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Vegetarian vs. Vegan vs. Plant-based. What is the difference?

Updated: Jul 18, 2020

So you might’ve heard some different words floating around the internet regarding diet, such as vegetarian, vegan, plant-based etc. But what do they mean and are they the same thing? The short answer is no, they are certainly not the same thing and I’m here to tell you why and hopefully put an end to this confusion! To answer the first question, let’s look at some basic definitions.

A vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat or fish, but will still consume eggs, dairy and other animal products. It’s interesting that the Google definition says “for moral, religious, or health reasons.” when in fact a vegetarian diet is far from healthy or ethical (and I will talk more about this later).

A vegan is someone who chooses not to use or exploit animals in anyway possible. The Vegan Society defines it as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. Veganism is NOT a diet, but rather a compassionate lifestyle choice, but because a big part of that lifestyle involves not consuming animal products, a lot of people confuse it with just another way of eating (or another fad diet).

A plant-based diet is a way of eating that excludes all animal products, mainly focussing on whole plant-based foods. A lot of people will follow a plant-based diet to overcome health issues or lose weight.