Vegan Versus Vegetarian

Being successful with any diet takes planning.You know the drill: We wake-up in the morning, get dressed and find something to eat before starting our day. And, while being a vegan is not a new concept many may benefit from becoming one. Oh, wait! What about opting to become a vegetarian? No worries, both topics are covered in this article.

The Two “V’s”

With all of the food combinations and choices in the Western diet, many are open to trying new diets, others are not. But, what is the difference between being a vegetarian and being a vegan?

A vegetarian refers to people who abstain from eating all animal flesh including meat, poultry, fish and other sea animals. People adopt a vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons including concerns about personal health, animals and the environment, too. Some people may also be drawn to vegetarianism because of economic considerations or religious and spiritual beliefs.

There are several types of vegetarian diets. These diets include lacto-vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian and ovo-vegetarian.

  • Lacto-vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, poultry, eggs and foods that contain these ingredients. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, are included;
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs;
  • Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs.

Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not consume foods that are processed using animal products. These products can include refined white sugar and some wines. The term vegan refers to either a person who follows this way of eating or to the diet itself.

The good news is that there are countless vegan versions of familiar foods that are available, so you can eat vegan hot dogs, ice cream, cheese and vegan mayonnaise also.

Overall, a vegan diet is chock full of:

  • All grains;
  • Beans;
  • Legumes;
  • Vegetables;
  • Fruits.

What are the health benefits of adopting a vegan diet? One of the benefits of a vegan diet is that it can help you reduce your saturated fat and cholesterol intake, says Nicole Geurin, MPH, RD. This, in turn, may boost your HDL (high-density lipoprotein [good]) cholesterol and lower your LDL (low-density lipoprotein [bad]) cholesterol and triglycerides, which can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Thoughts and Considerations

As always, check with your doctor before starting a new diet. Also, remember that being successful with any diet takes planning and having the right amount of food within reach. Would you consider becoming a vegan or vegetarian?

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-Kimberly Williams

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