Introducing the Vegitan Diet

July 29, 2002

A new word "vegitan" is defined as follows:

veg·i·tan  Pronunciation Key  (vj-tn)


  1. Plant-based;
  2. A diet devoid of animal products such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or dairy products: a vegitan diet.

Do we need another word in the vegetarian universe?

We think we do, because there are people who eat what they call a "vegan diet" but who don't necessarily embrace a vegan philosophy. The definition of veganism goes far beyond food; for example see Vegan Living: A Path to Compassion and FAQ's from the Vegan Society.

Here is the history of this new word, "vegitan": we saw a need for the word because of the constant debates on our discussion boards about what a vegetarian is and what a vegan is, and there are quite a few who are neither, but who simply eat a plant-based diet.

"Vegitan" is not a noun. You wouldn't say, "I am a vegitan" anymore than you would say, "I am a macrobiotic" or "I am a McDougall." You would say, "I eat a macrobiotic diet" or "I eat a McDougall-style diet," or "I eat a vegitan diet."

A vegan diet is always a vegitan diet, but a vegitan diet may not always be vegan, because a vegitan diet may or may not include honey.

The key is that the word "vegitan" in and of itself connotes no political, ideological or philosophical ideals. It's simply a word that describes a diet.

People who eat a vegitan diet may personally believe that it is healthier, that it is better for the environment, that it is more compassionate, and/or that it is tastier. But these concepts are not in any way implied in the definition of the word itself. Vegitan simply refers to what you eat, and does not signify any "whys" which may motivate someone to eat that way.

In our years of experience with running the largest and most popular vegetarian/vegan website in the world, we have seen some in the vegan community who resent another person calling herself "vegan" when she eats a "vegan diet" but does not embrace all the values, philosophies and precepts of veganism. With the creation of the word "vegitan," vegans no longer need be uncomfortable as such individuals can now refer to their "vegitan diet" and be totally clear what they mean.

On the other side, we have seen people on our website who eat a vegitan diet but who do not want to find themselves being covered by a label that doesn't really fit. Vegitan is a useful word for people who don't want to wear a label, they just want to eat a certain way and not have their diet define how they describe themselves. "Are you vegan?" "No," they can now say, "but I eat a vegitan diet."

When posting recipes on VegSource, vegitan recipes are preferred.

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