Is there a difference between plant based and vegan? We discuss the overlap and why they are two completely different things.
Every year, more and more people begin to question the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) and whether on not consuming a large amount of animal products are even needed.
Often times when one looks into reducing their animal consumption, there’s a lot of confusion about the difference in plant based diets and veganism.
Are they the same thing?
Is there any overlap?
How do they differ?
Can you be both at the same time?
These are just some of the questions that we are going to answer below and work towards coming to an understanding that there is in fact differences between the two terms.
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The difference between plant based diets and veganism:
Long story short. They are not the same thing.
Veganism eliminates any and all animal products, not only from ones’ diet, but also from their personal care products, clothing, and more as much as possible.
Plant based diets, on the other hand, focus on eating plants, but it does not necessarily mean that they no longer consuming animal products. And it only focuses on food consumption.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
What is veganism?
Some people decide to go vegan for a variety of reasons, but the main ones are ethical (treatment of animals), health, and/or environmental reasons.
Some people go vegan for a combination of reasons.
When one goes vegan, you eliminate all animal products, not only from your diet, but you also work to eliminate it from all personal care and home goods.
Meaning that veganism is not a diet, but a lifestyle change.
This includes all meat (beef, chicken, pork, fish etc.), eggs, dairy, and honey.
When it comes to a vegan lifestyle, diet is often the first thing that is changed.
However, becoming vegan also means that you do not purchase beauty and personal care products (like shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant) that have been tested on animals or contains animal products.
It also means that you work to eliminate animal products in your household goods when the time comes to replace them.
It does not mean that the day you go vegan you get rid of everything, because environmentally that wouldn’t be beneficial.
But when the time comes that you need new pillows, for example, a vegan would then work to ensure that there are no animal products (ex, down feathers) in their new purchase of pillows. Another example would be to make sure there is no suede or leather in their shoes or bags.
What does plant based mean?
There are a variety of different plant based diets, some more restrictive than others; however, the basis is that you consume as many whole foods, as possible.
Whole foods means that the food has undergone very little processing.
This does mean though that someone on a plant based diet can still consume animal products if they choose.
The focus is on as many vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts/seeds as possible, but some people still include meat and honey.
It does not have anything to do with also changing household and personal goods.
Alternatively, there is also a whole foods plant based diet that also eliminates that use of oils, refined sugars, white flours and rice.
Can you be a plant based vegan?
Some people combine the two. When one does this is means that all animals products are eliminated but also unhealthy foods that are considered vegan (like fried foods and refined sugars and flours) are also eliminated.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t still have desserts or cooked food. Both of those things can be consumed on a whole foods plant based vegan diet.
Is a plant based vegan diet healthy?
A 2017 CDC study said that up to 90% of Americans don’t get enough vegetables are fruits.
Because of this, a plant based vegan diet can be one of the healthiest diets that you consume. The focus is on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats (like nuts and avocados).
If you switch up and get a variety of these foods, then you will be getting most of the vitamins and nutrients that you need.
It is easy with some planning to get get enough protein, calcium, and other main nutrients that people assume can only come from eating meat and dairy.
Many vegan will choose to take a vegan multi-vitamin or certain supplements like B12 to ensure they are making up for things that may be lacking. Others include seamoss into their diets because of the high amount of minerals and nutrients.
It’s always based to meet with a doctor who is also plant based or vegan or specialize in these dietary changes.
When should I meet with a doctor about your diet?
If you are making a huge lifestyle change, it’s always best to talk to your doctor sooner than later.
If you have any underlying health conditions, it’s important to include them in your plans so you make sure it isn’t interfering with any medical needs.
Try to find a doctor that is vegan themselves or studies plant based diets as they will be more knowledgable about the needs.
We’d also recommend speaking to a nutritionist who focuses of this type of eating as they have more training in how to get nutrients properly.
We understand why plant based vs vegan can be confusing and we hope that this article summarized the differences and how they are not the same, but can have some overlap.