Vegan dishes displayed on a table with hands reaching for food

Feel like you need a degree in nutrition before you throw a dinner party with your besties? We get it. Gluten-free this. Meat-free Mondays that. It can be hard to keep up-to-date on all the latest dietary requirements! Get to grips with the lingo with our help:

Vegan dishes displayed on a table with hands reaching for food

What is a Vegan?

Veganism is not just a trend, it’s a way of life. If you’ve watched one-too-many food documentaries (ahem, ‘What the Health’) and followed #WhatVeganEats feeds, you may already have a rough idea of what it means to be vegan. But, viral hype aside it essentially means that a person does not eat or use anything that comes from an animal. Because of these exclusions, most vegans follow a plant-based diet.

In addition to diet limitations, vegans would never knowingly use products that come into contact with any animals. This compassion towards animals and vegan activism has been the driving force behind manufacturing ethics and has given rise to things like vegan beauty.

A vegan would never eat: meat, eggs, fish, dairy products or foods that are processed using animal products.

A vegan could eat: fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, beans and pulses.

What is a Flexitarian?

If you follow a plant-based diet most of the time, but eat meat on occasion (say Christmas Day turkey dinner) then odds are you’re a flexitarian (a fancy word for the phrase ‘flexible vegetarian’). It’s a phrase that was first coined in the nineties but is currently growing in popularity thanks to health campaigns like ‘meat-free Mondays.’    

But, isn’t everyone a flexitarian in some ways? Aren’t they picking a choosing when they can eat meat and fish? Are they a vegetarian that has cheat meals on occasion? Yes, the critics are quick to pick apart this diet plan. But, those that follow a flexitarian diet are likely to be limiting their meat consumption as a way to reduce their carbon footprint. To them, it’s a more environmentally sustainable approach than following a carnivore diet, despite occasionally seeking a meat/fish food source.

A flexitarian would never eat: meat/fish every day of the week

A flexitarian could eat: lentils, beans, vegetables, nuts, lean turkey/chicken on meat days

What is a Pescatarian?

A pescatarian follows a vegetarian diet (no meat) but also adds fish and seafood into their diet. The diet plan first emerged back in the nineties and the name comes from the Italian word ‘pesce’ (fish).

There are various reasons why people follow a pescatarian diet. It could be for health purposes, environmental concerns and ethical reasons. Or it may simply be down to taste.    

A pescatarian would never eat: meat (eg chicken, turkey, sausages, steak)

A pescatarian could eat: eggs, dairy, seabass, salmon, mussels, prawns