The difference between them can seem murky for people who don’t follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. Sure, neither diet includes beef, but what about brownies, yogurt, and pizza? And what about all the different variations of vegetarianism? While following these diets takes care and plenty of research, understanding their differences are actually pretty simple.
Vegans eat no animal products, while vegetarians don’t eat animals but may eat products that come from them (such as dairy and eggs). People typically choose these diets because of health concerns, religious restrictions, or moral concerns about harming animals.
These diets can be very healthy, but vegans and vegetarians need to be mindful of nutrition deficiencies like anyone. For instance, dairy products are a major source of calcium and vitamin D, so vegans and vegetarians should eat lots of dark leafy greens (another good source of calcium) and choose foods fortified with calcium. If you go vegan, you may also want to consider vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and because it’s only naturally found in animal products, vegans, in particular, may want to consider vitamin supplements or foods fortified with the nutrient.
Luckily, vegans and vegetarians don’t suffer from a lack of nutritious and delicious foods. Vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts, and beans are suitable for both diets when they’re prepared correctly. And vegans can choose from a huge variety of products made with plant-based dairy substitutions. Cooking and baking your favorite treats is also still totally possible with a few simple swaps. Try making a vegan charcuterie spread, cheesy oats with tomatoes and avocado, or spicy black bean burgers. They’re the kind of vegan treats that even meat-eaters will devour!
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