Vegetarian vs Vegan Lifestyles

When I first gave up meat, I wasn't quite sure there was a difference between vegetarian vs vegan lifestyles. I thought it was just a matter of semantics.

So my intention in this post is to not only define it for you but also make it very clear to you what the main differences between the two lifestyles are.

I will also help guide you through some integral questions you might want to consider in deciding what lifestyle is best for you.

Before I go into the main differences between these two lifestyles however, let me get a bit controversial :)

The Unspoken Politics

If you don't know the difference between the two, I will have you know right here that you will offend a vegan greatly if you dare ever call their lifestyle vegetarian.

In fact, a vegetarian is to a vegan what a bisexual is to a lesbian. Somebody who's dabbling, who hasn't quite made up their mind, straddling the fence, or maybe they're "not quite there yet".

Somebody who will eat some animal products but still get to brag about being nice to animals :)

In other words, make up your mind vegetarian person, will ya?;)

Of course I share that all in jest, I love my vegan friends. And truth be told, if I didn't think it wasn't the best lifestyle for myself, I'd totally dive into becoming a vegan.

But it's not ideal for me. I think the vegan diet is great for some people, and some thrive on it, but not necessarily so for everyone. Incidentally, I also feel the same about vegetarianism, which is why I don't preach it as an ideal. It's only ideal if the person decides it is so for themselves.

The only thing I ask of my readers from an inspirational perspective, is to ask yourself this question:

Am I making conscious and loving choices for my diet? Or are you just floating along like a log in the ocean just going whichever direction your taste buds take you?

That said, I'm guessing you've happened upon this page either because you're curious from an intellectual place, or you are seriously looking into changing your lifestyle, and are wondering how to go re:vegetarian vs vegan.

Let's Define Vegetarian vs Vegan

A vegan rejects any and all animal products. This includes both meat and/or any other products made from animals.

Although many vegans will make exceptions to such things as honey, a strict vegan will not use anything that came from an animal, including wool.

So if you're looking to become a strict vegan, you not only are NEVER going to consume anything that came from an animal, you give up clothes, shoes and lifestyles that are animal-related.

A vegetarian on the other hand reject meat, ALL meat, including fish from their diet.

Vegetarians however will eat animal products such as eggs, milk and milk products such as cheese.

[Read: What are the different types of vegetarians?]

Motivations Behind Vegetarian vs Vegan Lifestyles

Actually, although I'm now vegetarian, I started out as a vegan. I was motivated by both a spiritual and health desire.

  • Spiritual

I think that animals commercially raised for meat in the west are treated so horribly that there's no way the meat can be good for me spiritually.

Physics has been telling us for a long time now that that we are all just energy. Your body is rock solid energy. Our emotions are energy. So it goes without saying that animal emotions are energy.

Nourishing my body with food that carries such fear/pain/ energy as animals are raised today? Call me a crazy hippie but I can't see how that amounts to creating good karma.

  • Health

Anybody that hasn't been living under a rock knows that animals are now raised in the craziest ways. Not only are they fed antibiotics like they are going out of fashion, artificial bovine hormones (eg rBGH) are quite the norm, thanks to Monsanto and their ilk.

By the way, did you know that the U.S. is the only developed nation that still allows use of bovine growth hormone fed to our cows?

  • Ethical/Empathy and Personal conflict

I love animals, and the ones I don't love, I respect as creatures with an ability to feel pain just like me, at least physically.

Although I understand universal symbiotic relationships, I'm conflicted as to whether we should be eating animals when it is not of absolute necessity from a nutiritional perspective.

By that I mean, if there's no threat of death due to lack of consumption of meat, is it justified to kill and eat an animal just because we can?

I know I'm making what many might see as a moral statement here, but I'm really speaking for myself, and for the myriad of other souls who might be conflicted like I am. If you feel good about yourself eating animals, by all means, continue.

Side Note: If you've ever participated on internet forums where a meat/non-meat debates sprout, you're well aware that they are some of the most heated and emotionally charged debates.

I'm not a moralist, so, I'm not here to tell you what you should or shouldn't do, unless of course you're interested.

If you're still with me,fantastic. Let me go back a little to my paradoxical life growing up.

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