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Have you ever wondered, "What is a vegan?"Maybe you are one and people have asked you for a strict definition of what that means. Or maybe you are thinking about making the diet change and want to know what's expected of you.
I'm not a huge fan of forcing someone into a particular category for their diet choices. I would prefer to allow people a little breathing room rather than get up in their face about them eating an occasional bite of something non-vegan.
I believe in making veganism practical and easy for anyone and everyone.
In my opinion, this makes veganism more accessible and less of an extreme. I think we can make a greater difference in people's lives and the lives of animals by including more people. What sense does it make to make veganism a special club that only the most devoted can join?
Some vegans may disagree with this philosophy, and I respect them for their devotion. They are the more likely ones to stick steadfastly to the rules and definitions below.
Hopefully these definitions will give you a better idea of what is a vegan and of the different types of vegetarians.
Sometimes called strict vegetarians, vegans are people who eat absolutely no animal products. Vegans eat no meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, or dairy products. Most of the time, this also includes animal byproducts like honey, gelatin, and sheep oil.
Most vegans avoid wearing anything made from animal products, such as leather, wool, silk, and coats with down feathers in them. Some vegans also choose to avoid using any products in their lifestyle that might have any animal byproducts in them, especially beeswax, lanolin, retinol, and a variety of other ingredients derived from animals.
The difference between a vegetarian and a vegan is that vegetarians will eat dairy products and/or eggs, but not the flesh of any animals, "nothing with a face." Some vegetarians may also choose to avoid products made from animals such as leather, wool, and and silk, just like vegans. They choose their line of distinction here.
Pescatarians will not meat or poultry, but they will eat seafood and fish. Some eat dairy products and eggs and others do not.
These people eat only chicken, and not other red meat or fish. Some eat dairy products and others do not. I would assume most eat chicken eggs as well.
Lacto-ovo people are actually very close to vegans as they follow a vegan diet except for eggs and dairy products. This is just another branch of vegetarianism.
The difference between lacto and lacto-ovo is that lacto vegetarians do not eat eggs, but they do eat milk products.
I have only very rarely ever heard someone call themselves a beegan, as it's mostly a joke term. Beegans would be people who are vegan except for honey and bee products. Some people make a distinction between insects and animals and are ethically fine with eating insect byproducts.
Another type of vegan is someone who eats everything vegan, but doesn't avoid all animal products like beeswax, lanolin, and retinol (or other animal byproducts.) They often are dietary vegans solely for the health benefits, so they are fine with wearing clothing and shoes made out of animal products, as well as using toiletries that are not vegan.
I know many people who fit into the flexitarian category. They usually eat vegan or vegetarian, but occasionally allow for meat or dairy products.
Someone who reduces their consumption of animal products but isn't necessarily avoiding them completely.
People who choose to eat primarily local food, which means they eat what is in season. Sometimes locavore can also be vegan, and vice versa.
See how silly some of these definitions get? I doubt many people walk around saying they are lessetarians. I think it's much easier to say, "I avoid eating meat products." But, if you need a label, there you go, your examples of what is a vegan.
Or, maybe someone just accused you of being a Beegan because of a piece of bread you just ate and you need to figure out what that means. I hope this helped you to know what is a vegan.