The difference between Vegan and Vegetarian

Vegan vegetarian

Last week I was offered a slice of pizza, an offer I politely turned down. “I’m vegan,” I said, expecting a blank stare. Instead, I got “Just pull off the pepperoni then.” I was surprised that this person didn’t know the difference between vegan and vegetarian. As it turns out a lot of people don’t know the difference between the two. VeggieVannie to the rescue. I’ll explain the difference between vegan and vegetarian and you’ll never have to ask someone to pull of the meat again. 

Vegetarian vs Vegan

Simply put vegetarians do not eat meat. That means no chicken, no pork, no beef, no fish, no lamb, no goat, basically no living or dead creatures. 

Vegans also do not eat any animals, however, we vegans take it a step further. The choice to not consume any products that are derived from animals is the main difference.  This includes eggs and dairy. No milk, or cheese, no milk chocolate or ice cream, no mayo or creamy dressings. By removing dairy from your diet you really become aware of how many products actually contain it in some form. This makes vegans avid label readers. 

Why name it Vegan?

I am a curious girl. Asking questions is just part of who I am, which makes Google my best friend. The word Vegan has been around since 1944. I can’t even begin to imagine what conventional people must have thought of vegans in the 1940’s. Regardless, there was someone who must have coined that name and that person was Donald Waston. He was the founder of the Vegan Society and as such took the first 3 letter of vegetarian and the last 2 letters and thus Vegan was born. 

Hidden animal products

It can be surprising to many people that some of their favorite foods contain hidden animal products.  Let’s take gummy bears for example. We know gummy bears are not made of meat. They don’t appear to be made of eggs or have dairy in them, so they are vegan right? Wrong. Along with all gelatin-based products gummy bears are made from the bones of animals.  

How about sprinkles? On the surface, they appear to be vegan, but you know that glossy coating sprinkles have on them? Well, that gloss comes from an insect-derived ingredient. Unless vegan-friendly, sprinkles are out of the question.  

Substitutions for vegans

In today’s world, anything can be made vegan; you just have to search for it.  Agar agar powder is an awesome substitute for gelatin and you can easily buy vegan sprinkles online. You can sub in a soft tofu to replace your scrambled eggs or have a slice of hickory smoked tempo rather than bacon. In baking, you can swap eggs for flax seed eggs, chia egg, banana, applesauce, or aquafaba, which is the water in a can of chickpeas. 

As a vegan, I still enjoy all of the same foods as I once did. When I want ice cream, I’ll have coconut ice cream made with coconut milk. Freeze a banana then toss it into a food processor with some peanut butter and cacao powder and you have chocolate monkey ice cream. I have come to really enjoy the taste of dark chocolate, and did you know Oreo’s are vegan? 

The difference between vegan and vegetarian is simple. Vegetarians don’t eat meat and vegans do not consume dairy, eggs, meat, or any other animal-derived products. For me, if it came from an animal I don’t eat it. 

~Peace & Love your plants, VeggieVannie 

If you would like to learn more about what happened to me once I became a vegan I wrote a really personal post about my experience. You can find it here

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