The terms vegan and plant-based are often used interchangeably, but they actually mean two different things.
Part of knowing which one is right for you starts with a good understanding of the two lifestyles, so let’s get started right away with a quick understanding of vegan vs. plant-based and what is the difference.
What is a vegan diet?
The term ‘vegan’ was born in 1944 when The Vegan Society founder Donald Watson coined the word to describe a person who avoids using animal products at all parts of their lifestyle because they believe it’s unethical.
Vegans have a moral stance against harming animals, whereas plant-based is more about achieving better health through diet.
A vegan diet must exclude any animal-derived foods, such as dairy, eggs meat, and fish. The main distinction to note between a plant-based or vegan diet is that while the latter can be healthy in some cases it may also include processed food which would not necessarily have been included on a purely plant-based regimen
What is a plant-based diet?
The term “plant-based” was coined in 1980 by biochemist Thomas Colin Campbell, who employed it to present his research on a non-animal product diet. He felt that using the word would not be clouded by politics and is now used as an indicator of plant-based diets for good health all around the world.
If you are plant-based, you focus more on consuming foods that come mostly from plants. You are not necessarily vegan or vegetarian or that you NEVER consume dairy, meats, and poultry, or fish.
The plant-based diet might include whole foods like fruits and vegetables while excluding processed foods such as chips or fried food products.
So, whilst there might be a consideration for the exploitation of animals, the main consideration might be primarily for the whole food diet, regardless.
Let’s Bring It Together
Regardless of your reasons for wanting to live a plant-based life vs. a vegan one, you will be helping animals and the environment.
This means also of course that you will be eating a more well-rounded diet that contains less processed and more wholesome foods.
Keep portions reasonable, and make sure you get regular exercise to the best of your ability, doing an activity you enjoy.
It also means making sure you get the right nutrients. Getting the right balance on a Vegan diet is so important, and it can sometimes lend itself to deficiencies when it comes to certain vitamins and minerals – check out this Healthline article for some more info on that.
So, what does this mean? Well, you need to make sure you are getting ALL your nutrients, and the best way to do that is by getting your hands on multivitamins and supplements designed just for vegans and those living a plant-based lifestyle
Thank you for taking the time to consider a vegan or plant-based lifestyle. The health benefits are totally worth it. It is definitely a shift in lifestyle and a big change, but your improved health and well-being will be worth it. Good luck, eat healthily, and be well!