Labels can be so daunting! Vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, fruitarian, pescatarian, omnivore, herbivore, carnivore and now “flexitarian”?
Some people try to avoid labels because they know that titles create restrictions. Did you “catch” a vegan accidentally eating some mayonnaise with egg in it and give them a hard time? What if you’re trying to be plant-based but you genuinely just want to eat a cheesy pizza?
Following a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be so restrictive, however, and Flexi February is the perfect month to own your own journey and be gentle with yourself.
So what are the key differences between vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian?
1. Who eats meat?
Vegans never eat meat or any form of animal product including dairy, eggs and honey. Vegetarians will eat eggs and dairy, but they don’t eat meat. Flexitarians eat meat “occasionally”, but their focus is on eating mainly plant-based, often for health reasons.
2. Who eats eggs, cheese and milk?
Vegans don’t, but vegetarians and flexitarians do.
3. Which one is better for the environment?
This is a complicated debate, but when breaking it down to its simplest form, a vegan diet has less impact than one that includes meat. But remember that every meat-free meal can make a difference to both your health and the health of the planet.
4. Which diet is healthier for you?
This depends on the person. You could be vegan and eat only deep-fried vegetables and unhealthy fats and carbs. Whether you eat meat or not, it’s always important to have a balanced diet rich in varied fruits and veggies, good fats and proteins, and unrefined carbohydrates. If you want to be more plant-based, one of the tricks is finding the healthiest swops for your meat proteins.
5. Which diet is easiest to follow?
Again, this depends on how much research and meal prep you do. A recent global study into the world’s best diets lists flexitarian as the second “Easiest Diet to Follow”, next to the Mediterranean diet.
Not sure where to start?
Find your personal food identity and experiment. Try using meat, egg, cheese and milk replacements. There are tons on the market now, so play around until you find the ones you like. And then explore with recipes. Pssst: your friends and family might not even be able to tell the difference! Here is a plant-based snacking idea that vegans, veggies and flexis alike will love – the Afternoon Snack Platter using Fry’s Chicken-Style Nuggets and delicious No-Meat Balls.
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