Vegetarian, plant-based, vegan...what do they all mean?! We have the definitions you’ve been looking for.
Whether you’re an animal lover, prioritizing your personal health, or both, the benefits of consuming less meat and animal products are seemingly endless.
It may seem that there are a lot of terms tossed around these days describing those who choose to restrict or eliminate animal products. It’s no surprise people may be getting them confused.
There is one key similarity between the terms vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based: they indicate refraining from consuming animals. There are many reasons why someone may choose to adopt any of these words to define their diet, lifestyle, or philosophy. While there are many reasons, animal welfare, personal health, and environmental stewardship are the most common.
Generally speaking, anything that is considered vegan is also vegetarian.
But not everything that is vegetarian is vegan. Vegetarians may consume products that come from animals, such as milk, eggs, and honey. Vegans, on the other hand, remove all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. Beyond food, the term “vegan” is used to also describe those who eliminate apparel or household items that are made from animal parts, like clothing, shoes, or bags made from wool, leather, or fur, or were produced with animal testing, such as shampoos and laundry supplies.
A vegetarian avoids eating animals but may include animal by-products like milk and eggs.
A vegan refrains from all animal products, and extends into a comprehensive lifestyle of not using animals for food, clothing, etc.
So, what is plant-based then? The term “plant-based” is very literal, describing someone who consumes only products that are fully or predominantly made from plants. Health benefits are the primary driver for those who adopt a plant-based diet or lifestyle. It is generally accepted that a diet that prioritizes eating whole foods, or foods with little to no processing, is a healthier lifestyle choice.
The Benefits of Reducing Animal Products
Whether you’re an animal lover, prioritizing your personal health, or an environmental advocate, the benefits of consuming less meat and animal products are seemingly endless. Animals on factory farms endure incredible stress, cruel confinement, extreme pain, and horrendous suffering. Additionally, more and more research is supporting many ways that consuming less meat and more plants can reduce the risk of certain common diseases and health conditions. Not to mention that factory farms are responsible for vast quantities of global greenhouse gas emissions putting our entire planet at risk. Eliminating or reducing your consumption of animal products will help us protect animals and safeguard our climate.
If you’re considering a positive change to your diet, take a moment to reflect on your current situation and what might be feasible for you. Perhaps you’re already vegetarian, and you’re looking to take that next step and adopt a more comprehensive plant-based diet. Even just reducing your meat consumption has a profound impact on animals. Consider participating in Meatless Mondays! Wherever you find yourself in your journey to adopting a more compassionate and sustainable diet, you can count on World Animal Protection for support. Join our 21-Day Meating Halfway journey to get access to our plant-based guide with recipes, corporate discounts, and more!