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Vegan and Vegetarian Differences

Updated on February 22, 2017

Reasons to Become a Vegetarian

More more people are choosing a vegetarian lifestyle today for many reasons. Many do so because they believe in the rights of animals.

This has become a popular trend in Hollywood with Drew Barrymore, Kim Basinger, actor Kirk Cameron and Ashley Judd joining the vegetarian ranks to name just a few.

In history, there are some very famous vegetarians;

  • Socrates
  • Plato,
  • Gandhi
  • Mohammed
  • Leonardo da Vinc
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Sir Isaac Newton
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • H. G. Wells
  • Upton Sinclair
  • Albert Schweitzer
  • Charles Darwin.

Some become vegetarians for religious reasons and others for health reasons.. There are 7.3 million vegetarians in the United States and 22.8 million Americans follow a vegetarian inclined diet.

Fruits and Vegetables

source flickr
source flickr

Strict Vegan Lifestyle

Many vegetarians will still eat fish and poultry (particularly if it is free range chicken) while others won’t even eat an egg. Some people will not use any product that comes from an animal source, which could be pet food, clothing and other items. These are typically the Vegans, who follow a much more rigid diet.

This means they shouldn’t drink most alcoholic beverages as some of them are clarified by using animal ingredients. They can’t eat anything that is made using lard, like pie crusts, biscuits or many other pastries. Many medicine capsules use an animal based gelatin. They shouldn’t eat off of bone china or use bone handled knives.

Paint brushes and other brushes should be avoided. They must watch out for emulsifiers in chocolate and gelatin. They can’t wear wool or mohair or use any fabric with animal products. There are some chewing gums they can’t use. They can’t use anything with glycerin which limits many creams and makeup.

They can’t use cameras with film, as a film is made with gelatin. Body cleansers often contain animal fat. There are actually hundreds of items. I could add to this list, but I think most of us didn’t realize the number of ways animal waste products are used in a multitude of products. Not all vegans follow a lifestyle this rigid.

Fruits and Vegetables

source healthpopulation
source healthpopulation

Reasons to Consider Becoming a Vegetarian

Another reason to become a vegetarian is concern with the chemicals given to livestock, which include steroids, growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and other drugs. From a global perspective, others believe they are preserving conservation of fossil fuels, aiding water conservation, soil conservation, and forests conservation.

Twenty vegetarians can live off the amount of land required by one meat eater. For instance, in the United Kingdom, they feed their livestock enough food to feed 250,000,000 people worldwide and in the world 30,000,000 people die of starvation every year. In American, If we cut meat consumption by 10%, there would be 12,000,000 tons of extra grain which could feed 60,000,000.

Improve Your Health

The other major advantage to becoming a vegetarian is to improve your health. Animal products have saturated fat, and therefore contribute to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, possibly cancer and other diseases.

Other diseases include osteoporosis, kidney stones and gallstones, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, gum disease, acne, obesity, intestinal toxemia, sometimes a fiber deficiency or excess protein. If you are a meat eater, consider a balanced diet and eating everything in moderation.

Variety of Grains

source greencampaong
source greencampaong

Vegetarian Types

There are several types of Vegetarianism:

  • Total vegetarians thrive totally on plant food eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. They eat no animal products including meat, eggs, poultry, dairy products and honey
  • Vegans have an absolute commitment to vegetarianism following the above list, but also from using any products derived from animals
  • Lacto-vegetarians include milk and milk products in their diet in addition to the vegetarian food.
  • Lacto-ova-vegetarians consume eggs along with milk products and thevegetarian diet.
  • Pesco-vegetarians allow fish along with the vegetarian diet which is followed by millions of Asians
  • Pollo-vegetarians eat poultry (chicken, game birds), still omitting red meat with the vegetarian diet.

Colorful Fruits Enjoyed by Most Everyone

source coastalnc
source coastalnc

Cancer Society Recommendations

If you are a vegetarian, you most likely will eat an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. You are lowering your cholesterol level as well. You have to find adequate protein sources from nuts, seeds, tofu, veggie (soy) burgers, and grains. The less processing of soy products or any other goods, make it healthier for your body, so read your labels.

Flax seed or fish oil capsules are good sources of omega-3 and you can sprinkle the flax seeds over a salad or put them over vegetables in a wrap. It is possible to get all the nutrients and vitamins you need from a vegetarian diet. The one concern is getting adequate vitamin B12, so a vegetarian must supplement their diet with this vitamin or they will have a elevated homocysteine.

Elevated homocysteine levels has been linked to several disease and is a probable cause of early mortality, heart disease, stroke, and recurrent pregnancy loss. It may also be a partial cause of Alzheimer’s disease and some eye disorders. Supplement with amounts of 3 to 100 up per day which will lower your homocystene.

American Cancer Society Reccomendations

The American Cancer Society has recommended the following:

  • Cut down on total fat intake
  • Eat more high-fiber goods such as whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables
  • Include foods rich in vitamins A and C in your daily diet (Dark green and deep yellow fresh vegetables and fruits such as carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, peaches and apricots as sources of vitamin A; oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, green and red peppers for vitamin C).
  • Include cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, Brussell sprouts and cauliflower) in your diet.

These recommendations reflect recent scientific findings that excessive consumption of meat is a major contribution factors in colon and prostate cancer. The importance of fiber in a healthy diet as a preventative measure can’t be over-stressed as a way to prevent disease.

How to Follow a Vegetarian Diet

Food Allergies & Summary

Food allergies are another consideration when making food choices. The most common food allergies are beef, dairy eggs, and wheat, corn, cane and beet sugars. Scientists have found that any food eaten more often than every 4 days can cause a food allergy.

They have also discovered that 7 out of 10 chronic health problems such as arthritis, depression, chronic fatigue, constipation, asthma, ulcers, eczema, colds and sore throats, and even mental illness can be alleviated by avoiding specific foods. Obviously these foods are not all meat products/.

In Summaary:

It is important to make sure your vegetarian diet is balanced so you get enough protein, plenty of fiber, eat plenty of fresh foods (preferably organic) and supplement your Vitamin B12 and Omeg-3. There is little doubt that a vegetarian lifestyle is a healthier choice for your body.

Vegetarian Poll

Has this hub influenced your choice to become a vegetarian or change your eating habits?

  • 46% Yes, definitely.
  • 25% No, I like things the way they are.
  • 25% I may make some changes.
  • 4% I will think about it.
24 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby


Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    vocalcoach. I don't know if I have seen that video but I saw one a few years back about the way they treat animals and it is awful. Thaniks for your comments.

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    I am a vegetarian and love your hub. Very informative and excellent photos. Have you seen the video "Food Inc?"

    A real eye-opener and quite sad, especially the way chickens are mis-treated. It really upsets me. Thanks, Pam.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Katiem, That is so interesting. I have type O blood but am not a big meat eater. I have always love most type of vegetables but I like eggs. I don't use milk product including cheese or ice creams as they cause mucous and make asthma worse. Thanks for your comments.

    Donna, Thanks for your comments. I know you have to be careful to get enough B12. I love broccoli so that part is easy. Thank you for your comments.

  • profile image

    Donna 7 years ago

    SCIENCE FACT: The human body has absolutely no known requirement for meat or animal by-products.....vegan bodybuilders gain muscle mass on a solely plant protein based dietary intake of around 40-45g plant protein per day. Brocolli = 15g per 100g, Chicken = 30g per 100g and you don't get all the fat in brocolli...

  • katiem2 profile image

    katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

    Since the time I began to eat solid foods I rejected meat and eggs. My parents never made me eat it claiming I was born a vegetarian. I have since been a life long vegetarian with no desire to EVER eat meat as to me it just seems gross. I don't buy it or handle it...yuck! I'm very healthy, energetic and happy. My doctor marvels at my health and commends me for being a vegetarian, he claims that people with my blood type, A pos. are naturally vegetarians and yet most are conditioned to eat meat by their parents, interesting huh? You don't know until your taught and many have never been taught the diversity of a vegetarian diet, I aspire to be day maybe! :) Great hub Pamela, thanks for the veg tribute! :)

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    katrinasui, Thank you so much for your comment.

  • katrinasui profile image

    katrinasui 8 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading this hub. I like to eat vegetables. After reading this hub I am thinking to add more vegetables in my diet.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Zac828, Good for you. I wish you great success. I try to stay on a vegetarian diet but occasionally stray, usually with eating chicken and I have fish which I think is okay anyway. Thanks for your comments.

  • Zac828 profile image

    Zac828 8 years ago from England

    I'm so glad I read this, I've done my first week without meat (apart from a sausage sandwich, then I remembered halfway through it that I shouldn't eat it, been a tough week!). I guess I fall into the Pollo-vegetarian, but have felt much better about things than usual. Stronger and more alert too. I'm going for it and this hub just gives me confidence. Thank you.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Thanks for your comment.

  • profile image

    HelloEcoMDR 8 years ago

    Thanks for the interesting video. I prefer to say that we "choose" not to eat certain things rather than "can't" because can't infers restriction, and that one diet is normal and full as if a vegan diet is not.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Support Med, It is interesting that there are so many types of being a vegetarian but the awareness of the importance of vegetables and fruits is good. Thanks for your comment.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 8 years ago from Michigan

    I must say that I did not know know the many types of vegetarians there are! I could not be a vegetarian, but this article definitely makes you aware of the need to consume more veggies and fruit. Good hub!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Michael-Jay, Thank you for your comment.

  • Michael Jay profile image

    Michael Jay 8 years ago

    This is a very interesting hub! I really enjoyed reading this. You have written this very well and the article was really informative. The lay-out was also great.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Nancy, Thank you for your comment.

    Teresa, Thank you for your comment. I have been a pesco-vegan much of the time also as I really like fish and it it a good source of protein with low saturated fat.

  • Teresa Laurente profile image

    Maria Teresa Rodriguez - Laurente 8 years ago from San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

    My friend, I am a pesco-vegan all the way. I like pork but I feel guilty eating it. Not for religion or anything. Just necessary for my health regimen which I have started 2 years ago and been meaning to do all my life. Thank you for this great information. More power to you Pamela99.

  • nancy_30 profile image

    nancy_30 8 years ago from Georgia

    Very good and informative hub. I don't think I could be a vegetarian but I understand why some people decide to become one. I learned a lot from this hub. Keep up the good work.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Brenda, Thank you for your comment.

  • profile image

    Brenda Massey 8 years ago

    Great article on the vegan lifestyle. I've long believed the adding of antibiotics to livestock contributes to many diseases.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    MrToore, Thanks for your comment. I've found the doing it is the hardest part when you're changing lifelong habits.

  • MrTooree profile image

    MrTooree 8 years ago

    Great hub !!! Gives me a lot to think about. I know fruit, grains, and veggies are the way to go. I just need to do it. Thanks !!!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Thank you all so much for your comment.s

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

    I love veggies, but I need meat! I am trying to replace much of my meat with fish, however. Great hub!

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    Pamela... I think this hub is beautifully done!!

  • profile image

    coffeesnob 8 years ago


    Good hub - I love my vegees

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 8 years ago

    I like your clear explaination about vegetarianisms and vegans and all the others in between. I can see the merit of such a diet. Personally, I'm not a vegetarian, though I won't like a lot of meat. Thanks for sharing and maybe, this is the week to win. Good luck.

  • LRobbins profile image

    Laurel 8 years ago from Germany

    Very informative hub! In the past few months, I've signficantly reduced my meat consumption and can't believe how much better I feel. I had no idea there were so many different types of vegetarians.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Sage, I'm glad you enjoyed my article. It is a big step to completely change your diet and it is not for everyone. I have not always stuck to the diet as many do, but more often than not I eat vegetarian. Holidays can be tricky. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Sage Williams profile image

    Sage Williams 8 years ago

    Pamela - Your hubs are always extremely informative and well written. Over the years I have changed my diet. I am always focused on eating healthy. However, I guess I'm not exactly ready to do the entire vegetarian scene just yet.

    I know many vegetarians and admire their healthy lifestyle. I also had a friend who was a vegan and it drove me nuts. Right down to the clothing like you talk about in your article. It was always difficult to know what I could make for dinner when she came. She had to read every single label.

    What I didn't know, and learned from your article is just how many different types of vegetarians there are.

    Great Job!


  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Sandy & Mystique, Thank you so much for your comments. I'm glad to know you are both evaluating your diet.

  • Mystique1957 profile image

    Mystique1957 8 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

    Dearest Pam...

    This is an excellently written hub! It is very detailed, and it certainly gives one reasons to rethink one´s eating habits! I enjoyed it and learned much from it! Thanks for sharing!

    Warmest regards and blessings to you always,


  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    Nice hub. I'm seriously thinking eating more vegetables.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    GPAGE, Thank you for your comments. I am glad your husband is doing well with the diet. It is a big change and I think hard for children as there friends are probably not eating the same way. Best of luck with the family.

  • GPAGE profile image

    GPAGE 8 years ago from California

    Pamela...wanted to stop in and check out one of your hubs. I'm so glad I found this one! I wrote a hub about our first vegetarian Thanksgiving (Tofurky).

    My husband has been one for 8 months and he has experienced a BIG difference in his body........all of the things you mention here.......he was sensitive to the hormones in the foods and I often had to make sure that I bought the right stuff.....I'm slowly getting the kids off of meat even though they naturally do not eat much of it. We mostly eat fish in the house along with meat substitutes from vegetarian sources. I also loved the list of famous vegetarians......GREAT hub! Best, GPAGE

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Darlene, Once you get started and find some good recipes it does get easier. There are a lot of good soups. We have a Whole Foods store that has a lot of already cooked items and I have tried some of them and found I liked things I thought I wouldn't like. All we can do is try anyway. Thanks for your comment.

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    I have started disliking mean, the more a learn about the process the more it makes me gag....but I do not very satified when I eat my live green food. I am always looking in the fridge. Great hub Pam, this is what my doctor tell me I have to do, HAVE to do....

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Quildon, Thank you for your comment. I didn't know there was a name for that diet until I did a little research, but I would imagine it has been a healthy move for you.

  • profile image

    quildon 8 years ago

    Thanks for a very informative hub. I made the move to semi-vegetarianism three years ago. I don't eat any type of meat, but I do eat eggs, so what does that make me? A pesco-ovo-vegetarian? But whatever it is, I like it.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Jack, Thanks for your comment.

  • TnFlash profile image

    TnFlash 8 years ago from Tampa, Florida

    Pam, Great Hub! Keep up the good work.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Hello, Thank you for your comment. I think most of the people so far feel the same way you do.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for a great informative hub, especially about vegan. I persoally need my meat. Sorry.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    BPOP, Rev Lady & Quill, Thanks you all for your comments.

  • profile image

    "Quill" 8 years ago

    Nothing like a "Quill" salad summer or winter, ask Mrs. Quill. I think its more a case of looking what we eat and finding a balance, intake and excersise are so important.

    Great Hub and much can be gained from reading it...

    Be Blessed

  • RevLady profile image

    RevLady 8 years ago from Lantana, Florida

    Pamela99, thanks for the encouragement toward vegetarianism. You made some very significant and strong points. Something to think about cautiously.

    Forever His,

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 8 years ago

    Very interesting hub, Pamela. I have toyed with this eating style, but then I change my mind every single time!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Tom, I must agree that its hard to beat pulled pork, but if you are writing an article in the Hubmob you must follow their topic and today is Vegetarians and Vegans. Thanks for your comment.

  • Tom Whitworth profile image

    Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


    I didn't see a mention of PETA those left wing nuts who demomstrate on all thing where they prefer animals over humans. I like pulled pork sandwich on pita bread.


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