Plant-Based Vs. Vegan: What’s The Difference? (And How To Choose The One That’s Right For You)

Caroline Alcantar By Caroline Alcantar | 23 January 2020 324 views
what is a plant based diet

Here’s The Difference Between A Plant-Based Diet & A Vegan Diet…

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The vegan diet has been around for quite a while now… and although vegans occasionally find themselves as the butt of the joke… the diet is well respected.

Most restaurants offer vegan meal options, and there are even vegan restaurants that specialize solely in vegan fare.

Plus, if you have a friend who is a vegan… you probably are aware of a few vegan dish options you can serve them at parties, dinners, and other gatherings.

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Recently, however, there has been a newcomer to the plant-heavy diet scene: the plant-based diet.

At first glance, a plant-based diet seems to be the same thing as a vegan diet, right?

Both are focused on eating plants… so what’s the difference?

As it turns out, there actually IS a difference between the plant-based and vegan diets. That’s what we’re going to dive into today… and how you can choose the right diet for you.

What Is A Plant-Based Diet?

A plant-based diet is one that’s comprised largely of plants. Eating a plant-based diet can mean eating a 100% plant diet… but it doesn’t have to.

If you follow a plant-based diet, you don’t have to completely cut out meat or other animal products. While the vast majority of your food might be from plants… you can still eat animal products on occasion if you want to.

The plant-based diet is a term that evolved in the health world to distinguish it from “vegan” or “vegetarian” when necessary. A plant-based diet isn’t necessarily as strict as vegan or vegetarian in restricting meats and animal products.

If you occasionally consume animal products on a plant-based diet, you may also hear it referred to as a “plant-forward” diet.

In addition, a plant-based diet does not (in general) contain the same ethical connotations that a vegan or vegetarian diet does.

Another term you might see often when learning about plant-based diets is a “whole-food, plant-based” diet.

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This variation of the plant-based diet focuses on eating whole foods. That means eating foods in their natural, whole state as much as possible. You should also avoid eating processed or refined foods.

With a plant-based diet, the general idea is that the infrequent consumption of meat or animal products won’t disrupt or “cancel out” the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

What Is A Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet is similar to the plant-based diet in that your food is comprised of plant foods. However, a vegan diet cuts out all animal products.

Donald Watson first coined the term “vegan” in 1944. At the time, he intended to describe a person who abstained 100% from animal products for ethical reasons.

Over time, people have chosen to adopt a vegan diet for a variety of reasons. This often includes a desire for animal welfare or to benefit the environment.

Because all animal products are excluded from the vegan diet, you should not eat the following foods if you decide to “go vegan”:

  • All meat and poultry
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products

What Is The Difference Between A Plant-Based & A Vegan Diet?

As you’ve probably noticed, the main difference between a plant-based diet and a vegan diet… is that you should NOT eat any animal products on a vegan diet. On a plant-based diet, by contrast, animal products may be consumed on occasion… depending on your personal preferences.

Another difference is that the vegan diet tends to carry connotations of ethical reasons. This may be animal rights and welfare… or an interest in protecting the environment.

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Either a vegan or plant-based diet may be chosen for health reasons. Research has shown that a plant-based diet (vegan or not) can help to lower your risk for a variety of serious health conditions. These health problems may include:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity 
  • Stroke
  • Many types of cancer

Many people also experience weight loss when they switch to a plant-based or vegan diet. The benefits of either diet are likely to be greatest if you strive to avoid processed, refined foods.

Which Diet Is Right For You & How Can You Get Started?

If you are interested in trying a plant-based or vegan diet… you may want to ask yourself the following 2 questions to determine which one is right for you:

1) Do you prefer to completely eliminate animal products, or only eat them occasionally?

If you would like to abstain totally from animal products, a vegan diet might be right for you. If you want to eat them on occasion, a plant-based diet might be a better fit.

2) Why are you interested in switching your diet to plant-based or vegan?

If you are interested in the health benefits, you are likely to see similar results on both diets… especially if you focus on eating healthy, nutritious plant-based foods and avoiding processed foods.

However, if you are more passionate about animal welfare… or the environment… a vegan diet might be more aligned to your interests.

No matter which one you choose, a plant-based or vegan diet can be a great way to focus on a healthy diet… lose weight… and improve your health.

To get started, you can either go cold turkey (pun intended) or start more slowly.

If you want to dive in all at once, try a kitchen purge. Completely remove all foods that do not fit your new diet from your pantry and refrigerator.

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To help you get started on eating plant-based or vegan meals, you can find lots of recipes online! For example, try our cream vegan risotto (which is absolutely delicious!).

If you want to start more slowly, try adding one more meal each week that is free of meat or animal products. Over time, you will become more accustomed to a plant-based diet.

Whichever diet you decide is right for you, good luck & happy eating!

Why Protein Is So Important For Weight Loss (Especially If You’re On A Plant-Based Or Vegan Diet)

Now, if you decide to try a vegan or plant-based diet… get ready for everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) to start telling you, “Make sure you eat enough protein!

Fortunately, there are lots of plant-based proteins available to you that are delicious and will help you maintain a healthy protein intake.

So don’t let your uncle (who eats steak just about every night in the name of “getting enough protein”) tell you that you won’t be able to stay healthy on a plant-based diet.

However, these protein-obsessed people do have a good point. Protein is essential for many bodily functions, including repairing & building muscle and tissue.

Plus, did you know that eating more protein has been proven to help your body burn more fat?!

One scientific study found that when people increased their protein intake by only 15-30% per day, they burned an average of 441 MORE calories every day!

Of course, the key is making sure you’re getting the right amount of protein to achieve this extra fat burn.

So to find out exactly how much protein you should be eating to reach MAX fat burn… plus 2 more really easy ways to boost your body’s fat-burning mechanism… click here:

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