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Vegan vs Vegetarian, What's the Difference?

A quick and simple explanation about the differences between veganism and vegetarianism.

Vegan vs Vegetarian. This is a question I get asked the most, and rightfully so. Until only a few years ago, veganism wasn’t as well known as it was today. There are still many people who are unsure of what it actually means to be vegan, and what it entails. While the two sound similar and share similar characteristics, there are many important differences. First, let’s take a look at their definitions.


‘a person who does not eat any food derived from animals and who typically does not use other animal products.’


‘a person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products.’

The two sound extremally similar, right?

While the reason behind a switch to either vegetarianism or veganism may be alike (moral, religious, or health), the main difference is that vegans tend to live a lifestyle completely void of all animal products. This may include, skin care, fabrics (leather), food, health items, etc., and even goes as far as avoiding products that have tested on animals as well as places that use animals for entertainment.

The most common confusion between understanding the differences, lies in what each preferred diet can eat. I’ve created a simple graph for you below to help discern the difference.

You'll notice that while vegetarians still eat eggs and dairy, vegans stay away from ALL animal products, and both diets still eat a healthy amount of veggies, fruits, legumes, and grains.

Another notable distinction between the two, is that there can be different kinds of vegetarians.


  • Does not consume any meat, poultry, or seafood, but will eat eggs and dairy

Flexitarian (aka. Mostly Plant-Based)

  • Diet is mostly vegetarian, but will eat meat, poultry, seafood, or other animal products occasionally.


  • Does not consume any meat, or poultry, but will eat seafood, eggs, and dairy.


  • Does not consume any meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs, but will still eat dairy.


  • Does not consume any meat, poultry, seafood, or dairy, but will still eat eggs.


  • No animal products whatsoever.

Bottom Line

If your not into labels and don't like to focus on the terms or technical sides of it, there's no problem with that! No matter which diet you choose or live by, choosing to reduce your intake of meat and animal products makes a difference in not only the environment, but your health as well! My hope is that no matter what diet you identify with, the vegan/vegetarian community will welcome you with open arms so that we call strive and push each other towards a similar goal.

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