Many people hear the terms “vegan” and “vegetarian” and believe that they mean the same thing. Actually, there are differences between the two when it comes to their respective diets.

What is the Vegan Diet?

The Vegan Diet or veganism is the practice of not consuming animal products both in terms of meats and in the products that animals produce such as milk and eggs. Being an Ethical Vegan also means abstaining from using animal products in any form which would include clothing for example. However, in terms of the diet a vegan does follow strict rules about what they eat.

The actual term vegan was first used by Donald Watson in 1944 when he co-founded the Vegan Society in the UK. The vegan diet has certainly increased in popularity over the years, especially after the turn of the 21st century when many restaurants and grocery stores began carrying more vegan-oriented foods. This popularity was increased when many high profile athletes, especially those in endurance sports began training while eating a vegan diet.

Vegan diets are generally high in dietary fiber, folic acid, Vitamins C and E, magnesium to name a few while being low in bad cholesterol, saturated fat and calories. However, vitamin supplements are often recommended for vegans because their diet is low in Vitamins B12 and D, calcium, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids which are considered vital towards maintaining good health.

What is a Vegetarian Diet?

A vegetarian diet appears at first to be much like the vegan diet in that it avoids the consumption of animal products that includes poultry and fish. There are a number of reasons people choose a vegetarian diet, including respect for animals as well as protecting their own health. However, there are greater varieties to the vegetarian diet than the vegan one. In particular, the consumption of dairy products is generally accepted, although eggs are not included.

The practice of vegetarianism does go back for centuries in various forms. The modern version does offer some flexibility and variety that stretches from strict veganism to a more relaxed consumption of animal by-products. However, there are those that object to food packaging which often contains ingredients that are derived from animals.

A vegetarian diet in the traditional form does resemble a vegan diet to a great extent. However, the type of vegetarianism that is being pursued will dictate the types of foods that are consumed along with their packaging whereas a vegan diet is more strict and adhering to the avoidance of all animal products and by-products in general.

How Seaweed can Play a Role in Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Seaweed is a vegetarian food that is gaining in popularity thanks to its many health benefits, including the vitamins and minerals it possesses for helping vegans and vegetarians lead stronger, healthier lives. Online stores such as Cantinastar for example offer seaweed snacks and free recipes that demonstrate how to prepare this particular food whether from freshwater or saltwater sources.

If you are pursuing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, then adding seaweed to your diet can help fortify the body with iron and other important vitamins and minerals that leads to a healthier life.