What are different Types of Vegans? Diets, ethical principles and motivation.

Discover different types of vegans, their diets, ethical principles and the motivation behind them.

What are different Types of Vegans? Diets, ethical principles and motivation.
The level of animal Care is at the heart of most types of vegans

We all know that vegans are people who choose to avoid animal products. Some do it for health reasons, some do it to stop the animal cruelty, some do it because they simply dislike the taste of animal products, some because of environmental reasons. Some give up only meat, while others give up also eggs or dairy. Are all of these diets vegan? And how can we make sense of each one?

Let's discover the motivations and choices that drive people to adopt different types of veganism.

1. Ethical Vegans

Photo by pure julia

Let's start with the most common type of vegan, ethical vegans, who abstain from consuming or using any animal products due to ethical reasons.

They believe that animals have inherent rights and avoiding animal exploitation is a moral imperative.

Ethical vegans extend their lifestyle beyond their diets, avoiding products derived from animals, such as leather and cosmetics tested on animals.

  • Abstain from consuming or using any animal products
  • Advocate for animal rights and avoiding animal exploitation

2. Environmental Vegans

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For this group, their motivation is rooted in the preservation of our planet.

Environmental vegans adopt a plant-based diet to minimize their ecological footprint, recognizing that animal farming contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and water pollution.

  • Minimize ecological footprint
  • Concerned about greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and water pollution

3. Vegetarians

Vegan veggie Bowl
Photo by Jo Sonn / Unsplash

Widely recognized and understood, vegetarians abstain from eating any kind of meat, including fish and poultry.

Their diet primarily consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and dairy products.

Vegetarians often choose this lifestyle for health, ethical, or environmental reasons.

  • Abstain from eating meat
  • Focus on fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and dairy products

While vegetarians can not be counted as vegans, they are essentially on the same path and with similar goals. Very often people who become vegetarians move on to become vegans later in life. Once you start finding out about egg and dairy industry reducing animal products even more becomes the next logical step.

4. Pescatarians

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Taking a further step, we find pescatarians.

This group includes fish and seafood in their predominantly plant-based diet.

Although they forgo other meats, they still consume aquatic delicacies for their health benefits and protein content.

  • Include fish and seafood in their diet
  • Forgo other types of meat

Pescatarians are often motivated by health or ethical reasons. They keep fish in their diet because of health concerns or different ethical beliefs. Fish provide excellent sources of Omega Fats and protein. Similar to vegetarians, pescatarians are often at the start of their vegan journey and move on to full vegan diet later in life. Especially as they realize that protein and omega can be consumed by fully vegan sources.

5. Flexitarians

It’s like milk, but made for humans
Photo by Madalyn Cox / Unsplash

This is a group that embraces a flexible approach to their dietary choices. Sometimes (understandably) not even considered a real type of veganism.

Flexitarians primarily follow a plant-based diet but occasionally consume animal products.

They prioritize reducing their meat intake without completely eliminating it from their meals.

  • Embrace a plant-based diet
  • Occasionally consume animal products

You can read more in our article - What is a flexitarian diet? Flexitarian diet pros and cons?

6. Pollotarians

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Photo by Anita Jankovic / Unsplash

Moving along the spectrum, we encounter pollotarians.

This group includes poultry, mainly chicken, in their otherwise vegetarian or plant-based diets.

They incorporate lean meats like chicken while avoiding other types of animal flesh.

  • Include chicken in their diet
  • Avoid other types of animal flesh

Motivation for pollotarians is often rooted in dislike of read meats, or religious beliefs that some animals like poultry are lesser than others. Usually confused ethical values are at the core of this diet.

7. Ovo-Vegetarians

Egg Pattern
Photo by Estúdio Bloom / Unsplash

Next, we have ovo-vegetarians, individuals who follow a vegetarian diet but include eggs in their meals.

Eggs serve as an additional source of essential nutrients such as protein and vitamin B12.

  • Follow a vegetarian diet
  • Include eggs in their meals

For some, eggs are not truly an animal source because eggs do not feel pain. While eggs themselves don't feel the pain, this belief ignores the cruelty for chickens that are grown to lay the eggs. Often times eggs are part of early vegan diets that are yet to realize how the egg industry is essentially just as cruel as meat industry.

8. Ostrovegans

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A unique subgroup, ostrovegans follow a vegan lifestyle but incorporate bivalve mollusks such as clams, mussels, and oysters into their diet.

They believe that bivalves lack a centralized nervous system and do not experience pain, allowing them to enjoy their nutritional benefits guilt-free.

  • Incorporate bivalve mollusks into their diet
  • Associate bivalves with the lack of pain

Ostrovegans are usually a branch of ethical vegans that focus on reducing animal cruelty. Their belief that mollusks do not feel pain let's them enjoy the benefits of eating these animals without compromising their ethical values.

By following this diet they do however still promote fishing and can easily confuse non-vegans into rationalizing other animal consumption.

9. Religious Vegans

Men and women puncture their cheeks with sharp items, including knives and skewers on the Vegetarian Festival. It's believed that the Chinese gods will protect them from harm, resulting in little blood or scarring.
Photo by Anna Sushok / Unsplash

In some religions, certain dietary restrictions align with vegan practices.

Religious vegans adhere to these teachings, abstaining from all animal products as part of their religious beliefs.

  • Their motivations are rooted in spirituality and faith.
  • Follow religious teachings
  • Abstain from all animal products

10. Raw Vegans

w/ Platterz
Photo by Dan Gold / Unsplash

Raw vegans take veganism to an extreme level by consuming only uncooked and unprocessed plant foods.

  • They believe that cooking destroys valuable enzymes and nutrients, opting for a diet primarily consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in their natural state.
  • Consume uncooked and unprocessed plant foods
  • Focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds

We have an article that goes deeper into raw vegan lifestyle and foods they eat.

Raw veganism is extreme and dangerious to human health, and should not be exercised without the consent of a nutritionist. There is nothing logical, nothing ethical or extra beneficial to this diet, so we are suggesting not to go this way.

11. Dietary Vegans

After two weeks of living on bourbon and donuts (okay, fine. Two and a half.) I decided it was time to kick myself into healthy gear. Pulled out favorite fresh veggies, drizzled with sesame oil, rice vinegar and a kiss coconut aminos. And reminded myself that fast food doesn’t have to come from a drive thru.
Photo by Brooke Lark / Unsplash

Dietary vegans focus solely on the food aspect of veganism, eliminating all animal-derived products from their meals.

Their motivations often lie in health and nutrition, choosing this lifestyle for its potential benefits such as weight loss and improved metabolic markers.

  • Eliminate animal-derived products from meals
  • Focus on health and nutrition goals

Dietary vegans often are not aware of the ethical or environmental concerns, therefore are likely to go back to eating meat once their health concerns are no longer a priority.

Visual Explanation of different Vegan Diets

Here is a graph explaining the different type of ethical considerations that different types of diets consider.

What kind of food a person chooses to eat is a result of their value system.  Th
A diet Map / Photo By: Dustin Dewynne

On left we have omnivores who have little regard for the suffering of animals and will eat pretty much anything. Then moving left we have pollotarians and pescatarians who include chicken or fish respectively. On the right side we have vegans and vegetarians and other types of vegans, who gradually make their diets more strict to minimize the suffering as much as possible.