Vegetarian vs Vegan: Are they different?

Do you think I am repeating myself when I say Vegetarian vs Vegan? Am I not comparing the same things? It’s only a difference in spelling, isn’t it?

If this is what you think …….hey…… are not alone in your misunderstanding.

So many people use these terminologies interchangeably but guess what? They are not the same.

Yes, it is true that a vegetarian does not eat meat and a vegan does not eat meat but there is much more to it than that.

Well what’s the difference really?

Let’s break it down.

Who is a vegetarian?

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat. That means no beef, no chicken, no pork, no fish……….. In other words, they eat no animal flesh whatsoever.

Vegetarians can be further sub-divided into groups.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians

These are vegetarians who include eggs and dairy in their diet.

Lacto vegetarians

These vegetarians use dairy but no eggs in their diet.


Ovo vegetarians

These are vegetarians who use eggs but stay away from dairy.


Straight/Strict vegetarians

These vegetarians eat no animal flesh whatever nor do they consume any eggs or dairy products.

This is where the confusion sometimes occur because these strict vegetarians are usually categorized as vegans. However, there is more to vegans than just diet.


Who is a Vegan?

Like the vegetarian, a vegan does not eat meat of any kind. In addition, they do not consume any animal products at all.

So yes, they don’t eat eggs, neither milk, cheese, ice cream or any other dairy products.

They are just strict vegetarians then……….you might be thinking.


Well yes and no.


You see, when some vegans say “no animal products” they mean “no animal products”.

A vegetarian who is embracing a healthy lifestyle might decide to substitute honey for sugar in their recipes but where does honey come from?

That’s right. Bees are animals so vegans do not use honey.

It goes beyond diet.

Vegans will not wear anything made from animals or animal skins.

No leather belt or wallet. No snake skin or alligator skin shoes. No fur coat. Are you getting the picture?

It doesn’t stop there.

Vegans do not use any products that have been tested on animals.


There are many cosmetic brands that still do animal testing and vegans will refrain from supporting those brands.

Like the vegetarians, vegans are also further sub-divided into three main groups.


Plant based / Dietary vegans

A dietary or plant based vegan is one who eats a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes and avoids all animal-based products, including meat, dairy, eggs and honey.

Raw vegans

These vegans exclude all food products of animal origin. In addition, they exclude any food that is processed or cooked at temperatures above 118 degrees F or 48 degrees C. In other words, their diet consists of whole, unprocessed, uncooked foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Ethical vegans

This term applies to those who not only follow a strict plant based diet but also oppose the use of animals for any purpose such as clothing and cosmetics as was listed above. They also oppose the industrial farming of animals as they think the process is a severe form of cruelty to animals.

Well I hope that cleared it up for you.

Now you know that vegan and vegetarian is not the same.

What you can be sure of though is that they both have fantastic health benefits and they both play a vital role in saving the lives of many in the animal population.

Have you made the decision yet to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet?

And don’t be turned off by the word “diet”. When we say diet, it is not “diet” like the word is normally used.

It is a lifestyle……. and the benefits are great.


Was this article helpful.

Please let me know in the comments section below.


Leave a Comment