Health Notes.

Are you a Vegan?

heirloom tomatoes


Veganism is a type of diet that excludes meat, dairy products, eggs and all other animal-derived ingredients. It is also known as “Strict Vegetarianism” due to its total abstinence to all forms of animal products. To some individuals, veganism is simply a form of diet as they look at it as a lifestyle. A vegan refers to one who follows this manner of eating.

Within veganism, however, there are various denominations that are not that “strict”. Vegetarianism, which is often wrongly used as an interchangeable term of veganism, is one such denomination. The main difference between a vegan and a vegetarian is in the fact that a vegan would not even eat stuff that had been processed using animal products. These products would include some gelatinous food made from the gelatine of beef or refined sugar.

Vegetarians, on the other hand, might not be too disturbed by these minor details. However, as the two terms have been used interchangeably, there are some vegetarians who do care about these details. As such, it can be said to be an issue of choice about wanting to either include or exclude these products and ingredients in their diets.

In keeping with the issue of choice, there are different “sub-denominations” within the bigger vegetarianism classification. An Ovo-vegetarian would abstain from all sorts of meat products except for eggs. They might choose to be Ovo-vegetarians due to the need for protein or because they are lactose intolerant.

A lacto-vegetarian would abstain from everything except dairy products. This means that they are able to indulge in cheeses and “cream-related” products. Combining both sub-denominations, we would get a Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. And as you might have guessed they exclude all meat products save for eggs and dairy in their diet.

What then, you might wonder would a vegan eat? Especially since it seems to be that they are giving up on many tasty dishes and treats. However, since veganism and vegetarianism have become popular, there are now more and more choices for people to choose from when eating. While primarily, vegans would normally eat grains, beans, vegetables, fruits and legumes, now there are many meat-substitutes that are available for them to cook what would originally have been a meat-based dish. For example, with the introduction of meat analogues (meat substitute or imitation meat) like tofu, tempeh and gluten-based “meats”, one is now able to enjoy dishes like chicken curry or char siew (Chinese style roast pork) rice.

With the increased use of such products, a vegan’s life is no longer “bland”. All sorts of dishes can be replicated, albeit without meat products, to suit the choice made by a vegan. It is now much easier for them to “fit in” with the lifestyle that we have today, or to simply ease themselves into the new transition if they are new “converts” to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. While it is still definitely harder to live as a vegan as compared to a vegetarian, the fact that there are now more options available when dining out and also in the supermarkets, make life much easier.

Types of Vegetarians

Lacto-vegetarian does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products.
Ovo-vegetarian does not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs.
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Does not eat eggs or dairy products
Pescetarian includes fish and excludes other animals. Diet typically includes all of vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, beans, eggs and dairy.
Vegetarian follows plant-based diets (fruits, vegetables, etc.), with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat (red meat, poultry & fish)
Vegan Excludes meat, dairy products, eggs and all other animal-derived ingredients.
Flexitarian eats a mostly vegetarian diet, occasionally including meat.
Fruitarian only eats foods that don’t kill the plant (for example, apples can be picked without killing the plant whereas, carrots cannot). Fruitarians consume fruits and sometimes seeds, nuts and vegetables, like tomatoes.
Raw Vegan

Raw Food Diet

Consumes organic, unprocessed, and uncooked food
Omnivore A person who consumes both animal and plant-based foods in varying ratios.
Nutarian A vegetarian whose diet is based on nut products


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