The Difference Between Vegan & Vegetarian
If you recently started reading about Vegetarian diets, you have probably read all sorts of strange vegetarian
terms and categories like "Vegan," "ovo-lacto Vegetarian," and "semi-Vegetarian."
You probably wondered what the big deal was. Afterall, what is so conceptually tough about not eating meat? And
you were right!
The distinctions between these sub-categories of vegetarian are actually small, but each is very important to
members who belong to the groups. For them, these distinctions aren’t arbitrary lines; they are important dietary
or ethical decisions.
Let’s take a look at some of these groups:
Vegetarian is a blanket term used to describe a person who does not consume meat, poultry, fish,
This grouping includes Vegans and the various sub-categories of Vegetarian; however, it
generally implies someone who has less dietary restrictions than a Vegan.
The term Semi-Vegetarian is usually used to describe someone who is a
vegetarian who consumes dairy products, eggs, chicken, and fish, but does not consume other
Ovo-lacto vegetarians are Vegetarians who do not consume meat, poultry, fish, and seafood, but do
consume eggs and milk. This is the largest group of Vegetarians.
Ovo-vegetarian is a term used to describe someone who would be a vegan
if they did not consume eggs.
Lacto-Vegetarian is a term used to describe someone who would be a vegan if they did not consume
Vegan is the strictest sub-category of Vegetarians. Vegans do not consume any animal products or
by-products. Some go as far as not even consuming honey and yeast. Others do not wear any clothing
made from animal products.
Important: Take some time to figure out for yourself, what
group you will belong to when you become a Vegetarian. You will want to consider both dietary and
ethical reasons for choosing this lifestyle.