There are A LOT of diets that revolve around eating plants and eliminating some or all animal products… which is a good thing, for our health, the animals & the planet!
But, it can be a little confusing to decipher what’s what AND know what to serve your guests when they associate with one over another…
I’ve compiled a mini breakdown of each type of herbivore, and included a note about where I identify on this list, so you know what you can expect from me!
**Note that both Plant Based & Raw Diets can include meat. They are predominantly associated under the herbivore umbrella, as such, I’ve listed them within this scope.
Put simply, a vegetarian eater will abstain from eating all meat, including poultry, fish & seafood. Some vegetarians identify more specifically as either Lacto Ovo or Lacto vegetarians.
- Lacto Ovo vegetarians eat dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and eggs
- Lacto vegetarians eat dairy products, but abstain from eggs, in addition to meat, poultry, fish and seafood
A vegan is basically a strict vegetarian who abstains from all meat, poultry, fish, seafood & eggs, in addition to dairy, honey & any animal byproducts I.e. bone broth, gelatin etc.
This identifier is a little more specific, because in addition to its diet, being vegan is also associated to a moral stance & lifestyle choice*. Those who both eat vegan and lead vegan lifestyles, also abstain from wearing, or using any animal or animal byproducts… This means they do not wear items such as leather, suede, wool, fur, and also avoid any makeup, personal or household products which either test on animals and/or contain animal byproducts.
*Some individuals do eat vegan, but to not partake in a vegan lifestyle
A person following a plant based diet eats only plant foods, and focuses on eating the whole plant or a minimally processed version of it.
The biggest distinction here, in comparing to a vegan diet, is that a plant based diet is focused around whole, unprocessed foods, in addition to abstaining from all meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs & dairy.
Plant based eaters do eat ‘minimally processed’ foods, like guacamole, hummus, applesauce, salsa, peanut butter & vegetable broth. Foods like bread, pasta & condiments are also generally accepted within the scope of this ‘minimally’ processed realm.
Since being a plant based eater does not denote a moral or lifestyle choice, plant based eaters may eat honey and wear animal skins, or use products which fit outside of the cruelty free/vegan category.
A Raw diet consists of fresh, whole, unrefined plant foods, consumed in their natural state, without cooking or steaming. This means lots of salads and room temperature dishes made of plants, nuts & seeds.
Where I fit
I identity as a plant based vegan!
I’d say I eat plant based about 95% of the time. I do eat vegan protein bars & powders. And at times I treat myself to potato chips, or packaged foods (Because I gotta LIVE a little!). When I do eat these things, I try my best to stick to organic products and brands I trust to be free of unnatural fillers and preservatives. But no, I don’t always have a whole food meal prepared and ready to go!
I also refer to myself as a vegan as my primary reason for eliminating meat from my diet was for moral reasons. I’ve been committed to a cruelty free & skin free lifestyle for some time. Most recently, however, I’ve committed entirely to researching my products and finding not only cruelty free, but also vegan cosmetics, personal and household products.
For me, it’s an ongoing evolution. But first and foremost, it’s about finding compassion.
First for animals, but also for those who don’t hold the same conviction as I do.
And secondly for myself, because sometimes you gotta shrug your shoulders and eat the damn sandwich (even though the server forgot to sub hummus for mayo), or pick off the cheese, or eat whatever it was that was fried in the same pan as who knows what….
I just try to make peace with situations beyond control. C’est la vie… You feel me?
Hope this clears up any of your lingering questions! If you are a herbivore, tell me, which type of veg are you?