Vegetarian? Vegan? Raw? What’s The Difference?

Vegetarian? Vegan? Raw? What's The Difference?

What does vegan mean? How is it different from vegetarian? What is raw food? These are questions many people have. In this video: Vegetarian? Vegan? Raw? What’s The Difference? I’ll help you get clear.

Last weekend Nana Kwaku and I took a day hike in north Georgia at Tallulah Gorge State Park located in Tallulah Falls, Georgia. This is a beautiful site, well worth the 600 some stairs you have to walk down, and then back up. My thighs and calves are finally getting back to normal after 4 days! That’ll get me to ramp up my game at the gym.

While we were there we recorded this quick video to talk about what is the difference between vegan, vegetarian, and raw food diets.

Eating a vegan vegetarian diet is important for the health of Afrikans (African Americans and other people of African descent). We as black people are suffering and dying from preventable and reversible diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, cancer, lupus,  etc. Black vegetarians and vegans greatly reduce their incidence of disease and those that adopt a vegan diet can reverse and heal from disease that they already have.

Vegetarian is a term that means different things to different people. Some people even call themselves vegetarian even though they eat chicken or fish.

In this video I talk about the Diet Continuum and what the different vegetarian terms mean.

I would love to hear from you. What definitions have you heard?


Leave a comment …. Ask a Question … Join the Conversation!


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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Helping my coaching clients go from vegan wanna-be to Unshakably Vegan! From meal-time boredom to loving what they eat. From self-sabotage to taking control. From tempted by all the wrong choices in their non-vegan world to making the right decisions. And from sick and tired to vibrant and healthy. Discover your personal recipe for success and abundant health! BE UNSHAKABLE!

13 Comments on “Vegetarian? Vegan? Raw? What’s The Difference?

11/07/2016 at 2:41 pm

Hi Ama!
Thank you for posting great explanations in the video! I, myself is trying to get more into raw foods as I’m sure it is more healthier for you and also a mix of becoming a vegan/vegetarian. I do, however, eat a lil meat, minimizing red meat of course. Trying to incorporate more plant based diet, more veggies and fruit. I love the waterfall in the background looks very peaceful and relaxing. Wish I could be there 🙂

Mario daniels
08/23/2016 at 1:13 pm

Ama I just want to say thank you for taking the time to better African Americans life and our vision of our self for long-lasting living

08/27/2015 at 11:26 am

AMA you sent me an email asking can I be a Vegetarian an still eat Chicken and Fish. My answer is this I don’t label how I eat even now I say I’m still transitioning into eating Plant Based I never subscribe to any one category but I have dabbled in all including Flexatarian , Vegan , Vegetarian , Raw Vegan , Pescatarian. To answer the question No you aren’t a Vegetarian especially if your eating chicken and fish. Vegetarians eat Veggies , Fruit , Grains and depending if your a Lacto Ovo then you dabble with Eggs and Cheese. There are too many categories of Vegetarianism. I enjoyed the video and how you broke down each one. I say to each his own eat right for your lifestyle and take your time transitioning. Labels cause conflict life’s too short to argue about what Vegan is and isn’t. Vegans would hate me because I’m trying to eat this way to save my life and not to save the life of an animal and I see nothing wrong with eating honey. So if I must use a label it would be Plant Based ~ Fruits , Grains, Veggies , Beans, Seeds ,Nuts.

Ama Opare
08/27/2015 at 12:40 pm

Gigi, I think more and more people are moving to that “plant-based” term instead of “vegan”.

08/23/2015 at 3:27 pm

I believe pretty much the same way. I am a vegetarian but I do eat dairy. I eat no meat, poultry , seafood etc. whatsoever. I eat soy meats, nut milk, legumes, whole wheat bread and veggies. So that’s my take. I am always striving to more toward to raw food spectrum.

08/21/2015 at 7:06 pm

I am so interested in the vegan lifestyle! I have been going back and forth with ‘eating clean’ and being vegetarian for almost 20 years. I am fully ready now as I approach 40 this year! My plan is to eat Raw Vegan during the Summer months and just Vegan during the rest of the year. I am from Michigan, so I need warm food to accommodate this climate!
I am ready to just go with it now! I will continue my detoxing until next week and go from there!
I really love reading the articles, watching the videos and scanning the recipes on Food for the Soul!!!! They have been helpful, encouraging and motivational!!!! Thank you so much!!!!

Ama Opare
08/27/2015 at 12:33 pm

Zawadi, you are most welcome. I spent many years up in the midwest so I understand that cold. You can add warming spices to your raw food to help. I also find drinking hot tea can chase the chill away. I encourage you to still include plenty of raw foods even if you do move towards more cooked.

08/11/2015 at 9:57 pm

No. If you eat anything that moves on its own has blood in it then you are not a vegetarian.Why people want to fool them selves or others is interesting;they are trying to redefine reality.

Ama Opare
08/13/2015 at 9:46 am

akojo so true! 🙂

Rachel Hughes
05/25/2015 at 8:36 am

Its definitely been a journey for me. Starting with the ethics then moving onto optimizing health. Although the issue of ethics and sustainability are critical, I do think, and share with clients, the importance of honoring where you are. When you are ready to challenge yourself with stepping deeper into a plant based diet and away from animal based protein, do it! But really give it a chance and be thoughtful. Being thoughtful, even journaling about your experience, is really helpful. It allows you to record that “mental shift” you spoke of and really grow from there, enabling you to take ownership of your choices and really understand why you choose to eat what you do! Its an excision journey and so fulfilling!

Ama Opare
05/26/2015 at 10:50 am

Rachel I agree that the thoughtful piece is necessary. We also use journaling as a component of the change process. It is key.

12/02/2014 at 12:37 pm

Thank you for the video. I am still exploring how to get to Raw Foods category. I have dabbled with vegetarianism and veganism but I have fallen off the wagon and I’m trying to get back on! I love the results and I can tell that my taste buds are changing because the foods that I normally like don’t taste the same. I also know that there has to be a mental shift as well! I think I’m still getting out of the mental shock of not cooking my food or the quick fix of microwave. I need to think about “preparing” the food and not “cooking” the food, I think that takes a mental shift!

Dear Ama, Can you make some suggestions on how to make that mental shift from “cooking” to “preparing” food?

Thank you and Be Well!

Ama Opare
12/06/2014 at 12:16 pm

lcscott40 thank you for your comment. You are so correct. It does take a mental shift. I suggest several things. First is to educate yourself as much as possible so that when you are tempted to go back you remember why you are doing this. In our clinical setting we always recommend doing and extended juice fast. This has several benefits. It helps to break the addictive patterns associated with the cooked food. It also helps with that changing your taste buds you mentioned. Commit to staying raw for at least 90 days to allow yourself to break old patterns. Lastly, make sure you have lots of recipes in your repitoire and the skills and tools you need. Now that it’s colder outside look for warming foods using curries, peppers etc. Good Luck!


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