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Vegan OR Vegetarian for your Mental Health?

Box: Vegan Vs. Vegetarian
Toms’ Sign: Looking 4 Vegan Forever Home -NO CATS-
Caption: Tom’s not taking any chances tempting vegetarians, again!

If you live vegan, don’t hate me, but I eat meat!  I have limited red meat over the years to be a special meal. Therefore, it could be said that I have saved a few cows. Over the last 10 years, I have been systematically cutting read meat out of my diet.  Replacing beef with chicken and pork or turkey and fish.  Adding greens, but loving the protein.  Still, I know there are MANY health benefits of a balanced diet. I would never be mistaken for Vegan or Vegetarian.  The truth is I only have a vague understanding of the lifestyle.

For one thing, I have a friend that is a vegetarian. Talking to her a while back, she informed me that she does not eat eggs and dairy products. But she is not vegan?

Vegan OR Vegetarian for your Mental Health?

I’m sorry, maybe I just have too much fat juice on the brain, but did she say that vegan and vegetarian are different???  I always thought it was ONE-IN-the SAME.  Sorry, did not understand the point until I started to take note of the dietary needs of my friends.  In my circle of friends.  Circle of REAL FRIENDS – not social medial friends. These are people I can talk to and have made a meal for in the last 3 months.  These friends fall into the following categories:

  • Vegetarian
  • fruitarian
  • Gluten Free food needs
  • Soy free
  • Dairy Free
  • Diabetic
  • Low Sodium/salt diet
  • digestive issues
  • other misc. medical issues restricting diet.

Will going Vegan OR Vegetarian be good for your Mental Health?  With balance, all things are good. One concern is that Vegan OR Vegetarian is very stressing on the body.  I have seen articles and blogs about the B12 deficiency especially common in vegetarians and vegans.  But I “think” this is more myth than fact.  Since most vegetarians and vegans are well-educated on health concerns, I am sure if there is a deficiency, it is addressed with supplements to compensate the issue.

What I have learned is there is a difference between Vegan and Vegetarian. Oh, and even many differences within them… it’s like an onion with many layers. See the links below for more hard hitting stuff about Vegan Vs. Vegetarian.  

I really liked the post by C.R. Zwolinski, and you get some really great reference links.
One of the authors of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money says:

“As someone who used to be vegetarian and even vegan for many years in my past, I remember being leery of people telling me my diet might be lacking certain nutrients. I’d point to studies which showed how healthy a balanced and well-thought out vegetarian diet was. Was my diet balanced and well-thought out? Only occasionally.” ~ ¹ C.R. Zwolinski


Vegan Vs. Vegetarian

The defining line is pretty clear, yet often confused by companies selling food products, or by foodies and chefs. Like vegans, vegetarians do not eat any animal flesh; no chicken, pig, cow, sea animals, nada. In addition to not consuming any animal meat, a vegan doesn’t eat eggs, dairy products or any other product derived from an animal. Vegetarians, on the other hand, tend to eat eggs and dairy products like milk and butter.

Vegans also avoid using products that have been tested on animals like make-up and skin creams, or products made from animal skins such as leather belts and shoes. But vegetarians tend to be a bit more lenient when it comes to using products derived from animals.

When it comes to being a vegetarian, the definition isn’t always clear cut. You might meet a vegetarian who doesn’t eat dairy but eats eggs, or a vegetarian who doesn’t eat eggs or dairy but still wears a leather belt. Veganism, however, is clearly defined: no eating animal flesh, no using products tested on animals or wearing products derived from animals. Us vegans just leave animals alone and let them live their lives, period..  ~ Vegan Motivation ²


¹ C.R. Zwolinski |

² Vegan Motivation|Vegan Vs. Vegetarian – What’s the Difference [And is There Beef?]|

Vegan OR Vegetarian for your Mental Health?

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels).

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2015). Vegan OR Vegetarian for your Mental Health?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Nov 2015
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