Vegetarianism has existed for centuries. From the Buddha to ancient Hinduism, people have adopted a vegetarian diet for the health, religion or other reasons. In the modern world, the range of reasons why people become a vegan or vegetarian is exceptionally diverse. Many adopt this lifestyle because they believe that it is wrong to kill animals or because they do not believe that a meat-filled diet is the best way to get daily nutrients. Other people adopt this diet because it is better for the environment and uses less resources than eating a meat-based diet. No matter what the reasons are, individuals have the basic chose between having a vegan or a vegetarian diet.
The Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian Diets
A Vegan Diet
Typically, a vegan diet will consist of the complete avoidance of anything related to animals. This means that obvious meat products like chicken, red meat and fish need to be avoided. In addition, a vegan will avoid animal by-products like gelatin, eggs, dairy or honey. Many vegans will also avoid animal-made clothing like wool or leather. Instead of eating meat and meat by-products, a vegan will get their protein from various foods like seeds, beans, nuts, grain, fruit and vegetables. Although a vegan dieting can be limiting, there are many recipes available that offer delicious alternatives to the standard American diet.
A Vegetarian Diet
Unlike a vegan, vegetarians can be more lax in their approach to by-product. In general, a vegetarian will not eat red meat like beef or pork. Some relaxed vegetarians might eat fish or chicken, although it is more normal for these products to be avoided. A lacto-ovo vegetarian will include dairy and eggs in their diet. Other vegetarians will allow foods like gelatin or honey in their diet. Someone who eats poultry is called a pollo-vegetarian, and someone who eats fish is called a pesco-vegetarian. Strict vegetarians will not count these last two groups as actual vegetarians, although the pesco- or pollo-vegetarian may consider their diet to be a vegetarian one.
The Difference Between a Vegan and a Vegetarian
One of the main differences is in the level of commitment to a vegetarian diet. While both groups will not eat meat, a vegan goes beyond this by avoiding meat by-products like honey or gelatin. When it comes to household items, cosmetics and clothes, a vegan will make sure that they are not using anything that has been created or eliminated by an animal.
People choose to adopt a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle for dietary or moral reasons. Often, these individuals believe that animals and life should be respect, and modern animals are commercialized for the benefit of mankind. Other than health and moral reasons, there are some religions that call for vegetarian diets. Hinduism focuses on vegetarian diets and advocates for the complete avoidance of cow by-products. While Judaism is against pork and shellfish, Christians may adopt a vegetarian diet during Lent or a pesco-vegetarian diet on Fridays.
Famous Vegans and Vegetarians
Einstein was once quoted saying that a vegetarian diet would be the only way to ensure the continued success of humanity. This is because it takes more energy and resources to raise animals than it does to raise plants. As land and natural resources become limited, Einstein believed that there would be a necessary and natural switch to eating less meat.
Known for his work in comedy, Russell Brand has been a vegetarian since he was only 14 years old. He believes that it is mean to eat animals, and was named the Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in 2011.
Following a heart surgery, Bill Clinton chose to adopt a vegetarian diet to ensure his long-term health. As a former United States president, he spends his time focusing on his wife’s campaign and humanitarian efforts.
Bob Harper is one of the physical fitness trainers on the show, the Biggest Loser. He originally was a vegetarian, but ended up becoming a vegan after he adjusted to the dietary changes. Harper believes that his vegetarian and vegan diet is one of the reasons he now feels strong and clear headed.
For a long time, Benjamin Franklin adopted a vegetarian diet. At the time, he lived with his unmarried brother who was paying for another location to feed them their meals. After reading a book about a vegetarian diet, he offered to keep his half of the dining money and use it to provide his own meals. Franklin found that eating a light repast of vegetable-based fare gave him a clearer mind for learning and working. A few years later, he started eating meat on occasion to make it easier to find food and eat with friends in colonial America, but he still returned to a vegetable diet for set time periods.