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Last Updated on April 12, 2018

The Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian (No They Aren’t the Same)

The Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian (No They Aren’t the Same)

I’ve recently been on a date with a girl. When I told her that I don’t eat animal products, she asked me curiously: “So are you vegetarian or a vegan?”

“Wait what, do you know the difference?” – I replied. She answered with: “I think so, vegans completely avoid animal products while vegetarians sometimes eat eggs and dairy.” The definition was basic, yet spot-on. Needless to say, I was impressed.

Most people don’t know what veganism is nor the difference between vegan and vegetarian. In this article you will learn the difference between vegan and vegetarian so you are educated and can decide which one of those two are most suited for you.

What is veganism

Veganism is defined as:

“the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.”

To put it simply: Vegans neither consume or buy anything that comes from an animal.

    While most vegans act this way because of ethical reasons, the reasons don’t matter – the actions do. Behind veganism there’s often a cult.

    At its heart [of veganism] is the healing power of compassion, the highest expression of love of which man is capable. For it is a giving without hope of a getting. And yet, because he would free himself from many of the demands made by his own lower nature, the benefit to man himself would be incalculable.
    – Vegetarian World Forum

    Donald Watson coined the term vegan in 1944 (almost hundred years after the word vegetarian was founded) . He first meant vegan to be known as ‘non-dairy vegetarian’, until the Vegan Scoiety (yes, there’s such a thing!) defined it as:[1]

    “the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals”.

    Interest in veganism exploded in the 2010s.

    What is vegetarianism

    Vegetarianism is defined as:

    “the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat, and may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter. “

    To put it simply: Vegetarians don’t consume or buy anything that is directly correlated to animal slaughter. Namely: No meat and often also no byproducts of animal slaughter, for example: gelatin, which is obtained from boiling skin, tendons or ligaments of cows or pigs.[2]

      The word vegetarian was first used in 1839 and was refered to a “vegetable diet”. It’s commonly known to be a compound of vegetable and the suffix -arian.

      The earliest findings of vegetarians date back to 7th century BCE.[3] It is said that the Greek teacher Pythagoras has advocated a vegetarian diet.[4]

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      The difference between vegan and vegetarian

      Vegetarianism is the generic term of veganism. To put it blunt: Veganism is the more hardcore version of vegetarianism.

      When I started this journey of minimizing animal products, I first followed a vegetarian diets for a couple of months. To get used to it and build up the necessary knowledge for following a vegan diet. In fact most vegans started out as being vegetarians and then minimized their consumption of animal products until they’re getting on the vegan level.

      One may become a vegetarian for a variety of reasons – humanitarian, health, or mere preference for such a diet; The principle is a smatter of personal feeling, and varies accordingly. Veganism, however, is a principle – that man has no right to exploit the creatures for his own ends – and no variation occurs.
      – Vegetarian World Forum

      Veganism completely minimizes the exploitation of animals, while vegetarianism only minimizes direct slaughter. To reduce the pain caused on animals the most, one follows a vegan diet.

      One might not directly kill an animal by buying an egg of a chicken for example, but the nature of the competitive animal industry makes it necessary to eliminate male chicks immediately once their born. Over 3 million male chicks get killed like this (Warning: Graphic) every year.

        This also stems resentment between the veganism and the vegetarianism community, as vegans feel vegetarians are closing their eyes off to obvious suffering. I recently read a sticker on a vegan restaurant that said: “Vegetarian isn’t enough!”

        This is the reason I’m an advocate of veganism, as it always was an all-or-nothing case for me.

        Watch this video about all the reasons on why you should go vegan:

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        How to become a vegetarian (without overwhelming yourself)

        The best way you can start becoming a vegetarian is by getting knowledge. Reading this article is a great first step: How to Become a Vegetarian (It’s not that Hard as You Thought!)

        After that you should start slowly. The goal is to minimize all the meat in your diet.

        But instead of eliminating all meat from your diet, eliminate one animal at a time.

        For instance: start with beef. Don’t eat it for 30 days. Then eliminate pork in addition to beef. Continue to eliminate a category of meat every 30 days.

        Eventually you’ll elimate all meat and seafood, but because of the gradual approach, it won’t feel unmanageable.

        The key here is to keep it sustainable.

        A word of caution: You may experience resistance and questions about becoming a vegetarian, especially from close friends and family that don’t want to change. Be kind when answering questions and don’t preach the benefits of vegetarianism.

        Lead by example – then let them follow.

        How to become a vegan (a step-by-step guide)

        I’ve eaten meat my entire life. Maybe I even ate too much. I’ve followed the typical bodybuilding diet, rice and chicken with nearly every meal. This someties resulted in over 1 kilogram of meat a day.

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        Since more than 3 years I’m following a vegan diet and I have never looked back. While the original steps to go from meat eating to vegetarian are the same as to become a vegan, the vegan just goes a tad bit further.

        I’ve written down 8 steps to become a vegan here:

        How to Go Vegan (Step-By-Step Guide from a Fitness Coach)

        I especially recommend you reading step 7 and step 8, as it’s the main difference between veganism and vegetarian.

        Conclusion

        To put it simply, veganism is the more hardcore version of vegetarianism.

        Vegans aim to put the exploitation of all animals to an absolute minimum, while vegetarianism mainly reduces direct violence on the animals (e.g. slaughter).

        This is also the reason why veganism has a now cult-like status, as veganism is more about a compassionate lifestyle than a eating behaviour.

        Featured photo credit: QualityGains.com via qualitygains.com

        Reference

        [1] The Vegetarian World Forum: Veganism Defined
        [2] Wikimedia: What is Vegetarianism: Benefit Or Harm On Health
        [3] Source: Olivelle, transl. from the original Sanskrit by Patrick (1998). Upaniṣads (Reissued ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0192835765.
        [4] Borlik, Todd A. (2011) Ecocriticism and Early Modern English Literature: Green Pastures. New York City, New York and London, England: Routledge. pp. 189–192. ISBN 978-0-203-81924-1.

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        Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

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        Last Updated on February 21, 2019

        Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

        Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

        Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

        If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

        When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

        In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

        1. Salmon

        Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

        It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

        Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

        Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

        Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

        Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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        2. Blueberries

        Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

        Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

        Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

        Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

        Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

        3. Turmeric

        Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

        Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

        Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

        Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

        Curcumin has also been shown to:

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        • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
        • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
        • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
        • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

        4. Coffee

        Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

        Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

        Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

        Coffee can also:

        • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
        • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
        • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
        • Improve your memory.
        • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

        5. Broccoli

        What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

        Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

        Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

        Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

        Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

        6. Bone broth

        Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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        Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

        Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

        Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

        Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

        With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

        Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

        7. Walnuts

        Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

        Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

        Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

        Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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        8. Eggs

        For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

        Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

        Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

        9. Dark chocolate

        You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

        Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

        Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

        Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

        Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

        Conclusion

        Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

        In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

        If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

        More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
        [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
        [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
        [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
        [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
        [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
        [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
        [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
        [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
        [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
        [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
        [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
        [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
        [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
        [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
        [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
        [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
        [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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