Going vegan is not always as simple as it seems. Omnivores who want to become vegan/vegetarian face difficulties when turning to such a lifestyle, as the foods of animal origin represent important sources of proteins. It is best to give up on these foods gradually, in order to prevent any adverse reactions that could come with a sudden transition. As soon as the red meat is excluded from your diet, the problem is whether to become a vegetarian or a vegan.
Diet Differences Between Vegans and Vegetarians
While vegans completely avoid foods of animal origin, vegetarians are less restrictive. Vegans are referred to as strict vegetarians, unlike the other types of vegetarians that include certain animal products in their diets:
- ovo vegetarians consume eggs, but no other animal product
- lacto-vegetarians include dairy products in their day-to-day meals
- lacto-ovo-vegetarians have no restrictions regarding eggs and dairy products
- pesco-vegetarians also eat fish and seafood along with dairy products and eggs
- semi-vegetarians follow diets that exclude red meat, but no other foods of animal origin.
Fortunately for vegans, there are alternatives to dairy products, and even to eggs. Vegan cheese, soy milk, and a powder based on potato starch can successfully replace the animal products in vegan recipes. Unlike normal milk, cream, and cheese, vegan dairy products will not pose any dangers to your health.
Lifestyle Differences Between Vegetarians and Vegans
Besides differences in the diets, vegans and vegetarians also distinguish through several ethical concepts. While certain types of vegetarians have no problem at all with eating dairy products or eggs, vegans also refuse to wear clothing made from animal products, such as leather, fur or wool.
Through this attitude vegans emphasize their respect for all living things. First, their dietary restrictions suggest that animal products are not healthy, and secondary, vegans protest against the exploitation of animals. Another issue is represented by the genetic enhancements that are experimented on some animals. For example, the wool of the Merino sheep is more than necessary and sometimes it even equals the body weight. In these conditions, it comes to no surprise that sheep die of heat exhaustion. Vegans are also against wool shearing, which is believed to cause suffering in sheep.
Vegan or Vegetarian?
It is up to you whether becoming a vegan is better than being vegetarian. If you share the same ideas with vegans and your body can bear all the dietary restrictions, benefits will soon come. However, being vegetarian/vegan will help you to prevent heart coronary diseases and other serious health conditions that are so common in omnivores.