What’s the Difference Between a Vegetarian and a Vegan?

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What’s the Difference Between a Vegetarian and a Vegan?

The more you learn about being a vegetarian, the more you realize that it’s anything but one size fits all. While all true vegetarian diets exclude meat, some variations include animal products, like eggs and dairy. The vegan diet, by contrast, excludes all animal products including meat, fish, fowl, eggs, dairy─even honey. Many vegans also refuse to use animal products in any form, including silk, leather, wool, suede, etc.

The general vegan goal is to cultivate a lifestyle that benefits animals, people and the earth. Vegans eat a completely plant-based diet, which typically includes fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and plant-based proteins like beans, legumes, and soy foods such as tofu, miso and tempeh.

So, why choose vegan over vegetarian? Well, as it happens, many vegans start as vegetarians, making small changes over time, finally concluding that there are too many benefits to a 100% plant-based diet not to go for it. Is it easy? Not always, given that restaurants are typically geared towards meat eaters.

Nonetheless, we’re seeing a fabulous evolution. In fact, it’s considered quite hip in culinary circles these days to offer creative, plant-based cuisine on the menu. Basing these entrées around locally grown, organic produce makes them even more sought after. You can also have a lot of fun exploring ethnic cuisines that offer wonderful vegan options─such as Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese, and more.

The good news is that with a little flexibility, you can operate as a vegan anytime, anyplace─but it’s best to be proactive. Carry along your own raw nuts and seeds, and you’re set, as you can always find salads and veggie sides. A key part in all this, however, is educating yourself. This way you can discover what’s best for you, based not only on your food preferences, but on your feelings and values about the environment, animals, and your own health.

If you’re reading this, you may already be familiar with one of the greatest books of all time on the vegan lifestyle. “Diet for a New America” by John Robbins─which exposed the links between nutrition, environmentalism, and animal rights for the first time─largely sparked the vegan movement in the U.S. in 1987.

Ready to experiment with a little vegan cuisine of your own? These entrées may tempt your palate: Curried Vegetables in Coconut Sauce, Hot Tamale Pie, Seitan & Mushroom Stroganoff, Spinach Lasagna, Southwest Salsa Pizza, or Ziti with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream. Oh, wait, did you have a sweet tooth? Ok, then how about some Apricot Baked Apples, Chocolate Cream Crunchies, Fig Spice Cake, Mayan Wonder Bars, Peanut Butter Coffee Cake, Lemon Sugar Cookies, or Gingerbread?

For all these and dozens of other vegan recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, holiday meals, and more, check out: http://www.chooseveg.com/vegan-recipes.asp Great vegan tips too: http://www.chooseveg.com/vegan-cooking-tips.asp
It’s a brave new world, no? Enjoy!

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