What Is The Difference Between Vegan, Vegetarian & Pescatarian?

What is the difference between vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian and how to choose what is right for you? Let’s find out.

The goal of this article is to give you the difference between vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian lifestyles’s and what they entail so you can make an informed decision if they are the right fit for you.

Please note that all these lifestyles require an extraordinary commitment and they require discipline when eating out, shopping and grocery, etc. If you are not careful with these diets, you could have deficiencies in protein, vitamins and minerals.

Vegans don’t consume animal derived ingredients. They are a strict animal-free diet meaning they avoid eating all meat, fish and poultry.

Vegetarians are vegans who consume milk, egg and dairy products.

On the other hand a pescatarian only consumes fish as the only primary source of protein and refrains from consuming any meat based products.

Keep reading to find out more.

The Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian in Philosophy

Contemporary vegetarians usually make the switch because of health reasons.

It is a well-established fact that a vegetarian diet prevents the risk of hypertension, diabetes, renal disease, obesity and many other problems.

Some people would even go as far as to say that it can help prevent cancer.

This is because of the lower intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, among other nutrients that, when taken in excess, can cause harm to the body.

Although health is a primary tenet of veganism, it is not the only focus of vegans.

Because many vegans consider veganism as an advocacy, they shed light on a variety of issues related to animal consumption as well.

For instance, most vegans are also animal rights advocates.

As a matter of fact, most of them are known to refrain from wearing any animal-based product—from cosmetic to clothing wear.

Some of them are environment activists who are making a stand to protect nature.

To many vegans, being healthy is just a value-added benefit of their firm stand to protect the environment.

The noble advocates of veganism, however, should not be construed as exclusivist.

If you believe just as strongly in protection of animals and the environment, you can choose to be vegetarian before transitioning to veganism.

Vegetarian vs Vegan: No Exceptions For Compassion

Many people claim that intelligence is a factor in what they will or will not eat. But this can’t be entirely true.

For example, studies have shown that pigs have the same intelligence level as dogs and small children.

It is difficult to determine intelligence, since some animals may be specialized in a certain skill.

For example, dogs have been domesticated with humans for thousands of years.

They are very empathetic and tuned into their human companions.

Even bees can recognize colors and remember which way to go to attain a reward in a maze.

Have you heard “fish have underdeveloped nervous systems” as an excuse for why they are okay to eat?

What about their underdeveloped nervous systems make it okay? They are not less of an animal for it.

Their suffering is not any less because of their small size, or the size of their brain.

All animals share hormones, so there is no reason why they can’t feel the same emotions as humans.

Their suffering may be worse because they lack the ability to understand what is happening to them.

When it comes to animal cruelty, responsible vegetarians make a big improvement over someone who buys mainstream products.

If they are organic, then you can be sure the animals were not pumped full of antibiotics.

Even better, animal products should be free range.

What is the pros and cons of being a vegetarian or vegan?

Advantages of being vegetarian:

  • Easier to get protein, calcium, vitamins D and B12, and a few other vitamins and minerals
  • More options at restaurants than veganism
  • More options at grocery stores than veganism
  • People more familiar with it
  • More socially accepted.

Disadvantages of being vegetarian:

  • Easier to fill up on vegetarian processed and junk food
  • Contributes to factory farming
  • Consumption of high fat, high protein products
  • Less fiber due to animal products
  • Harder to lose weight with vegetarian junk food.

Advantages of being vegan:

  • Typically lower calorie and higher fiber, can eat eat more volume and keep healthy weight
  • Less saturated fat and cholesterol, fewer preservatives, antibiotics, additives, artificial flavors, less processed food
  • Can help alleviate food production shortages by not relying on resource intensive animal products
  • Encourages creativity in the kitchen because of simpler, healthier choices
  • Guilt-free.

Disadvantages of being vegan:

  • May be difficult to find accommodations at restaurants and as a guest
  • Viewed as extreme
  • Takes more planning initially
  • Requires eating more volume to attain nutrients
  • Learning curve for cooking.

Vegan vs Vegetarian : The Difference from another view

First, let’s define the criteria for being Vegan and where Veganism came from.

Vegan is a term that’s earliest origins are traced back to 1944 in Britian.

It means a person who was simply opposed to eating eggs for food.

This is one tenet of the modern vegan definition but now the definition has been greatly expanded.

Most simply, it means eliminating any use or ingestion of animal products.

Some interpret this as the practice of man to live without exploiting animals or the avoiding of violence against living things.

How common is this?

In the last decade, at least 3.5% of the population in the United States self-describes themselves as Vegan!

Vegetarian is a less stringent diet as it strictly means not consuming animal meat, as I believe most commonly known in modern culture.

Some will describe themselves as Vegetarian will actually consume fish, which is truly more of a “pescetarian” diet.

Basically, if you want an easy way to view the differences between Vegan and Vegetarian it comes down to one major dietary issue: Eggs.

Most people associate the consumption of eggs (and other products which derive from animals) but no meat to be Vegetarian, and a total avoidance of eggs, meat and animal byproduct (including gelatin and rennet) to be Vegan.

It impacts all of the choices in your life from anything like furniture and shoes (no leather!) to the fertilizer you might use for your garden, which should include no “blood and bone” products.

When making the decision to become a vegan, it helps to think about why you are making the choice.

Whether it is for animal rights, health reasons, or personal values it’s good to think about that because it will help you decide which one fits you best.

Either way it will be tough, but as a vegan you will have even less options and have to be conscientious of your vitamins and protein intake to be sure you have a balanced diet.

We also will profile some famous people who abstained from meat and whether they chose Vegan vs Vegetarian diets.

Many notable people have decided on these lifestyles for reasons varying from animal rights to long-term perceived health benefits, like reduced cancer risk.

Of course, medical research varies on the evidence of Vegan and Vegetarian lifestyles ability to lower the incidence of chronic disease.

In the end, we want to give you all the options and evidence from both sides to help you make an informed decision to choose Vegan vs Vegetarian.

We like to have fun and give you something new on this site besides just recipes, just know you are not alone in your pursuits and the amount of famous vegans and vegetarians is growing!

If you enjoyed this reading, and you’re feeling generous perhaps share or retweet it. Thank you.

Meet Assil LAB, a passionate writer and contributor at Veganoga. Specializing in the vegan lifestyle and cooking, Assil shares insightful articles that inspire readers to embrace plant-based living. Discover her engaging content and unique vegan recipes today.