If you know a thing or two about going vegan, you've probably already figured out that it doesn't involve meat and that vegans aren't about killing animals for food. But seafood isn’t always considered to be meat, and dairy comes from live mammals. So are fish and milk products allowed on vegan diets?

The quick answer: Nope.

Don’t worry, we’re not just going to leave you hanging there. Let’s dig a bit deeper.

As one of the stricter forms of vegetarianism, a vegan diet isn’t concerned with if the creature lives on land or sea or if they’re alive or dead when used for food. Vegans cut out all animals, and all animal products, whether they come from the flesh, the byproducts, or the hides. People who forego land animals but eat fish and dairy go by the term “pescatarians.”

We’re going to get controversial for a second, though, and talk about ostrovegans. Ostrovegans avoid all meat and dairy, and most seafood except bivalves like mussels, clams, and oysters. The rationale here is that these organisms contain no central nervous system, so they can’t feel pain when being killed or farmed. As you might expect, it’s a pretty polarizing concept; plenty of people support the inclusion of bivalves on a vegan diet, that they’re still animal products and should be off-limits.

Our take, as always: Whatever side of the ostroveganism fence you’re on, do what works best for your needs, your body, and your beliefs. If you’re the one doing the eating, it’s totally your choice!

Ready to give vegan a try? Let's start with these vegan brunch recipes that prove the meal isn't always about eggs.

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