Being a vegan is definitely more of a lifestyle choice and a philosophy than a diet. Some people believe that the words “vegetarian” and “vegan” mean the same thing, but they do not. Vegetarian is a broader term that encompasses several different diets, while vegans eat a specific type of diet and often try to avoid any animal products in their day to day lifestyle.
Vegans do not eat any type of animal flesh, nor do they consume animal products such as eggs and milk. Most vegans do not eat honey, and some do not eat yeast products. Lifestyle characteristics include not wearing any type of animal product, including silk or wool, and not using lotions or other products that have ingredients that originate from animals. Vegans also avoid using products that have been tested on animals.
Some people may disagree with the meaning of vegetarianism. The general interpretation is that a vegan will not consume any foods of animal origin, not even honey, while a vegetarian might consume eggs (ovo-vegetarian), or dairy (lacto-vegetarian). The principle is to avoid consuming or using anything that could harm any type of animal. Those who adhere to a strict vegan diet but are not concerned with non-food uses of animal products are called dietary vegans.
In principal vegetarians do not eat any animals. This includes pigs, chickens, cows, sea animals, and every other animal. In addition to not consuming any animal flesh, a vegan (strict vegetarian) also doesn’t eat dairy products, eggs, or any other product derived from an animal.
Vegetarianism has been practiced for many centuries. Some are vegetarian for religious reasons, others for ethical reasons, and others simply believe that it is a healthier way to live. As long as one includes all of the necessary vitamins and minerals in one’s vegetarian diet, vegetarianism does not cause any health problems.
What is a raw food diet?
The fundamental premise of the raw food diet is to eat 75 percent uncooked food, as the cooking process destroys enzymes that help us with our digestion. Raw food consists of (usually plant) food that is uncooked and unprocessed, such food often termed "live" or "living".
The raw food diet is based on the belief that a high-enzyme diet will ensure optimal health. Enzymes help us to digest food; raw food contains enzymes already to assist this process. When we cook food, the naturally occurring enzymes are destroyed by heat (over 118ºF or 48ºC), and our own bodies need to produce the enzymes to digest the food. It is thought that this places too much pressure on our bodies, having to both manufacture the enzymes needed, and digest the food at the same time. Cooking is also thought to diminish the nutritional value.