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Vegetarianism, Veganism, or Flexitarianism Know the Difference

Vegetarianism, Veganism, or Flexitarianism Know the Difference

Last Updated: 28-09-2023

Written by :

Dt.Bhakti Shrivastava
Clinical Dietitian

Reviewed By:

Counselling Psychologist MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
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What is vegetarianism?

Imagine your plate as a lush garden, bursting with colors and flavors, but devoid of meat, poultry, and fish. That is vegetarianism, where folks nurture their well-being by embracing plant-based nourishment. Some vegetarians welcome dairy products and eggs into their leafy haven, while others politely decline the dairy door and embrace eggs with open arms. And then there s the pescatarian, a culinary adventurer who treads lightly on the sea s bounty but leaves the land s animals in peace.

How does vegetarianism work?

Vegetarianism is like choreographing a symphony with vegetables as the stars. It s a dietary dance that swaps out animal-based ingredients for vibrant plant companions like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. But, just like any performance, it requires careful planning to ensure your body receives its daily dose of protein, iron, calcium, and zinc.

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Health benefits of vegetarianism

Picture a heart-shaped balloon floating through the sky, with "Vegetarian" written across it. This diet lowers the risk of heart disease, strokes, and type 2 diabetes. It s like a calming breeze that gently lowers blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body weight. It s a potion that nourishes your digestive system, fills you with energy, and shields you from some types of cancer.

Other benefits of vegetarianism

But the magic doesn t stop there. Vegetarianism extends its green fingers to Mother Earth, as it s more environmentally friendly than traditional meat-based diets. Plus, it often puts less strain on your wallet, and it carries an ethical aura, as it lessens the demand for animal farming.

Downsides of vegetarianism

Yet, in this garden of greens, there are some thorns. Finding the right balance of protein, iron, and calcium can be like searching for buried treasure. And when dining out, vegetarians may sometimes feel like they re in a culinary jungle, searching for their preferred fare. Thankfully, this forest is slowly growing friendlier to herbivores.

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What is veganism?

Now, take vegetarianism and raise the bar even higher. Imagine a world where no animal products enter your kitchen kingdom. That s veganism, a lifestyle that excludes not only meat but also dairy, eggs, and even the sweet embrace of honey. Vegans walk the path of compassion even further, steering clear of non-food animal products like leather, wool, and silk.

How does veganism work?

Veganism is the art of crafting your diet entirely from the bosom of Mother Nature. But, beware, it s a delicate dance where you must plan meticulously to ensure you re getting enough protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12, an elusive sprite, only resides in animal products, so vegans often have to summon it through supplements or fortified foods.

Health benefits of veganism

Veganism not only echoes the health benefits of vegetarianism but also adds a few extra gems to the treasure chest. It reduces the risk of specific cancers, like prostate and colorectal cancer, while treating your kidneys with kindness. It s a fortress against Alzheimer s and Parkinson s.

Other benefits of veganism

Much like vegetarianism, veganism lends its hand to a greener, more economical, and ethical way of living.

Downsides of veganism

But the vegan path is not without its challenges. It s like traversing a tightrope without a net, as it excludes all animal products, making it even trickier to source essential nutrients like protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.

What is a flexitarian diet?

Now, let s enter a garden with a twist. A flexitarian diet is like a vibrant meadow where plant-based delights flourish, but occasionally, a flavorful animal product blooms. Flexitarians, like culinary acrobats, indulge in meat, poultry, or fish once in a while, savoring these treats with a sense of balance.

How does a flexitarian diet work?

Flexitarians curate their meals from a diverse bouquet of plant-based foods. They let the flavors of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts take center stage. But every now and then, they invite meat or fish to join the feast, savoring these guests in moderation.

Health benefits of a flexitarian diet:

Imagine a spectrum of well-being, where full-time vegetarians and vegans occupy one end, and meat enthusiasts hold the other. Flexitarians reside comfortably in the middle, reaping many of the health rewards of plant-based diets while allowing themselves occasional indulgences in animal products.

Other benefits of a flexitarian diet:

Flexitarians enjoy the same eco-friendly, cost-effective, and ethical advantages as their vegetarian and vegan counterparts.

Downsides of a flexitarian diet

However, the challenge for flexitarians lies in determining how much and how often to include meat, poultry, or fish in their diet. Finding that perfect balance requires a bit of culinary finesse, but it offers a flexible and flavorful way to embrace a mindful approach to eating.

A comparative study:
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What is the difference between vegetarianism, veganism, and flexitarian diet?

  • Vegetarianism is a diet that excludes all meat, including poultry and fish, but may include eggs and dairy products.
  • Veganism is a stricter form of vegetarianism that excludes all animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and honey.
  • Flexitarianism is a semi-vegetarian diet that focuses on eating mostly plant-based foods, but allows for occasional meat consumption.

How do they work?

Vegetarianism works by excluding all meat, including poultry and fish. This means that vegetarians focus on eating plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Veganism works by excluding all animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and honey. This means that vegans must carefully plan their diet to ensure that they are getting all of the nutrients they need from plant-based foods.

Flexitarianism works by focusing on eating mostly plant-based foods, but allowing for occasional meat consumption. Flexitarians may choose to eat meat once a week, once a month, or even less often.

Health benefits

Vegetarianism and veganism have been linked to a number of health benefits, including:

  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as heart     disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Improved weight management
  • Increased energy levels
  • Reduced risk of cancer

Flexitarianism may also offer some health benefits, but more research is needed.

Other benefits

Vegetarianism and veganism can also have other benefits, such as:

  • Reducing environmental impact
  • Reducing animal suffering
  • Promoting ethical consumption


Vegetarianism and veganism can be challenging to follow, especially at first. It is important to plan your diet carefully to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need.

Flexitarianism is easier to follow than vegetarianism or veganism, but it is important to still be mindful of your nutrient intake.

Which diet is right for you?

The best diet for you is the one that you can stick to and that meets your individual needs and goals. If you are interested in trying a vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian diet, it is important to do your research and talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to make sure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need.

Here are some additional tips for following a vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian diet:

  • Make sure to include a variety of plant-based foods in your diet to get all of the nutrients you need.
  • If you are following a vegan diet, you may need to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
  • If you are following a flexitarian diet, be mindful of your portion sizes and choose lean protein sources when you do eat meat.

No matter which diet you choose, it is important to focus on eating healthy, whole foods.

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