If you’re interested in living a healthier lifestyle, you may be considering switching to a plant-based diet – but upon further research, realize that there’s more than just one way to do this. Without an understanding of the different types of dietary plans, you may automatically assume that going plant-based means beginning a vegetarian or vegan diet, but this isn’t the case!
In reality, there’s a big difference between a plant-based vs. vegan diet. Despite that fact, you can absolutely follow a plant-based vegan diet plan if you choose, but you have to know what the distinction is by adding in the “plant-based”, and how to follow it correctly.
The bottom line is that including lots of plant-based whole foods into your diet, no matter which type of dietary plan you follow, is the distinguishing key to what makes it so beneficial for your health. In this article, we’ll dive into the topic of plant-based vs. vegan and why we believe that fresh whole foods over processed is the best option for your health…
Plant-Based vs. Vegan Diet Plans
The most important thing to recognize when it comes to plant-based vs. vegan diets is that there is definitely crossover possible, but the underlying motivation to start one or the other can be different.
For instance, many people decide to start vegan diets for ethical reasons. Some vegans believe that the process of raising animals for the sole purpose of food promotes animal cruelty, and for this reason, they avoid anything that comes from an animal. This includes animal meats, dairy products, and even clothing such as real leather or fur.
Although a vegan’s diet will likely include lots of plants, there’s still a major difference between the diet plan and a purely plant-based diet. Next, we’ll lay out some differences in various plant-based diets…
Which Dietary Plan is Best for You?
Vegan Diet – Those on vegan diets don’t eat meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, or dairy-based products such as milk, cheese, yogurt or butter. They also don’t eat honey. People who are following this diet for ethical reasons also don’t use any products such as clothing or accessories made from animals.
Vegetarian Diet – While those on vegetarian diets don’t eat any animal products (including meat, poultry or seafood), they do eat foods that come from animals, such as eggs, dairy products, and honey. They may or may not choose to avoid other products made from animals.
Plant-Based Diet – Those who follow a plant-based diet try to avoid most animal products including meat and poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products – but some may still eat small amounts of these items. Instead, they try to get the majority of their calories from fresh, whole foods such as veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes and healthy oils.
Whole-Foods Plant-Based Diet – This last diet category is like a plant-based diet, except it goes a step further. Those on a whole-foods plant-based diet also avoid all highly-processed foods such as refined grains and sweeteners, bleached flours, and white bread and rice. In addition, they avoid all oils, including olive and coconut.
Plant-Based vs. Vegan Grocery Lists
Now that you know the basics about some different plant-based diet categories and what they entail, let’s break down the distinction between diets another way. When it comes to a plant-based vs. vegan diet, let’s take a look into some typical shopping carts for each…
When you think of someone following a vegan diet, your first inclination is probably to assume they’re very healthy, but this isn’t always the case! In reality, a vegan still has a choice as to whether or not they will eat a healthy diet. Why is this? Because there are still lots of unhealthy processed vegan items on store shelves.
Basically, most non-vegan processed foods can still be made vegan, like cookies, chips, sugary yogurts, ice creams, etc. – and putting a vegan label on them doesn’t make them any healthier. In addition, even if a vegan product seems “healthy,” you still need to check the ingredients. In an effort to make the item vegan, manufacturers may add in extra sugar, additives, artificial colors or flavors, and chemical ingredients.
Now in contrast, when it comes to a plant-based vegan grocery list (or a list of someone who is a vegan but also trying to be plant-based), it looks much different. In contrast, this person will stick with the outer rim of the grocery store, and avoid all those questionable aisles in the middle as much as possible (AKA, where all the processed foods are).
The bottom line is that when someone adds the “plant-based” to their dietary plan – no matter what that plan is – it immediately raises the health factor. Following a plant-based diet of any sort simply means that you will try to avoid as much sugar and refined food as possible, and include a plethora of fresh, whole foods into your meals – which is ultimately the best choice for your health and vitality.