A growing number of individuals, more than ever before, are eliminating animal products from their diets for a variety of reasons. These include health, the environment, and animal welfare.
Some of these individuals choose to identify as vegans, while others choose to refer to themselves as "plant-based" in order to explain their way of life.
Furthermore, there are others who adhere to a "whole food plant-based diet," which may cause misunderstanding when the words are used interchangeably with one another.
Given the rapid evolution of these words and the fact that they frequently imply various things to different people, it is no wonder that many people are confused about the distinction between the terms ‘vegan' and ‘plant-based,' as well as when to use them.
This article will examine the distinctions between a vegan diet and a plant-based diet, particularly in terms of nutrition and lifestyle.
What is a vegan diet and how does it work?
The word "vegan" was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, the founder of The Vegan Society, to define a person who, for ethical reasons, avoids consuming animal products in all areas of their lifestyle.
Veganism is described as a way of life that aims to eliminate all kinds of animal exploitation and cruelty from goods and activities such as food, clothes, cosmetics, cleaning products, and other daily activities.
A vegan diet, on the other hand, eliminates any items produced from animals, including dairy, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and honey.
While there are some similarities between vegan and plant-based diets, the primary difference is that a vegan diet is not always a healthy diet since many processed and harmful foods may be consumed on a vegan diet.
What is a plant-based diet, and why should you follow one?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell, an American biochemist and author of The China Study, coined the phrase "plant-based diet" in the 1980s to describe a low-fat, high-fiber, vegetable-based diet. Since then, the word has been widely accepted in the nutrition research community.
Plant-based diets place a greater emphasis on the health advantages of eliminating animal products from your diet than they do on the ethical and moral considerations that motivate vegan diets.
Intriguingly, however, Campbell himself has adhered to a "99 percent vegan" diet since about 1990, while refusing to identify as a vegetarian or a vegan.
In the words of Campbell, these phrases "frequently imply something other than what I advocate." He is only concerned with the health advantages of a plant-based diet rather than bringing ethical considerations into the picture.
Although the word "plant-based" initially referred to a diet consisting mostly of natural whole foods derived from plants, it has gained widespread acceptance in recent years, with many businesses and individuals choosing to refer to themselves as "plant-based" rather than "vegan."
Today's "plant-based" diet does not always relate to a health-focused vegan diet, but rather to a diet that has been embraced by people who do not eat animal products but do not identify with the label "vegan."
Consumers perceive adopting a "plant-based" diet as a positive food choice, whereas they perceive "vegan" as a committed lifestyle centered on animal rights and extending out into other lifestyle choices such as beauty, fashion, and homewares, which is, of course, the primary distinction between these two terms. "Plant-based" diets are becoming increasingly popular among consumers, while "vegan" diets are becoming increasingly popular among vegans.
However, there is one aspect of a plant-based diet that frequently causes confusion: the term ‘plant-based is now frequently used to describe vegan products – and the vast majority of people use the term to refer to a 100 percent plant-based diet – however, some people who classify themselves as plant-based may still include small amounts of animal products in their diet, such as eggs or honey.
What is whole food plant-based diet, and why should you follow one?
It's possible that you've heard the phrase "whole foods plant-based" (WFPB) before and wondered what the difference was between it and a traditional plant-based diet.
The term "whole foods plant-based" has become increasingly popular as more and more people eliminate animal products from their diets and use the term "plant-based" to describe this way of eating. A plant-based diet that consists solely of natural, healthy foods derived from plants is described as "whole foods plant-based."
A whole food plant-based diet is described as one that excludes or minimizes all animal components, as well as highly refined foods and oils, and instead emphasizes natural, minimally processed plant foods as the primary source of nutrition.
A WFPB diet is comprised mostly of fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes, with items such as tofu, plant milk, nuts, seeds, and bread being restricted since one of the primary advantages of a WFPB diet is weight reduction and management.
Scientific evidence is growing in support of the ability of a whole foods plant-based diet to manage, decrease, and even reverse many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and premature mortality, as well as other disorders.
Refined foods such as added sugars, white flour, and processed oils are excluded from this kind of diet since they may promote inflammation in the body and have little nutritious value.
Is it possible to be both vegan and plant-based?
Yes! A healthy plant-based diet is associated with both ethical and health advantages for many individuals, and many vegans prefer to consume a diet composed mostly of whole foods to ensure that they are receiving a nutritious and well-balanced diet.
Because a plant-based diet puts much less strain on the environment, many vegans believe that eating more natural, less processed foods is another way they can both relieve animal suffering and contribute to the healing of the world at the same time.
The ethical and environmental concerns of many individuals lead them to become vegan, and they will substitute things such as dairy and meat with vegan-friendly alternatives that are highly processed and not always nutritious.
Some of these individuals may eventually lose interest in these kinds of goods and will begin to follow a plant-based diet that emphasizes the consumption of nutritious whole foods while avoiding the consumption of highly processed vegan "junk" food.
Other individuals begin eating a plant-based diet because their personal health is the main motivation, but they will make adjustments to their lifestyle beyond food in order to match their diet with their ethical values once they have begun.
Vegan versus plant-based diets: Which is better? Summarised:
Whole, veganism is an ethical stance that goes well beyond a person's food to include every element of their overall existence. Vegans will refrain from using animal products in their clothes, cosmetics, and home furnishings to the extent that it is feasible and possible. They will also refrain from supporting companies that abuse animals, such as zoos.
The fact that a vegan diet is not always a healthy diet is due to the fact that many processed and junk foods are acceptable for vegans - animal rights, not necessarily health, are at the core of veganism.
Individuals are increasingly interested in plant-based diets in recent years, with many people want to decrease or eliminate animal products from their diets completely, with health and the environment being the main motivations for doing so.
It is recognized that some people who follow a plant-based diet may not be ready to fully eliminate all elements of animal cruelty from their lives just yet and that this is a more flexible option for individuals who are not ready to commit to becoming a vegan yet.