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Vegan is Not Short for Vegetarian

Updated on October 21, 2014

The 1970s was a decade where eating veggies really became popular

Vegetarian lifestyles have been well admired and trendy since the 1970s and continued so through today. The term vegetarian has encompassed a variety of things and changed over the years. The individuals choosing to follow this particular type of lifestyle has grown since becoming fashionable all those years ago. Although the term vegan and vegetarian are used in our language, a definition of both is important. They are not the same thing and not interchangeable. Discover the differences in both.

Many people need a detailed description of what we are discussing when we speak of these terms. Vegetarian is often confused with vegan. There are ways to differentiate between the two and clarify them more easily. Vegan does not mean vegetarian and visa versa.

One of the biggest similarities the two have is the fact these are lifestyle choices. This is much more than simply choosing to eat a certain diet. A person has the way of life affected along with what foodstuffs are consumed. Telling them apart takes a little more explanation.


Vegan is considered a stricter discipline. Vegan removes all animal goods or belongings including foodstuffs, from their daily living. Animal goods include clothing, shoes, bedding and even furniture. They abolish dairy foods as well as meat from their diets. Dairy is considered a byproduct of an animal and obtained only by misusing them.

Examples of a vegan lifestyle means not wearing any animal products such as leather, wool, and silk. Even down pillows or comforters are a no-no. They have made a conscious choice to uphold a standard of living of which a diet is only a small part of.


Vegetarian lifestyles are animal free diets only. They do not carry the same conviction as vegans when it comes to other things such as clothes or furniture. Only what they eat is animal free.

The vegetarian diet gets rid of meat, poultry and fish. Tons of folks mistakenly believe only items such as red or white meat are excluded. However, any item protein products such as eggs, cheese and dairy are omitted from the menu as well.

Lots of vegetarians even expel dairy. All vegetarians make a change to their diet, although not anything else included in the way they live possibly related to animals. They do things such as continuing to wear leather and sleep with down comforters.

All vegetarians are not created equal. There are differentiations inside of the vegetarian sector. For an example, ovo-vegetarians do eat eggs, but no dairy and lacto-vegetarians do eat dairy, but exclude eggs and lacto-ovo vegetarians eat both dairy and eggs. The scale is wide and varied from one end to another.

Vegans and vegetarians are combined with their outlook for ingesting meat in their diet and they will generally for the most part find combined beliefs on the humanitarian issues tied to meat. Some of these principle beliefs include things such as cattle consumes more protein in grains than they deliver when processed for their meat.

If all of the land currently used worldwide for grazing cattle was converted to growing crops, world hunger would be eliminated with ease. One enormous argument of both vegans and vegetarians for their ideas and values touches on imports and exports. An enormous point is scored when discovering third world countries produce cattle to export to richer countries while their own populations starve.

Organizations promoting vegans and vegetarians

Many people have admitted living this way is a testament of respect to all living creatures. The standards set forth by lots of these factions were lucky enough to be noticed during the 1970s. This was a rather unique period in American history. Countless individuals were engrossed in saving the natural resources of the planet. Cleaning up water sources, reducing the amount of trees destroyed, finding alternate sources of energy other than oil and other similar philosophies. This list included animal life.

Since the 70s there have been groups interested in saving animals with the belief there is cruelty in how they are used to form every day human life. Animals are not expendable to make life easier for the human population is the mindset. The viewpoint is this is not the way to live and changes need to occur.

There is a conviction exploitation happens in unsafe, cruel and life threatening scientific experiments. This occurs before companies release drugs and other medical treatments to humans. Coats and hats are crafted from hides along with slaughter houses preparing meat before finding its way to the grocery store. All of these combined create a firestorm of controversy and discussion driving more individuals towards veganism and related beliefs. More importantly individuals are coming together to form organizations to share these personal convictions and principles with others. Some of the methods used are dangerous, illegal and have the opposite intended affect.

Organizations such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have a loud voice in driving humans away from interfering in animal lives and accepted a vegan or vegetarian existence. This American animal rights organization founded in 1980 proudly admits they have just over 3 million members worldwide and continues to grow at a rapid pace.


Organizations such as PETA are growing and attracting more members. Not all hold the radical beliefs many associate with persons choosing to forgo meat in their diets and lives. Some are more tame than others. Not every vegan or vegetarian belongs to an organization.

Knowing the difference between these two similar dogmas related to not eating meat is necessary to make an informed decision in choosing one or the other.

know the difference between vegan and vegetarian

vegetarian and vegan are two different sides to a similar coin, but not the same coin.
vegetarian and vegan are two different sides to a similar coin, but not the same coin. | Source

Both a vegan and a vegetarian diet can be extremely healthy and beneficial for a lot of people. However, before taking the road to living without meat, dairy, poultry and fish in your diet make certain you educate yourself on necessary changes that should be made to assure you are still receiving the vitamins and minerals your body needs through alternate sources. Additionally, if you have any serious health conditions discuss with your physician your interest in changing your diet and what that may mean to your health.

Vegans and vegetarians have numerous similarities. Though, vegan is not short for vegetarian and both should be investigated thoroughly through education before deciding this is a lifestyle change you would like to make.

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    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I love health topic and you success in presenting great information about vegetarian. Thanks for share with us. Well done and vote up!