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What's the difference between a vegetarian, vegan, and plant based diet?


Many people who are new vegetarianism have questions. That's normal. If you wonder what the difference is between a vegetarian, vegan, and a plant based diet, then you are not alone.  They may all seem the same to some people, but there are some distinct differences. Here you will find the break down of what each one is.

What is the difference between a vegetarian, vegan, and plant based diet?

  • Vegetarian. A vegetarian is someone who doesn't eat any animal flesh or products made from their flesh, but they may or may not eat their by products, such as milk and eggs. Vegetarians do not eat fish, chicken, gelatin, cheese made with animal rennet, etc.
  • Vegan. Vegan is a type of vegetarian. Veganism is more than a diet, it is a lifestyle. A vegan doesn't eat any animal products at all. In addition to that, they also don't go to circuses, zoos, wear leather, etc. Vegans try to minimize their contribution to animal cruelty in all areas of their life. 
  • Plant Based Diet. If you don't eat any animal products at all, but it's only about your diet and not reducing cruelty in all areas of your life, then you are following a plant based diet. Those who follow a whole foods plant based diet eat all healthy plant based foods.
  • Pescetarian. Not any type of vegetarian. This involves excluding all animals from the diet, except from seafood. In reality, this person is likely causing the death to far more animals than other meat-eating diets. Why? Consider a dinner or shrimp, oysters, or other types of seafood. There are sometimes 5-25 animals killed for that one meal. Pescetarians like to group themselves in with vegetarians, but they are not any type of vegetarian.

There is a lot of misconception about what a vegetarian or vegan is, as well as what a plant based diet and pescetarian are and what their food and lifestyle includes. Adding to the confusion is that research shows many people who call themselves vegetarian end up still eating fish, or they eat  meat once in a while. The research also shows that those who call themselves vegetarian and eat meat once in a while tend to be vegetarian for health reasons, rather than for ethical reasons. Those who choose vegetarianism for ethical reason tend to be repulsed by meat and don't eat it at any time.


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