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I am a new vegan and just starting to write a blog about my journey thus far. http://griffinwolf2008.blogspot.com/

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What's the difference between vegan and vegetarian?

     I have noticed that there seems to be some confusion between the terms vegan and vegetarian, even among those who choose the lifestyle. Some don't realize the two terms are different, some say they're vegetarian when they're actually vegan and vise versa. I find this to be very frustrating, although, even as a teenager myself, I thought the term "vegan" was just short for "vegetarian." So I'm not the only one who used to have this misconception.

     A vegan is simply someone who doesn't eat animal products. Period. No cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, milk, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, butter or ANYTHING with ANY animal byproducts in them (there are some foods that actually have bone and hoofs in them to give certain foods a jelly like texture.... ewww!). Many go so far as not buy products and avoid companies that have tested on animals, use animal products in them and that are generally better for the environment. It's a very strict diet.

     A Vegetarian is someone who doesn't entirely eliminate animal products from their diet and aren't nearly as strict as vegans. Many vegetarian's may try to eat USDA organic or free range type animal products as much as possible, to try and look out for the welfare of animals on some level.

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat both dairy products and eggs; this is the most common type of vegetarian diet.
  • Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but avoid eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarian. Eats eggs but not dairy products.
  • Pescetarians eat seafood
     Even with this simple distinction between these two diet choices, it can be difficult to know exactly what someone means when they say that they are vegan or vegetarian. If you are having them over for a dinner party or a BBQ, simply ask them to clarify. Some vegetarians can be just as strict as Vegans. Many people won't mind if you ask them if you explain where you're coming from. Ask them to send you a couple recipe's that you can make or make the dinner a pot luck style to make sure that everyone has something that they can eat and enjoy. If you do not want to ask, simply just look up some recipe's and don't include any animal products in that dinner. There are many alternatives for cheese, butter and other animal substitutes that are very yummy!

     When it comes to gift giving, as I stated above, some vegan's and vegetarian's are very animal and earth conscious. If you aren't sure what to get him or her, simply ask for some guidelines. What company should I go with? Is it O.K. if I give you a gift card to a certain store? What would you like to receive? You need to also be upfront with what your budget is. Most people will be respectful and understand because allot of people aren't made out of money.

     Personally, I would rather get a gift card because I know it's difficult to buy for people sometimes. I don't see it as "oh I'm too lazy to figure out what I should get you." I see it as "I'm not sure what to get you but I want to give you something." I don't see it as a bad thing at all. Anyway, that is besides the point. It can all be very confusing for non- vegans and vegetarian's as it is for those who have chosen the lifestyle. The biggest thing you need to do is just ask questions and do some research.

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