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Vegan or vegetarian: what is it, differences and types

Veganism is not only about not consuming foods of animal origin. It is a lifestyle that rejects the use of any type of product that comes from animals: food, cosmetics, medicines, clothing … It is interesting to know the different types of veganism that exist.

The origin of veganism dates back several centuries, although the term veganism was not born until 1944 by Donald Watson. It was he who named this philosophy of life that way, with the main objective of differentiating it from vegetarianism.

Principles of veganism

To better understand this philosophy of life , it is important to know the principles of veganism.

  1. Health: on certain occasions the WHO has declared that a large part of fish contains mercury and that processed meat can be carcinogenic. Many people choose veganism as a way to reject additives and hormones that are used in the diet. Also due to the lower caloric intake of food, they consider that it is a diet suitable for taking care of health.
  2. Ethics: beyond health, many people reject the consumption of food of animal origin because they do not want to be responsible for the death of animals.
  3. Animal Rights: Vegans defend the right of animals to live free, without being exploited or killed. They place them on exactly the same level as people.
  4. Ecology: various studies indicate that the meat industry is the second most polluting, only behind the oil industry. Vegans are convinced that if we dedicate all the food dedicated to animals to ourselves, hunger in the world would end.

Vegetarianism VS Veganism

The first and most important thing is to understand the difference between the two concepts.

The vegetarians follow a diet that includes fish or meat, but do eat dairy and eggs. Still, there are different types of vegetarians depending on the foods they eat.

The vegetarians usually reject those foods made from animal products, such as fat or red dye obtained from cochineal.

Contrary to what many think, vegans not only reject any type of food of animal origin. It is a philosophy of life that is based on the rejection of the use of animals as commodities. Therefore, beyond diet, vegans are totally opposed to garments made with animal products, as well as circuses or zoos. That is, any form of exploitation.

Regarding the diet that vegans follow, they do not consume any food of animal origin . In addition to meat and fish, eggs, dairy, and honey are included.

What types of veganism are there?

Ethical veganism

This is one of the most common types of veganism. It is based on following a strict vegan diet and, in addition, rejecting the exploitation of animals for any purpose. Therefore, ethical vegans do not buy any products derived from the use of animals, such as clothing or cosmetics.

Environmental veganism

One of the most followed types of veganism. It is based on the belief that the animal industry is harmful and harmful to the environment. It must be taken into account that around 37% of global pollution derives from livestock, and especially beef.

Still, the impact that crops have on land and deforestation can also be unsustainable in the long term. That is why maintaining a certain coherence from a moral point of view requires a great effort.

Raw veganism

The raw veganism is based on non – consumption of animal foods, as well as those cooked at a temperature above 40 degrees Celsius. Raw vegans defend that cooking food reduces its nutritional value. Therefore, they consider that this diet is the most beneficial for health, both physical and mental.


This is one of the most “extreme” types of veganism. It consists of feeding only on those parts of the plants that can be harvested without damaging them, such as seeds and fruits.

Vegan diet

Now that you know the types of veganism, the vegan diet focuses on plant foods instead of those of animal origin . However, it is sometimes difficult to obtain certain essential nutrients, such as vitamin B12, which is exclusive to animal feed.

That is why vegans must plan their way of eating very well, and even take vitamin supplements to ensure the proper functioning of their body.


To provide the body with the proteins it needs, vegans choose to consume legumes, grains, seeds and nuts: soybeans, peas, chickpeas, beans, quinoa , rice, corn, barley, wheat, battlements …

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The iodine is an essential nutrient for hormonal process the body . Fish and shellfish are rich in iodine, but vegetables are not. Vegans acquire this nutrient from fortified salts.


Iron is one of the most important nutrients in the body as it promotes oxygen transport . In a vegan diet, the consumption of foods such as quinoa, beans, chickpeas and lentils is essential. To promote the absorption of iron, it is advisable to eat foods high in vitamin C , such as cauliflower or orange.

Essential fatty acids

Since they cannot be synthesized in the body, essential fatty acids have to be consumed. Vegans get them from organic oils, such as soy, canola, or chia oil. It is also advisable to consume walnuts, flaxseeds or raspberries.


To supplement dairy products and their derivatives, vegans generally drink soy or almond milk. In addition, they should take vegetables such as cabbages, spinach or turnips, rich in vitamin D and which help absorb calcium.

Benefits of veganism

Following one of the types of veganism has a number of benefits that are interesting to know. Of course, experts warn of the importance of avoiding a deficiency of vitamins B12 , D, zinc and calcium. That is why it is so important that the eating plan is well structured and planned.

The vegan diet contains sufficient amounts of fiber, magnesium, iron, folic acid and vitamins C and E. In addition, this diet is characterized by having fewer calories, so that the risk of diseases such as obesity is reduced.

Importantly, a vegan diet is not the same as a low-calorie diet . Therefore, eliminating animal foods from the meal plan does not necessarily mean weight loss. Whether or not you are obese depends on more factors, such as your lifestyle. Still, vegans are generally more inclined to take care of themselves and maintain a healthy weight.

In addition, vegans consume much less saturated fat , thus avoiding high cholesterol levels and hypertension.

Health effects of veganism

Many people talk about the health effects of following a diet without the consumption of any type of food of animal origin .

The elimination of animal proteins , especially those that come from red meat, is very beneficial because the risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease, such as myocardial infarction , is significantly reduced .

In general, vegans have lower levels of both blood pressure and cholesterol.

Still, there are also harmful effects that are important to be aware of. And is that strict vegan diets can cause significant nutritional deficits , which can only be prevented by taking vitamin supplements or fortified foods.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common among vegans. This can cause different neurological disorders , especially in the smallest ones, as well as different vascular disorders.

In addition, if the calcium intake is not sufficient, vegans may have lower bone mass.

Veganism, pregnancy and breastfeeding

Nutritionists point out that the well-planned vegan diet can be followed at any stage of life, including pregnancy and breastfeeding. They warn of the dangers of improper planning and a lack of vitamin supplements.

In lactating babies breastfed by vegan mothers, there is a high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency if the woman does not take any supplements. This is a risk factor for children , who can suffer from neurological disorders.

Is the vegan diet healthier?

Finally, we want to answer a question that many people ask themselves: if the vegan diet is healthier. It is true that this type of diet helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol .

However, it cannot be firmly stated that a vegan diet is healthier than an omnivorous diet . Experts explain that a poorly planned and planned vegan eating plan can be very dangerous because there is a high risk of suffering from nutritional deficiencies. There are certain nutrients, such as iron or vitamin B12, that are hardly present in vegetables.

That is why vegans should take nutritional supplements . In addition, there are some foods “veggies” that are not healthy at all, such as ultra-processed.

Ultimately, veganism is a philosophy of life. In recent years it has ceased to be a minority, with an increase of 27% of people who consider themselves vegan in Spain. 9.9% of the population is vegan or vegetarian. The vast majority of these people choose to eliminate animal foods from their diet out of environmental or animal welfare awareness.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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