. Veganism isn’t only about a diet it’s a philosophy a way of living. There are also differences regarding the classification, health benefits, diet etc.

Vegan vs vegetarian : Classifications

There are many types of vegetarians on the basis of food habit. Some vegetarians eat eggs and dairy both, some eat only one and some don’t eat any of these. The classifications of vegetarians are as follows.

Semi-Vegetarian : Some people usually eat flesh, fish, eggs, and other dairy products but sometimes avoid eating meat to control their meat intake. Which mean they’re not actually vegetarians.

Demi Vegetarians : Demi vegetarians are moderate vegetarians who only exclude animal flesh from the diet but consume eggs, fish and other dairy products. They are partially vegetarians.

Pescatarian : This group of people avoid meat and poultry but don’t mind eating fish and seafood.

Ovo Vegetarian : Vegetarians who don’t intake any animal flesh or dairy products but eat eggs belong to this type.

Lacto Vegetarian : This group of vegetarians only consumes milk and dairy products but avoid animal flesh and eggs.

Lacto Ovo Vegetarian : This is the most convenient type of vegetarians who consume both eggs and dairy products but omit animal flesh from the diet.

Vegans : Vegans are also vegetarians having strong morals to avoid any kind of meat, food, and products that include animals at any degree of exploitation. They are the extremist vegetarians who hold a strong belief that exploiting animals will result in a bad outcome for both their health and the environment of this planet.

Most of the vegans succumb to veganism being driven by an ethical force to save the animals and the planet Earth. But there are some other reasons for vowing themselves to the principles of veganism. Read the following portion to know about different types of vegans.

Plant-Eating Vegans : They eat only plant-based food. And that must grow from the ground only.

Raw Vegans : This group of vegans prefers comparatively raw food.  Be it plant or animal, they will not eat any of these if the food gets cooked above 115-degree Fahrenheit temperature. They believe that this kind of food doesn’t have the nutrients and enzymes properly hence they avoid eating such food.

Ethical Vegans : They are the strongest followers of veganism. They don’t eat any kind of meat, eggs and dairy products nor use any animal-based consumer products. They also avoid the processed food that comes from animals such as cheese, honey, milk chocolates etc. Other products like lipstick and makeup brushes, leather products, pearls, crayons, perfume etc. come from different animals. ethical vegans don’t consume any of these too. They are the true vegans who uphold their ethics instead of following the temptation to eat meats and use animal-based products.

Difference between vegan and vegetarian diet

All vegans are vegetarians, but all vegetarians aren’t vegans. There is a significant similarity between vegan and vegetarian with a few key differences. Both of these groups of people exclude any kind of animal flesh from the diet while vegetarians are a bit liberal allowing the follower to eat eggs and dairy products. But the vegans avoid any kind of foods that come from animal directly or indirectly. Learn the differences from the below section to detect the subtle but crucial difference between vegan and vegetarian diet.

Vegan vs vegetarian diet

Vegans eat a lot of diverse foods comprising all types of vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds, pulses, and edible plants. That’s why the diet of vegans is rich in vitamins and minerals. Moreover, any other food like cakes, pastries, pizzas etc. can be consumed by the vegans unless any animal product gets involved in the preparation process. So, a vegan diet includes every edible thing on the planet except animal flesh and foods secreted from the animals.

A vegetarian diet is quite similar to that of vegan. According to the definition given by the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian lives on a diet of seeds, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, pulses, nuts, algae, fungi, yeast or any other foods that don’t include animals. But some vegetarians have a liberal viewpoint about eating eggs and dairy products though these come from animals. Meat, fish, poultry, seafood, insects and any other living creatures are not allowed on a vegetarian diet.

Point to be noted! Most of the medicine associate animal products in the preparation method. But the Vegan Society doesn’t forbid the fellow vegans to avoid medication even if that medicine has animal products. Because a dead vegan will be of no good for the society and for this world. As the motto of veganism states that vegans should avoid animal products as much as possible, they seek medicine that doesn’t have an animal product and hasn’t been tested on animal.

Vegetarian vs vegan health benefits

According to a research paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, an appropriately planned vegan diet or vegetarian diet has the required nutrients, vitamins and minerals for all ages of people during all stages of life. These food items are nutritionally adequate and capable of providing health benefits and preventing certain diseases. Even, a vegetarian or vegan diet is good enough during pregnancy and lactation period. Besides, it is suitable for infants, children, adolescent, young individuals, athletes and elderly people too.

These vegan or vegetarian diets are low in cholesterol and saturated fat but high in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and other healthy plant compounds. There is no significant difference between vegan vs vegetarian in terms of health benefits as both diets are almost the same. But, a wrong vegan or vegetarian diet plan may result in serious health condition. It may cause low intakes of calcium, zinc, iron, Vitamin D and more. So, one must create a proper diet plan to get the benefits from Vegetarian and Vegan Diets.

Vegetarian vs vegan, which is healthier?

Before being judgmental and giving a final verdict, we should be sure about which type of diets we are discussing. If a vegetarian diet contains dairy products and eggs it will be much healthier than that of a vegan diet. And, if those dairy and eggs are omitted, both the diets are the same. Besides, a 100% vegan diet sometimes need to be associated with supplements and fortified foods if the diet is improperly planned. Vitamin B12 is very essential for health but you won’t get enough of it in a vegan diet. A diet plan can be good for you if only you get the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals keeping the intake of bad elements to a minimal amount. So, plan a diet properly whether you are a vegetarian or vegan.

Myths and facts busted

Both veganism and vegetarianism are associated with interesting myths. These myths are the results of common people’s misconception about veganism and vegetarianism. Know the real facts about the myths from the below section.

A common myth about vegans and vegetarians is that they lack protein and have a hard time to stay healthy. This is actually the opposite. Eating fruits, vegetables, green leaves, seeds means you are having healthy foods free from saturated fat. Besides, red meat and other animals’ flesh are bad for health being rich in saturated fat that increases the cholesterol level of blood. Besides, a vegan or vegetarian has a lower rate of obesity. And there are many versatile sources of proteins included in a vegan diet such as lentils, peas, peanuts, beans etc.

Dairy food items can help greatly in the development of strong bones but that’s not the only option. Calcium, vitamin D, protein etc. are necessary for bone development. Some vegetables and green leaves such as broccoli, bok choy, fortified soymilk, and spinach can provide you with all these essential nutrients.

Some people think veganism is an eating disorder. Which is completely a lie because vegan people choose this way willingly as a choice. Veganism is a philosophy that excludes all kinds of animal exploitation as the vegan people think that animals have the rights not to be used, abused and exploited. They also believe that veganism is good for the planet and their own health. So, it isn’t an eating disorder.

Another common misconception about veganism is that a vegan/vegetarian diet is not suitable for babies and pregnant women. But different studies and researches have suggested that a well-planned vegan diet has all the necessary neutrinos during pregnancy, infancy, childhood even for athletes.

Some extreme fans of vegans are also out there, who label everything that is vegan as good for health. This is not true. Some cookies, chips, cereal might be totally vegan or vegetarian but rich in sugar and fat. So, these are not healthy food despite being vegan. Try to eat food that has low levels of saturated fat and sugar to stay healthy.

If you are wondering how come someone lives on only plants and vegetables and fruits when there are a lot more to eat! Well, don’t think veganism is boring because you will get the vegan version of almost all types of tasty junk foods available out there.

Social impacts brewed from the debate

The debate concerning veganism vegetarianism has a great social impact on young minds who want to do something to better the condition of our mother heart. The strong ethics of veganism attract people to think like vegans. That’s why more people are joining the vegan movement with a belief of solving the problem of world hunger and reducing the damage to our climate. Vegans are only a good thing for the people who are compassionate about animals. This philosophy has been making an impact even on the non-vegan people. People are becoming empathetic to animals even though they eat meats as a part of the food chain. Which is a great achievement of veganism movement. You can save some money and live longer by joining the vegans.


Veganism and veganism have similarities concerning the diet, but they are different in terms of principle and philosophy. Vegans avoid any kind of animal products including foods and consumer goods, but vegetarians avoid only eating animal flesh with/without dairy products and eggs. This is the difference between vegan and vegetarian diet. So, if you are too rigid about the animal exploitation fact, vegan is the right pick for you. But, if you’re compassionate about the animals but has a liberal viewpoint to the huge industry that runs relying on animals, you can choose vegetarianism. Whatever you choose, stay true to your healthy lifestyle and commitments toward the community.

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My name is Sherry F. Solar and I am a Registered Dietitian, Certified Nutritionist, and Certified Personal Trainer with a private practice in Somerville, MA. I got my Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Boston University and finished my Dietetic Internship at Oregon Health and Science University. After working as a personal trainer for almost five years and completing the dietetic internship, I took a detour on my career path to pursue a role as a blogger. There will be plenty of information shared on losing weight, building muscle, eating healthy, and living a happy, healthy life on my blog. I enjoy blogging and strive to share accurate information about nutrition and health knowledge. My blog is for those who are on the journey of healthy eating, and it is also for anyone wishing to attain total health all while aging with no worries. I believe that anyone can have a healthier body and a happier mind when armed with the right education, resources, and knowledge. I want my readers to know that they will learn a lot about becoming healthier and happier through this blog. I try to ensure all articles are informative and useful.


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