The Ultimate Guide to Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
At first glance vegetarian and vegan diets may seem alike, but there is a world of difference between them. Both are plant-based diets and boast several health benefits. Knowing the similarities and differences can help you make a healthy lifestyle change or prepare satisfying meals for your friends and family.
The Vegetarian Diet
Most people are probably familiar with a vegetarian diet. Vegetarians abstain from eating animal products and get their nutritional fill from fresh fruits and vegetables. There are several types of vegetarians categorized by how their individual diets look.
- Ovo-lacto vegetarians exclude meat, poultry and fish but do eat eggs and dairy products.
- Lacto-vegetarians avoid meat products and eggs but allow milk, butter, yogurt and other dairy products.
- Ovo-vegetarians exclude meat products and dairy but allow eggs.
- Pescatarians are vegetarians that eat fish as the only animal product.
- Pollotarians are vegetarians that eat only poultry as the only animal product.
There are several health benefits of a vegetarian diet including weight loss, staving off diabetes, heart disease and reduced stroke chances. At first glance a diet free of meat may make it hard for you to meet your nutritional needs. However a balanced plant-based diet meets all your daily nutritional needs with the added health benefits. You might also worry that you would miss eating meat as a vegetarian. Vegetarian recipes are easy substitute for animal products and there is a wide range of delicious faux meat products on the market. Vegetarian chili is one of the easiest recipes to convert!
The Vegan Life
Veganism is much more than a diet. It is a way of life and cruelty-free living for many individuals. The vegan diet consists of plant-based foods with the complete absence of any animal products. This covers eggs, dairy, honey and other animal product derivatives. Animal by-products appear in several items on the market. In keeping with a philosophy of cruelty-free living vegans also avoid buying or using any products that contain animal products such as leather. Since veganism approaches life with empathy towards animals and animal welfare is important to many people who maintain this diet and lifestyle.
Vegans enjoy the same health benefits as vegetarians. Vegan cooking is quite easy once you know what you need to substitute for certain products like eggs and dairy. Non-dairy milks, butters and cheeses are readily available. Bananas, apple sauce or tofu can be used to replace eggs in a recipe. Vegan recipes are easily adapted from vegetarian ones. Many are quite flavorful and creative! Nutrition and flavor are not something that need to be sacrificed while being vegan. The vegan life lets you eat healthy while boosting your spirit and heart by focusing on compassion for animals and then environment.
While both of these diets are rewarding and healthy, always check with your physician before beginning any kind of major diet change. There is no shortage of tasty vegetarian or vegan recipes. Don’t be afraid to try one for supper and mix things up!