Vegan and vegetarian diets are increasingly popular, with more and more people curbing their consumption of animal products each year.
These dietary lifestyles are adopted for many different reasons and may be environmental, ethical, or health-related. Whether your goal is to lose weight, reduce your carbon footprint, or simply include more fruits and vegetables in your diet, a vegan or vegetarian diet can help!
People turn to plant-food based diets for many different reasons, but what exactly is the difference between veganism and vegetarianism?
What do Vegetarians Eat?
Vegetarians don't eat animals; this includes meat, poultry and fish. They do however, eat other animal products such as dairy (e.g. milk, cheese, yoghurt), eggs and honey.
People may cut out meat from their diet for a variety of reasons. Concern for animal welfare, the environment, and personal health are all common motivations for people to lead a meat-free life.
The health benefits of a vegetarian diet are well documented and eliminating meat from your diet can see your risk of a number of serious illnesses drop significantly.
There are three main types of vegetarian diet:
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: This is the most common type of vegetarian diet and includes both eggs and dairy.
- Lacto Vegetarian: Lacto vegetarians will eat dairy but avoid eggs.
- Ovo Vegetarian: Ovo vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy products.
What do Vegans Eat?
People following a vegan diet avoid eating animal products and byproducts entirely. This means no meat, fish, eggs, honey, or dairy; instead a vegan diet consists largely of plant-based foods.
Plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and pulses mean that a vegan diet is typically bursting with nutrients, healthy fats and dietary fiber. This is great not only for your energy levels but also for your overall health and appearance.
If you’re considering a vegan diet, you can expect to enjoy numerous long-term health benefits as a result. Vegans have a lower risk of developing all sorts of serious illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
Many people following vegan diets will extend their boycott of animal products beyond what they eat and will usually not wear leather or fur.
Our global meat consumption has skyrocketed over the last 50 years and the meat industry has grown bigger and more efficient to keep up with demand. Excessive use of antibiotics, de-forestation and intensive farming are all common practices, the carbon emissions from which are a top contributor to global warming.
As public awareness of the issues surrounding the meat industry grows, more people than ever are adopting vegan and vegetarian diets. Not only can a meat-free diet dramatically reduce your carbon footprint, it can also benefit both your long and short-term health in many different ways.