Vegan lifestyle – living without killing or exploiting animals, including not eating meat, dairy and other products from animals, and not buying products made from, or tested on animals. This may include finding a community of vegans, and taking part in social, political, or educational efforts to promote veganism.
Vegan diet – like a vegan lifestyle, but limited to dietary choices.
Vegetarian – like a vegan diet, but less strict. It can include dairy products, like milk and butter. It might include eggs. People who eat eggs and milk are also called “ovo-lacto vegetarians.” While this might sound redundant, it’s not, because in some places “vegetarian” is equivalent to “vegan”. Some Chinese restaurants will advertise they are “vegetarian”, but it means vegan.
Flexatarian – a newer term encompassing people who eat less meat. There are also terms for specific forms of eating less meat:
- Pescatarian – eats fish, but no other meats. This is a bias from cultures where meat only refers to red meat.
- Frutarian – eats only the fruit of a plant, sparing the life of the plant. They eat nuts as well.
- Whole Plant Based Diet – a newer term that’s imprecise, but advocates for eating more of the plant, or foods like celery where you can eat the plant (at least the part growing above ground).
- Pollotarian – a diet that’s vegetarian but includes chicken. (Seriously? Chicken is meat. This is an omnivore diet!)
In the United States, several religions advocate for one of the meat-limited diets: Buddhism, Seventh Day Adventism, Hinduism, Jainism, Baha’i, Rastafarianism. Why is this important?
It’s one way to find sources of vegan and vegetarian foods. Countries with diverse ethnic populations will also have diverse faiths, and some of these communities will have stores that sell vegetarian and vegan ingredients.