Vegan vs Vegetarian: Differences & Benefits

Vegan vs Vegetarian

It seems to be confusing when I say I am a Vegan at a restaurant or in conversation. Many don’t understand the differences between vegan vs vegetarian.

I always thought a #vegetarian was the strictest diet with no dairy. Click To Tweet

I must admit, back when I was a server and a bartender, I didn’t know the difference either. I always thought a vegetarian was the strictest diet with no dairy. Now, I know better, as I am a practicing vegan.

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Differences Between Vegan vs Vegetarian

For many, these two terms have become interchangeable. A vegan diet is a form of vegetarian diet, while a vegetarian diet isn’t a form of vegan diet, however.

Both are highly plant-based diets and depend on vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, grains and beans. In addition, here are different types of vegan and vegetarian diets.

Here are different types of #vegan and #vegetarian diets. Click To Tweet

The vegan diet is rather simple. It was first named in 1944 by Donald Watson. The definition is easy to understand. Vegans don’t consume anything containing animal products or by-products that come from animals.

However, there are variances of the vegan diet. For example, some vegans avoid honey and yeast, while others consume these foods. Often, this is considered a lifestyle, as well. Some vegans take it further and won’t use, wear or eat anything that comes from an animal or a by-product of an animal.

Those calling themselves vegetarians fit into a different category. The basic definition of a vegetarian is someone that doesn’t eat meat or fish. However, some vegetarians don’t eat eggs or don’t drink milk, but will eat cheese. It can get confusing because vegetarians can be broken down into:

  • Lactovegetarians
  • Lacto-ovovegetarians
  • Semi-vegetarians

The term vegetarian is simply a blanket term. While all vegetarians avoid eating meat, fish, poultry and seafood, some also avoid gelatin and some forms of dairy.

As soon as a #vegetarian decides to add fish to their diet, they become a #pescatarian. Click To Tweet

As soon as a vegetarian decides to add fish to their diet, they become a pescatarian. This falls under the semi-vegetarian category and these vegetarians often consume some dairy, as well. They may even eat some meat, such as chicken, but that’s more known as a flexitarian in today’s world.

An ovo-lactovegetarian is a vegetarian with no restrictions on dairy products in their diet. This is the largest and most common type of vegetarian.

The lacto-vegetarian is the closest to the vegan, but they allow milk in their diet. They don’t eat any other types of dairy or eggs, but milk, they do allow into their diet.

Benefits of Vegan vs Vegetarian


As I read through the book, How Not to Die I constantly see that the vegan diet has proven to be the best at warding off illness and disease in all studies. However, the vegetarian diet is right behind with pescatarian and flexitarian following.

In some cases, the risk difference for contracting a certain disease is 20% to 30% higher for a vegetarian compared to a vegan. This is pretty significant, so one of the benefits I see of eating a vegan diet is a lower risk factor for many cancers and disease. If you to know more about this, pick up the book, How Not To Die on Amazon here.

Dairy products are the biggest difference between #vegan vs #vegetarian diets Click To Tweet

Since dairy products are the biggest difference between vegan vs vegetarian diets, we will look to those products to find our benefits. It’s important to understand, both diets have significant health benefits compared to any other type of diet, especially a meat-eating western diet.

Dairy products have been linked to aging, chronic inflammation, poor skin, digestive issues, cancer risks and many other health issues, according to an article from The digestive issues come as no surprise considering milk from ac ow was made for calves, not humans. It can cause leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune disease and many other disorders in the human body.

Keep in mind, you’re ranking the liquid from the mammary gland of a cow. It cannot be produced by a cow unless the cow has been pregnant and nature produces this liquid for calves, not for humans.

According to, “For each glass of milk, risk of dying from all causes increases by 15%.”

In addition, they stated, “Women who ring three or more glasses of milk per day have a 60% increased risk for developing a hip fracture.” The same site also says, “Drinking three or more glasses of milk also increases mortality risk by 93%.”

All of that just from milk. Imagine how bad it is when you mix in other dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, which all come from the same source.

According to, “*ALL* cow’s milk (regular and ‘organic’) has 59 active hormones, scores of allergens, fat and cholesterol.” In addition most of the milk you will drink has measurable amounts of herbicides, dioxins, pesticides and other chemicals. It may also contain the following:

  • Antibiotics
  • Pus
  • Blood
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Feces

To make matters worse, each bite of cheese may have as much as ten times the same things found in the milk you drink. It takes about ten pounds of milk to make a pound of cheese and it gets even worse when you start looking at ice cream and butter.

The #vegan diet offers more health benefits due to the lack of dairy and milk Click To Tweet

While looking at the different benefits of vegan vs vegetarian, it’s pretty clear. The vegan diet offers more health benefits due to the lack of dairy and milk. I could get into how bad eggs can be for you, too, but I think the point is made simply with milk, cheese and other dairy products.

While the vegetarian diet may have better health benefits than the western diet (I have no doubt it’s far better), it’s not as beneficial as the vegan diet.

Looking to go Plant Based for more Energy and Productivity? Check out my FREE eBook called, “8 Practical Tips for Better Productivity Through Proper Eating” and get your copy by clicking here.

I know, it sounds like I am a commercial for becoming a vegan. I am a vegan, so I am a bit partial, but before I was a vegan, I was a meat eater, flexitarian, pescatarian and even a vegetarian. I went through nearly all of them before landing on vegan as the healthiest choice for me.

Both diets have great health benefits compared to the western diet. I urge you to explore vegan and vegetarian options and even pescatarian and flexitarian options. Even cutting back on your dairy and meat consumption is better than just staying the same and eating both like the supply will be gone tomorrow.

Vegans vs Vegetarians – Famous People


It’s always fun to learn something new about a celebrity when you’re trying to make a diet change. For some reason, if someone famous did it or is doing it, we feel like we must be on the right track. Personally, I don’t put much stock in celebrities, but they do have access to things us regular folk don’t, such as personal chefs, high end grocery stores, etc.

Some even have to be in shape, look younger and have plenty of energy. Many famous people throughout history and today have turned to a vegan or vegetarian diet to give them the look and energy necessary. Here’s a look at some of the famous people that have or still do practice a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Famous Vegans

  • Oliva Wilde
  • Alanis Morissette
  • Alicia Silverstone
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Casy Affleck
  • Moby
  • Alec Baldwin
  • Kristen Bell
  • Ellen Page
  • Mayim Bialik
  • Morrissey
  • Alan Cumming
  • Tony Gonzalez
  • Venus Williams
  • Mike Tyson
  • Carl Lewis
  • Mac Danzig
  • David Meyer
  • Scott Jurek
  • Heather Mills
  • Austin Aries
  • Alex Argatz
  • Patrick Baboumian
  • Fiona Oakes

Famous Vegetarians

  • Mark Twain
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Danny DeVito
  • Anna Paquin
  • Paul McCartney
  • William Wordsworth
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Dustin Hoffman
  • Forest Whitaker
  • Ricky Williams
  • Robert Parish
  • Joe Namath
  • Billie Jean King
  • Hank Aaron
  • Bill Walton
  • Prince Fielder

These lists could go on for a very long time, but you get the picture. Choosing between vegan vs vegetarian will put you in the company of many famous people, regardless. However, it’s an important choice because of the incredible dangers of consuming milk and milk products.

The choice is yours, of course, but I can attest to the burst of energy and productivity a vegan diet provides. My advice, go plant-based in some form. Even if you start like I did and just cut back on the meat, you may find a few months later, you just cannot avoid going vegan any longer.

Are you a vegan or a vegetarian? Tell your story and reasons why in the comments below.

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