Decoding the Differences Between Vegetarian, Vegan, and Pescatarian Diets
You may have heard of the purported benefits of a diet that doesn’t include meat, but when your friend tells you they are switching to a vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian diet, what exactly does that mean? Read on for a better understanding of these terms. Note that the word diet in this article refers to the general kinds of foods a person chooses to eat rather than to a regimented way of eating that is followed to obtain a particular result.
If you follow a vegetarian diet, you do not eat any type of meat or animal flesh. This includes birds, fish, and sea creatures. Most vegetarians try to avoid meat-based broth and other foods that utilized meat during their preparation. Vegetarians still enjoy animal by-products such as cheese, milk, or honey. Choosing to follow a vegetarian diet has become increasingly common as people opt to avoid meat for ethical or environmental reasons.
A vegan diet excludes both animal flesh and animal by-products. Vegans do not eat milk, eggs, or honey. They choose to base their diet on plants. If you don’t follow a vegan diet, you may wonder how vegans eat enough protein to sustain their energy and health. Protein and iron are plentiful in many plant-based foods like dark leafy greens or nut butter. With proper care, vegans can enjoy a diverse and robust diet that is more than adequate to meet their nutritional needs.
Pescatarian diets are like vegetarian ones except that they include fish. Many pescatarians will also eat other sea creatures such as mussels or crabs, though it can differ from person to person. It is best to ask if you have a pescatarian for a dinner guest. Sometimes the pescatarian diet is also called flexitarian. Flexitarians usually stick to a vegetarian diet but will sometimes eat meat or fish in special circumstances. Strictly speaking, though, a pescatarian diet will never include animal flesh products from land animals like chicken or beef. While someone might choose a vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian diet for health, lifestyle, or cultural reasons, they can each provide excellent nutrition when practiced mindfully.
This post was first published on wfmchealth.org.