Difference Between Vegan and Plant-Based
Vegan Vs Plant-Based: So What's The Difference?
Many people ask, what is the difference between vegan and plant-based? Isn’t a vegan diet a plant-based diet? Yes, it is but that doesn’t make them the same.
A vegan diet is different from a plant-based diet, though they are similar. They differ on the premise of the inclusion by choice of animal-based products.
A plant-based diet tends to include foods like fruits, sprouts, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Still confused about the difference between vegan and plant-based? No worries, I will explain further! 🙂
A Healthy Vegan Diet
In this section, I’m going to breakdown the basics of a healthy vegan diet. Firstly, it comprises strictly of healthy plant-based foods. All animal products (dairy, meat, poultry, fish, honey, and eggs) are excluded from the diet. That said, some vegans may still consume foods like biscuits, chips, cookies and other junk related foods. It may also consist of processed foods including tofu, burgers, and ice-cream. Though snacks can be consumed a whole based diet is recommended. This will encourage a healthy vegan diet which is high in nutrients. Foods which are often consumed include:
Legumes: beans, split peas, nuts, seeds, soy products (tempeh or tofu). Legumes are known to be packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants, b-vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
Whole grains: wheat berries, millet, oats, brown rice, and quinoa. Whole grains provide a rich source of minerals, protein, fiber, b-vitamins, and antioxidants.
Fruits: Citrus and Berries. They are rich in vitamin C and a great source of antioxidants.
What Else Should a Healthy Vegan Diet Include?
Vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and iodine. The are important nutrients.
Vitamin B12: Crucial for the formulation of red blood cells, neurological functioning, and the system of DNA. B-12 sources are best received through methyl cobalamin and supplements. B-12 in the form of cobalamin is found in fortified foods such as nutritional yeast, cereal, and non-dairy milk.
Vitamin D: natural sunlight and vitamin D supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids: (flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, hemp seed oil, tofu, canola oil and dark leafy greens). Omega 3 fatty acids create the adequate balance necessary for optimal brain and heart health. Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for infant/child development. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is omega-3 fatty acid in its original form. This is recognized within the body as DHA and EPA when converted.
Iodine: (navy beans, baked sweet potato with skin, enriched white bread, prunes, apple juice, strawberries and watercress)
Calcium: (almond milk, soy milk, almonds and soya beans)
Iron: (amaranth, navy beans and blackstrap molasses
Protein: (oats, tofu, tempeh, legumes and quinoa)
The Vegan Society - Definition of Veganism
The Vegan Society provides a great definition of veganism. They say,
"Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment."
Their definition also contains a specific clause:
“In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
As we explained previously, this means that people who follow a healthy vegan diet will not consume meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products. Additionally, strict vegans avoid all animal-based products, i.e., honey and any foods or non-food products that are derived from animals.
A Healthy Plant-Based Diet
A healthy plant-based diet is similar to a healthy vegan diet. In what way? Well, in the sense that it is about avoiding animal-based food products. That said, a person who is plant-based might avoid eating animal products. However, they might still decide to purchase a fur coat!
There are specific foods that some vegans might eat, which would not form part of a healthy plant-based diet. A perfect example is ‘vegan junk food’. This may consist of things like tofu based hot dogs and deep-fried seitan etc. These types of products are not great for your health and they obviously lack nutrition! Obviously, this does not fit in with the ethos of being plant-based.
What is Plant-Based?
Essentially, the focus is heavily placed on eating foods that are rich in plant sources. A healthy plant-based diet primarily includes whole foods. Whole foods are foods that experience little to no processing. Plant-based whole foods include vegetables fruits; whole grains (quinoa, barley, oatmeal); oils (avocado, olive, canola), and nuts and seeds. Additionally, refined foods such as white flour, white sugar, and processed oils are excluded or greatly reduced. Examples of recommended foods are listed below
Fruits: peaches, pineapple, bananas, berries, citrus fruits and pears
Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, kale, spinach, tomatoes and bell peppers
Starchy vegetables: butternut squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes
Whole grains: Brown rice, brown rice pasta, rolled oats, quinoa and barley
Unsaturated fats: Avocado oil, olive oil and coconut oil
Legumes: Lentils, peanuts, black beans, peas and chickpeas
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, homemade peanut butter and tahini
Plant-based milk (no sugar added): Coconut milk, almond milk and cashew milk
Spices & Seasonings: curry, black pepper, salt, basil, rosemary and turmeric
Condiments: soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, salsa, mustard and nutritional yeast
Plant-based protein sources: Tofu, tempeh, protein powders, no added sugar, or artificial ingredients
Beverages: herbal tea and water
Summing Up - "Healing Through Food”
To conclude, I will sum up the difference between vegan and plant-based in the following way:
- Veganism is a lifestyle which seeks to exclude all forms of cruelty, where possible.
- Plant-based is a diet which is about avoiding the consumption of animal products and anything refined, and food products which are not beneficial for health.
It's clear that people who follow a healthy vegan diet and a healthy plant-based diet have lower blood pressure and a lower body fat percentage.
So, now you are aware of the primary difference between vegan and plant-based nutrition, what is your next step?
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Whether you decide to go vegan or plant-based –you should join our community and be part of our “Healing through food” movement!