Veganism has in recent times been cited as a type of vegetarian but this is simply not the case. Veganism is only one of the subcategory’s that has fallen under the vegetarian umbrella and some of these involve eating a variety of meat or using animal by-products. This is something that vegans do not do. Some vegetarians eat eggs or vegan products – Vegans do not. Yes, I know this is all quite confusing so I’m here to set the record straight.
The line that separates vegans and vegetarians was a very clear line until recently when it was blurred by chefs, celebrities, foodies and food manufacturers.
Like vegetarians, vegans do not eat the flesh of any animal land sea or otherwise. Nothing. But unlike a vegetarian, a vegan does not eat any products which are derived from these animals – Eggs, Dairy etc. While some vegetarians do eat these. Veganism tends not to stop at the products that they eat but a lot of vegans do not wear products or cosmetics which are made from or have been tested on animals. Some vegetarians are a bit easier going when it comes to this. Of course, the line does get blurred from time to time and some people will use the incorrect label i.e. I’m a vegetarian but I eat fish, or and I heard this with my own ears I’m a vegetarian because I don’t eat red meat.
Vegans do nothing that interferes with animals – Eating, cosmetics or clothes. Their lives are completely free from the exploitation of animals.
With me so far? Ok good because it’s about to get more complicated.
There are a number of different types of vegans. There is the raw vegan who combines raw foodist and veganism and does not eat anything cooked over 48°C. (Don’t ask me why it’s an odd number it just is). There is the paleo vegan. This is the paleo diet without the meat. They have assumed what was eaten by our ancestors a paleo-vegan diet consists of vegetables and fruit and excludes all processed foods. Think of the paleo vegan as the super healthy vegan.
Ok now here comes the vegetarian varieties, sadly more appear every day which to me cheapens the movement. I can say that most of these variants seek to define a diet that the individual feels “right” and “healthy” with. The fact that some of these exist is I apologise but beyond my understanding. Your classic vegetarian is a Lacto-ovo vegetarian they eat milk and egg products but no meat. The Lacto vegetarian doesn’t eat the eggs. The ovo doesn’t eat the milk products but still consume the eggs. Still with me? A demi vegetarian eats no meat but does eat fish – Also known as a pescetarian. A flexitarian is a person who is cutting back on meat and to be short this should really not be acknowledged as a category – moving on. A polo vegetarian eats only chicken, dairy and eggs. A pesco vegetarian doesn’t eat red meat (Again does this deserve a title)
As there is some pressure from vegetarians to people who still consume animal flesh there is an even greater pressure from vegans to vegetarians. It is the frustration of not taking that final leap! Vegetarian is seen as a stopping point to veganism but as my mammy often says – “you can only sit on the fence for so long till you’ll get a sore arse” This means there is a certain pressure but on vegetarians to quickly complete the transition to veganism.
The reason I decided to write this blog and set the record straight is simple. Stop making categories! Do you eat any animal with a face? No? Ok, you’re a vegetarian! Do you also avoid all the by-products of animal exploitation? Ok excellent you are a vegan. Simples. If you fall somewhere in between you are a vegetarian. You have to go the whole hog (unfortunate pun but I’m proud of it all the same) to be considered a vegan. You are not a vegetarian if you eat anything that once walked, swam, slithered or crawled. It’s so simple. If you are a vegetarian good for you! I hope one day you’ll make the full transition and even if you don’t you’re still doing well. If you are a vegan well done! But stop giving those people who are trying a hard time! And If you absolutely have to place one of these diets under the other then consider the vegetarian a vegan in training!