Plant Based Diet vs Vegan: What’s the Difference
Living in a gradually evolving world, you constantly come upon new trends, ideas and terms. And it is so easy to get lost in the sea of opinions, truths and untruths, eventually leading to confusion about these topics. One such topic would be what diets we follow as individuals – whether we are a vegetarian, flexitarian, pescatarian, etc.
However, there are two types that people frequently get confused about: a plant-based diet and a vegan diet. Nevertheless, worry not, because we will delve deep into this matter to help you understand the concept of these diets, which may as well help you make decisions about your own personal diet. So, let us begin!
What Is A Plant-Based Diet?
Plant-based diets are comprised mostly of plants. People following this kind of diet make a choice to eat food that comes primarily from plants or is plant-derived.
The terminology may make it sound as though the whole diet is based wholly on plants. And while it is partially true, there are exceptions to the case.
Having a plant-based diet in no way means that you only have to consume plant-based foods. Even though this may be an option for a number of followers of this diet, a few others do add some meat and animal-based food to their carts. This essentially means that you are not bound to eat only plants and depending on your preference, you may have meat or dairy once in a while. The amount however, has to be minimal for your diet to be still considered a plant-based one.
By choice, followers of a plant-based diet avoid meat and poultry. The same goes for seafood or eggs and dairy products – they are also avoided. All other kinds of food like oils or highly processed foods such as white rice or refined sweeteners can be consumed. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables and legumes are chief parts of a plant-based diet.
What Is A Vegan Diet Or Vegetarianism?
People who follow a vegan diet or are vegetarians totally abstain from animal-based food. This type of lifestyle is not only bound to their food habits but also other types of consumption or use of animal-based products.
A vegan has to strictly avoid animal derived food and this is done solely for ethical reasons. If you thought about the welfare of animals or the cruelty in killing them or if the current world environment was the reason behind your change, you are a vegan. Those were the main reasons behind the start of veganism. However, now that it has come to become so popular, many people have also switched to being vegans without much of a motive or inspiration. Then again, most others still continue this diet thinking about the wellbeing of the world they live in.
Unlike a plant-based diet, there are no exceptions in the case of vegetarianism – it is plant food all the way, 24/7. This is a key factor is differentiating between the two. Science refers to “vegans” or “vegetarians” as people who survive only on plant-based goods. And even a small deviation, no matter how insignificant, makes a world of difference in the said matter.
Meat, poultry and seafood are an absolute no-no for all vegans. So are eggs and all kinds and forms of dairy products. Note that there is a huge difference between avoiding and completely excluding such foods from your diet. But like plant-based diets, veganism allows the consumption of oils, highly processed foods, whole grains, fruits, veggies (even starchy ones), legumes and such.
Raw Veganism – What Is It?
Another term always associated with veganism is raw veganism. The ideologies of veganism and raw foodism have been combined to create this new and interesting form of diet. Not only keeping the animals and environment in mind, raw veganism is also concerned about the health of its followers. It has been seen that this diet has done wonders for weight loss, in controlling diabetes and also maintaining a healthy heart.
In raw veganism, meat and animal derived foods are eliminated. But after applying the laws of raw foodism, the followers of this diet only consume plant-based raw foods or food that has been heated at temperatures below 104°F to 118°F.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts and such dominate this kind of diet while most highly processed foods are consumed in smaller amounts.
What Is A Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet?
This is another term and trend that is also becoming highly popular nowadays. This is another take on plant-based diet, only much healthier.
In this case, people consume foods that are whole, unrefined or food that has been refined on a small scale. So, not only is animal-based food avoided, so is highly processed or refined food. Refined sugar, oil or bleached flour are ruled out of these diets for health purposes. Fruits, veggies (starchy ones and tubers included), whole grains and legumes are the staples of a whole-food, plant-based diet.
Highly processed vegan foods are available in the markets which are suited for vegans. This would essentially mean that vegans can go with fewer whole plant foods. At times, the highly processed vegan foods are labeled as “plant-based” by manufacturers. This creates much confusion as to the difference between vegan and plant based foods. If a food has been labeled plant based, it is most likely vegan as well. However, in no way does that make the food wholesome.
Now that you have enough information on these diets, switching to one of them should be pretty easy. It’s a good head start to a calculated decision. Remember, a healthy lifestyle will eventually lead you to have a good life. So, make choices keeping your health (and the world’s) on your mind.
- Plant-Based Diet vs. Vegan Diet: What’s the Difference? – Forks Over Knives
- How to Follow a Raw Vegan Diet: Benefits and Risks – Healthline