To me, being vegan is about finding the best way to live that is both healthful and humane. I often feel greater kinship with near vegetarians who are striving to live more ethically than with those who eat a strictly vegan diet for reasons of personal health.

Here, and in my examiner column, I choose to focus on diet—practical, health and philosophical aspects—because this is the area in which I have expertise. And diet has a huge impact on animal suffering. But being vegan is not about “what should I have for dinner?” It’s about “what choices can I make today to minimize animal suffering?”

Do we need some new terminology to describe that difference? How can the word vegan mean someone who chooses a particular diet to protect their health and also mean someone who avoids all animal products—dietary and otherwise—to protect animals?