You are likely to hear the term “vegan” more often these days, and yet you may not be fully or accurately aware of what it really means. Some people think it describes an individual’s choice of food, but veganism may be more than just that. Finding out the different Types of Vegans will help you to choose what is best for you and your family.
Types of Vegans: Choosing the Right One for You
Being vegan may also mean avoiding or abstaining completely from the use of any products or items that involve animals, especially their death. This is a lifestyle or philosophy that is more encompassing that just food alone.
Either way, veganism is fast catching on around the world, thanks to exposure in mainstream media as well as the power of social media and the Internet. There are many vegan-friendly recipes widely available, as well as alternatively lifestyle products that are not derived from animals.
Vegan vs. vegetarian
First of all, there is a distinction between being vegan and being vegetarian. A lot of people are confused by these terms. Simply put, vegetarians in general are those that choose to primarily not consume any animal-based food.
As such, veganism is actually a type of being vegetarian. Veganism can be thought of as the “strictest” type of being vegetarian, in that no meat of any animal is consumed along with dairy and derived products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and the like. Eggs are also a no-no.
The term vegetarian, however, almost exclusively pertains to diet or eating choices alone. There are various degrees of being vegetarian. Those who shun meats but may choose to consume dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are called lacto-vegetarians. Those that choose to consume eggs, meanwhile, are called ovo-vegetarians. (Those that choose to consumer both eggs and dairy products are therefore called lacto-ovo vegetarians.)
You can also be “semi-vegetarian” in a sense that you still prefer to eat certain types of meat. A pescetarian restricts their meat consumption to fish and seafood only, while a pollotarian chooses to eat chicken or poultry meat only.
Dietary and ethical veganism
You might be wondering then if being a vegan may be something for you. It would be worth understanding what veganism is all about before you can make a decision. For many people, being vegan is a commitment and not just a fad.
The most basic way of being a vegan is in relation to food choices, which is called a dietary vegan. As mentioned earlier, this mostly pertains to avoiding foods from animals or even their byproducts. Eggs and dairy products are avoided. Even honey, which is a byproduct of insects like bees, is not to be consumed.
However, most often, being vegan extends to other areas of life as well that involve animals in one way or another. This is called ethical veganism. This means that you also avoid using or patronizing products where animal byproducts are used. Imagine that clothes are usually made of wool, which is taken from sheep and that shoes are made of leather, which are taken from the skin of animals such as cows.
Types of vegan diet
If you choose to undertake a vegan diet, there are also different types you need to consider that will fit your lifestyle and health needs. For instance, the most basic is the plant-based vegan, where you choose to consume foods that are entirely plant-based only, or those that come from the ground. These would mostly be vegetables, fruits, root crops and other products such as seeds, etc.
There is also the raw vegan, who does not eat plant-based food cooked in high temperatures. The belief behind this is that the natural nutrients found in plants are lost when cooked in heat.
There is such as a thing as a “junk food vegan.” Given the premise that vegans do not eat anything from animals or its byproducts, that means you can eat food such as chips, soda, etc. even if they are unhealthy. In this instance, being vegan does not necessarily mean having a goal toward healthy living.
Veganism: A way of life
Choosing to become vegan is a serious matter, but it may be one of the most rewarding decisions you can ever make in your life. Aside from health and wellness benefits, a vegan lifestyle may also contribute to greater appreciation for animals and a more compassionate approach toward life in general. Knowing the different types of vegans will help you to choose what works for you.