Vegganism is a dietary preference that is gaining popularity. Essentially, a veggan is an ethical vegan who eats eggs due to health or other reasons. It is a diet that can be adopted by vegans needing an extra boost of nutrients, vegetarians looking to make the next step for animals, or even meat eaters wanting to say goodbye to animal cruelty but not sure they can be entirely vegan yet.
Typically, since veganism and animal ethics is at the heart of this diet, a veggan will opt for humane-certified or pasture-raised eggs, as they are more ethical than conventional, cage-free and free range. Veggan is not an official term so it is still being shaped by the people who follow this diet. I feel I am one of those people wanting to give a voice to veggans and a structure to the veggan lifestyle, and so I think it is important to lay out not only what it is, but what it can be.
What is the difference between vegan and veggan?
A vegan is someone who eats no animal products whatsoever, or in other words, plant-based products only. Vegans do not eat meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, dairy products, honey or other animal byproducts in any form. They also typically do not wear leather, suede, fur, wool, silk or other materials made from animals. People are vegan due to ethical, health and/or environmental reasons. They may also just be vegan out of general preference or distaste for animal products.
A veggan follows the same rules as vegan, however they do eat eggs. So, in other words, veggans do not eat meat, poulty, fish, milk, dairy products (ice cream, yogurt, cheese, etc), honey or other animal byproducts, but they do eat eggs.
While some may say veggans eat eggs in any form as long as there are no other animal products, I hold that a veggan specifically and consciously eats eggs with ethical impact in mind. For that reason, a veggan would restrict themselves to pasture-raised and humane-certified eggs only, doing their research to ensure the farms they get their eggs from treat their hens with respect.
Veggan vs. Ovo-Vegetarian
Not all eggs are created equal
You might be thinking, okay, so a veggan is the same as an ovo-vegetarian. This is the distinction that I think should be made. We need to keep in mind that not all eggs are created equal. Some eggs come as a result of some of the most horrific animal torture in the industry, and others come from family farm pastures where hens can roam and live a happy life. This is an extremely important distinction to make.
Ovo-vegetarian is the general term for a person who follows a plant-based diet but eats eggs of any kind (conventional, cage free, free range, pasture raised) in any form (baked goods, restaurant omelets, etc), without regard to where and how they were produced. A veggan would ensure that their eggs are coming from humane sources, and likely be very picky and avoid eating products that contain eggs, opting for the whole eggs to be prepared at home or by a trusted source.
Since veggan is a fairly new term, again I don’t want to claim this is the law of what veggan is. But it is what I feel and sense that veggan should be. It’s the avenue that vegans who are having health issues, or vegetarians who want to take an extra stop for animal rights, are looking for. Ethics and love for animals and their wellbeing is at the heart and soul of vegganism.
Why be veggan?
For people who are vegan, the primary reason to switch to a veggan diet is health reasons. Though not at all impossible, it can be very difficult to get all the nutrients you need on a vegan diet. Egg is sort of that miracle superfood that fills in all the gaps in an otherwise plant-based diet. Eggs contains lots of nutrients that can be a bit tricky for vegans to get enough of (vitamin D, b12, protein, iron and more).
For people who are vegetarian, vegganism is an incredible step toward better health and more conscious choices for the planet. Vegetarians are often such for animal ethics, but unfortunately the milk and dairy industry is one of the cruelest in the nation. Not only that, vegetarians tend to lean their diet heavily on cheese, milk, and other dairy products, which are actually pretty bad for your health. Going from vegetarian to veggan is a huge step to make for yourself and for the animals.
If you can be vegan, of course that is the ultimate. I still 100% condone a vegan diet to all and everyone. This is the least harm you can do to animals and by far the most humane decision you can make. However, for some people for whatever reason it can be difficult to give up all animal products. Vegganism is the next best thing when keeping both your health and animal welfare in mind.
I myself was vegan for 16 years and mentally, spiritually and emotionally it’s the best I ever felt. Unfortunately, physically I was not doing as well — I was losing hair, I was always tired, and overall I just didn’t look or feel healthy. Vegganism has really helped my health and I feel and look like myself again.