vegan vs. vegetarian vs. conventional diet

Vegan vs. Vegetarian vs. Conventional Diet: Which is RIGHT For You?

With so many diets out there it’s hard to figure out which is the optimal for your goals. The guide below is comparison of three popular diets: vegan, vegetarian and conventional animal based.

Let’s start with the traditional animal based diet:

Animal based diet are the most popular out there. Many cultures (including ours here in North America) rely on animal based diets. They are essentially diets that include both plant and animal based foods.classic-diet

Is this for you:

If you are a meat eater who enjoys a lot of variety in food, then this is the diet for you! With a conventional diet you can enjoy all poultry, meat (including game meat), fish, eggs, grains, and vegetables. There are typically no restrictions with animal based diets.

Pros:

  • Enjoy the most variety
  • Protein rich
  • Easy to plan meals
  • Can including a wide variety of protein powder supplements
  • Easy to hit macronutrients
  • Not many restrictions!

Cons:

  • Usually high in saturated and animal fats
  • Can be high in cholesterol
  • Can be very unhealthy (if including unrefined grains and processed foods)
  • Can be very calorie dense leading to weight gain

How to make it healthier:

If you are looking to shed some body fat and make this diet healthy, ensure to stick with leaner protein sources and unrefined grains and starches. Make sure to include lots of veggies and choose to cook with healthy oils like coconut oil. (Click here if you are looking for a healthy animal based meal plan!)

Vegetarian Diets: Pros & Cons

Vegetarian diets are very popular in East Asian cultures and have been around for centuries. Vegetarian enjoy a plant based diet and dairy products (including eggs and milk). veg

Is this for you?

If you are not a big meat eater or for other health or cultural reasons would like to reduce animal based foods, then this is the diet for you!

Pros:

  • Can still enjoy a wide variety of protein sources
  • Eat a larger variety of plant based foods including legumes
  • More earth friendly

Cons:

  • Difficult to eat adequate amount of protein
  • Must read labels and ensure you are not eating animal meats
  • Can be “carb heavy” making weight loss difficult (many traditional vegetarian diets rely on heavy starch intake) 

How to make it healthier:

Many vegetarian rely on heavy oils and refined carbohydrates as a source of energy (think pasta, rice based dishes and breads). Make your diet healthier by switching to unrefined healthy fats like coconut oil and unrefined grains and starches. Make a shift towards including more vegetables and reduce amount of heavy refined carbohydrates. Add a vegan protein supplement to ensure you are eating enough protein for your fitness goals.( Also check my vegetarian meal plan!)

Vegan Diet: Pros & Cons

Vegan diets are plant based diets that are void of all animal foods. Vegans consume only plant based foods and steer away from all dairy products, fish and meat.vegan

Is this diet for you:

This is the perfect diet for those who for ethical or health reasons do not want to consume animal products, This diet is generally low fat and void of saturated animal fats so perfect for those who need to watch their cholesterol. There is a slew of evidence that supports vegan diets

Pros:

  • Most earth friendly and humane
  • Reduces carbon footprint
  • Void of animal fats (low fat)

Cons:

  • Difficult to hit macronutrients (specifically protein)
  • Difficult to gain weight using vegan diet
  • Must be cautious of hidden animal products in all foods
  • Can be difficult planning meals

How to make it healthier:

Vegans can only eat plant based foods which usually translates into a high carbohydrate intake with low amount of fat and protein. Make your diet healthier by adding nuts, seeds and dairy free milk alternatives like cashew yogurt. Add a vegan shake and legumes to your diet to ensure you are eating enough protein. (Here is a healthy vegan meal plan!)

I hope this helps you make a informed decision. It’s important to choose a diet that compliments your lifestyle as you will not be able to stick to it if it doesn’t. And if you are looking for workout plan, check out my online program (which comes with the above meal plans).

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