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The Difference Between Veganism and Vegetarianism

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Manhattan chapter.

Social media and the internet, in general, have a way of saturating our minds and our lives with an overabundance of information through which we have to find our way. It can be overwhelming and we do not know what to believe because of the many different opinions and messages being spread. The same could be said about “diet culture” nowadays. It seems as if every week another celebrity is promoting their new favorite weight-loss regime or diet. A diet suggests that you are purposefully restricting or cutting certain foods out of your daily life to obtain a certain end, such as weight loss. Some might argue that going vegan or vegetarian is just like starting any other kind of diet, and it very much could be, but I like to view veganism and vegetarianism as lifestyles instead. In this article, I am not claiming to be an expert on either of these topics. I simply want to share my personal experience and hopefully shed some light for those of you who are considering adopting one of these lifestyles but don’t know where to start. 


Living a vegetarian lifestyle implies you do not eat any animal meat, including fish. Vegetarians still eat eggs, dairy, and other animal products, such as honey. When I first chose to go vegetarian back in high school, I did so as an experiment to test whether or not I could cut meat out of my life for at least one month. When that month came to an end, I realized how much I did not miss eating meat, therefore, I decided to turn it into a lifestyle. Not only did I feel physically better, but I learned about all the benefits to the environment and to animals this lifestyle had; it was one small change that had such a significant impact.


If you define yourself as a vegan, you exclude animal products in their entirety. This includes any kind of meat, dairy, honey, etc. Veganism may seem extreme as many claim vegans do not get enough protein or other vital nutrients while living this lifestyle. However, I like to say it all comes down to how you approach it and whether or not you are properly prepared. There is no doubt you may develop a vitamin deficiency if you are not eating nutrient-dense foods that naturally provide your body with its necessary vitamins and minerals. Trust me, there is more to eat than potatoes, french fries, and salad. In my experience, I went vegan for about one month, but because of other health reasons, I decided to revert to vegetarianism. I still choose not to eat dairy, but once in a while, I will have a baked good that may contain butter or put honey in my tea; it’s all about balance. 


If you decide to become a vegan or vegetarian, my biggest piece of advice is in order to make it a sustainable lifestyle, you have to make it work for you. Start off by picking one thing to cut out of your diet, whether that is red meat or cheese. You are more likely to succeed if you ease your way into these new habits instead of going cold-turkey. Even if you only decide to cut one animal product out of your diet completely, a little goes a long way. I wish the best of luck to anyone who decides to adapt to either of these lifestyles and even though it will not be easy in the beginning, it isn’t impossible.

Jana Clark

Manhattan '22

Jana Clark is a senior at Manhattan College majoring in Communication with a minor in Environmental Studies. Her passions include writing, photography, and health/nutrition! One day she hopes to work for a nonprofit organization where she can be part of the effort to end the marginalization of vulnerable communities and fight for social justice. You can often find Jana volunteering, at the gym, or exploring different parts of the Big Apple.
Michaela is a Childhood Education Major with Concentrations in Math and Spanish at Manhattan College. She will be continuing her studies in the Masters program at Manhattan, and earn a Masters Degree in Special Education. She was a member of Her Campus at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA and is now the Campus Correspondent and Senior Editor at Manhattan! She is beyond excited to be a Jasper and that she found her home at MC!