Health Nugget – Vegan vs. Vegetarian

The study in the area of health is never ending. One health article brought to my attention that there were more than just two or three categories of vegetarians and vegans. I am sure many of you will be as surprised as I was to know just how many different descriptions there are. You may find the category you are in, or maybe you are in the middle of a couple of them. Read on!

“According to the Vegetarian Society, ‘Vegetarians don’t eat any fish, meat or chicken’ and also ‘don’t eat products or by-products of slaughter.’ Vegetarian diets may contain variable amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Dairy and eggs may be included, depending on the type of diet you follow. The most common types of vegetarians include:

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Avoid all animal flesh, but do consume dairy and egg products.
  • Lacto vegetarians: Avoid animal flesh and eggs, but do consume dairy products.
  • Ovo vegetarians: Avoid all animal products except eggs.
  • Vegans: Avoid all animal and animal-derived products.*
  • Pesco: Pescatarians, while not technically meeting the common definition of vegetarian, follow a semi-vegetarian diet that includes fish and other seafood but no poultry or meat.
  • Flexitarians: Part-time vegetarians do eat animal flesh and, although primarily plant-based, they technically do not fall under the definition of vegetarianism.

“In some literature you might come across these as well:

  • Demi Vegetarian: Consumes fish, eggs, and dairy products but not meat.
  • Semi Vegetarian: Another group of vegetarians who sometimes voluntarily control their meat intake and who may be viewed as flexitarians.

“Veganism is currently defined by the Vegan Society 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.’ Since this is the strictest form of vegetarianism, a vegan or plant based diet not only excludes animal flesh but also any animal-derived ingredients, as well as dairy and eggs.

“These products include gelatin, carmine, pepsin, shellac, albumin, whey, casein, among others. Vegans consciously choose to avoid all animal by-products because they believe not only that this has the largest impact on their health and the environment but also because they seek to avoid all forms of animal exploitation and harm.

“Vegans may be categorized into different types:

  • Ethical Vegans are the most common and put their ethics first. They respect and care for animals and the environment. Ethical vegans do not consume any dairy product, whether it is animal milk or cheese made from animal milk. They also avoid eggs and honey, as well as the use of any product made from animal skin or parts.
  • Plant-Based Vegans follow diets based on plant foods only.
  • Raw-Food Vegans do not eat any animal by-product or anything cooked above the temperature of 115-degree Fahrenheit. It is believed that this causes food to lose its nutrients and enzymes.”

Were you able to figure out into which category you might fit?

The reality is that God wants each of us to be health-conscious and to preserve our bodies in the best condition we can that we may give glory to Him.

Most people are aware of the health-destroying foods that are available. May God give us the courage to choose the right and to live the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). We must preserve our bodies in the best way we can. God says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee” (Hosea 4:6).

*Much counsel has been given in regard to the healthiest balanced diet—the vegan diet, consisting of fruit, grains, vegetables and nuts. However, the vegan lifestyle, as with many others, has ditches on either side which are easy to fall into. One is to eliminate all animal products including honey and leather. To eliminate the use of skins and furs from those people living in freezing climates would cause great hardship. The other ditch claims that soft drinks and potato chips are an acceptable vegan diet. God calls upon His people to be balanced and use common sense.