The easiest way to explain the difference between veganism and vegetarianism is by saying that vegetarianism is usually treated as a diet brought on either by health reasons or because of a desire to help end animal cruelty.
Veganism on the other hand is more a way of living that completely eliminates eating or using any product that was produced using animals in any way.
What do vegetarians eat that vegans don’t
Vegetarians generally allow themselves more freedom in what they can eat when it comes to animal products. They will usually eat eggs, as well as dairy products such as milk, cheese, cream and yoghurt. They also will not usually refrain from using products such as cold glue which can sometimes be made with animal products, however you will seldom see a vegetarian wearing a leather jacket. Some vegetarians will occasionally eat fish or sea food, but doing so makes their diet not a strictly vegetarian one.
What vegans avoid
Being a vegan doesn’t simply mean avoiding meat or animal products in your diet. It means making a conscious effort to cut all animal products and by-products from your lifestyle, and this can be more difficult than it sounds. Animal products are used in a wide range of clothing, household products and even technology, and it can be difficult to spot them because the names of the products do not usually say ‘extract of goat hoof’.
Cosmetics are where a lot of people struggle to figure out whether animal products have been used or not. Lanolin is a product which is made out of animal by-products, and is present in a lot of cosmetics such as lipstick. Animal fats and other tissues are also often used, and called by innocent-sounding names. As a vegan it is important to educate yourself about the different kinds of animal products that can be present in the things you use every day.
When it comes to clothing vegans will not wear anything that has been made out of an animal, or that was produced using animal products. This includes wool, leather and fur, but some companies have been set up to produce vegan shoes and clothing that ensure that no animal-based glues, fibres or by-products have been used at any point during that item’s manufacture.
Vegans get enough protein in their diets
This is asked frequently, and the answer is definitely ‘yes’. The British Medical Association issued a statement to the effect that a properly balanced vegan diet is just as good a source of protein as a diet based on animal protein. There is simply a lack of consumer education about which non-animal products are good sources of protein. Vegans supplement their protein needs by eating things like legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, soy proteins and soy milk, veggie burgers and sausages and tofu.
Vegans help animals
Undoubtedly. When a wave of veganism or vegetarianism goes through an area it reduces the demand for meat products, which makes supermarkets cut back on their orders for these products and stock more fresh fruit and vegetable produce. Farmers who produce meat products in turn then stock and slaughter fewer animals. This not only reduces the number of animals in the area that are tortured and killed for food every year, but also reduces the carbon footprint that is produced from efforts to feed those people who previously ate meat products.