What is the difference between vegan and plant-based

Eating habits and food choices are changing not just in the US but all over the world. The reasons behind this vary with every individual. While some may limit their meat intake for health reasons, others may completely avoid animal foods because of their love for animals and the environment. This brings us to two main categories, namely vegan and plant-based.

Vegan and plant-based are somehow related and can often be interchanged, but the two are very different.

This article gives you a better understanding of the difference between veganism and plant-based. 

infographic plant based diet vegan

What Is Veganism?

According to the vegan society, veganism is a lifestyle that completely excludes any form of animal exploitation for food, clothing, or any other purpose and alternatively promotes an animal-free lifestyle for the benefits of humans, animals, and the environment.

It also eliminates any products that have been tested or tried on animals, including food, makeup, bathroom items, etc.

See Whipped Shea Butter Recipe,  The Truth About Skincare Products.

What Is A Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet is any diet that excludes the consumption of animal foods, including meat, eggs, dairy, poultry, honey, and seafood such as fish or any other food product that has been tested or tried on animals.

For instance, food products that contain sugar that has been filtered through bone char may not be considered vegan. Likewise, during wine processing, fining agents like fish guts and eggs may be used. Such wines may also not be considered vegan.

vegan burger on a cutting board

What Is Plant-Based?

When someone is plant-based, it simply means their primary food sources are plants such as fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, legumes, and whole grains.

Can You Eat Meat On A Plant-Based Diet?

Plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean vegan as one can still consume minimal amounts of animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, and poultry depending on the different plant-based categories.

According to Marion Nestle, She was the Paulette Goddard professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, “We would all be healthier eating less meat, but less does not necessarily mean none,”

Types of plant-based diets

1.   Vegetarian

This plant-based diet excludes meat, fish, and poultry but allows for eggs and dairy depending on the different categories.

A vegan diet is a type of vegetarian diet that eliminates animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs, and any food that contains these products. When talking about a vegetarian diet, most people think of entirely off animal products, but a vegetarian diet can be classified depending on what type of food is included or excluded. Other classes of a vegetarian diet include:

A. Lacto-vegetarian 

A Lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but excludes eggs and any food containing them.

B.    Ovo-vegetarian

Ovo-vegetarian is a type of vegetarian diet that includes eggs but avoids all dairy products and any foods that contain them.

C.    Lacto-Ovo vegetarian

The Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet excludes meat but allows dairy and eggs.

2.   Pescatarian

A Pescatarian diet is primarily based on plant foods but includes seafood like fish and shellfish but avoids all other forms of meat.

Pescatarians may include dairy and eggs in their diet while others don’t.

3.   Flexitarian

A Flexitarian diet is also called a semi-vegetarian diet, and as the name suggests, it’s the most flexible of all types.

Though its foundation is highly built on plant foods, a Flexitarian diet allows for all types of animal products, including dairy, meat, eggs, and fish.

go vegan image with fruits on a brown background

Difference Between Vegan And A Plant-based Diet

Veganism differentiates from a plant-based diet in that a plant-based diet focuses primarily on plants as the major source of food such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, legumes, whole grains, and beans without eliminating animal products such as dairy, eggs, and honey or even clothing such as wool and leather, which is not the case with veganism. 

Is Vegan Or Plant-Based Healthy?

Whether going vegan or plant-based is healthy depends entirely on what plant foods you choose to eat, as not all plant-based foods are not equal. 

For instance, if you baked potatoes and ate them for lunch with a large bowl of salad and someone else eats French fries with some tomato sauce, you all would have eaten plant-based foods, but its effects on your bodies will be totally different.

Processed plant foods have no nutrients in them and are instead high in saturated fats and trans fats. All of which can contribute to lifestyle diseases.

On the other hand, whole plant-based foods are generally healthy. They are high in minerals, vitamins, and other disease-fighting properties, making plant-based diets a healthy kind of diet to consume.

But if you opt to go vegan, meaning you’ll completely eliminate animal products from your diet, keep in mind that there are essential nutrients you will have to supplement, such as vitamin B12 as they are not available in plant foods.

Also remember, while vegan is more of an ethical pursuit, plant-based is geared more towards promoting a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing.

In Conclusion

Plant-based diets are generally built around plant foods but may allow animal products, whereas a vegan diet completely excludes the consumption of animal products and byproducts.

And although a vegan diet is still a form of a plant-based diet, veganism is more of activism for animals and the environment than for health and wellbeing. For these reasons, most vegans may not worry much about what kind of plant-based foods they consume. This can lead to the neglect of essential supplements that lack in plant foods, and the body can’t produce naturally, leading to health issues.

Consuming highly processed plant foods will still be plant-based, but they may not benefit your body in any way as they have been reaped off their nutrients.

While many may find it challenging to cut off animal products from their diet completely, it may be easier to choose from one plant-based diet category. 

Diet such as Lacto-vegetarian, Ovo-vegetarian, Lacto-Ovo vegetarian, Pescatarian, and Flexitarian. if you don’t have a reason to choose one diet type over the other, you can generally consume any animal foods.  However,  remember to build your meals around plants and consume animal products in moderation.

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