Since the popular Netflix documentary What the Health debuted, there’s been a new buzzword flying around: plant-based. For many, this term sounds like another form of veganism – it’s not. Up until a couple weeks ago, I wasn’t aware that they weren’t the same thing! The two diets have completely different goals when it comes to avoiding animal consumption.
If you were thinking that plant-based and vegan diets were the same as well, here’s the actual truth:
The plant-based diet (more accurately coined as the whole-foods, plant-based diet) is geared toward overall health. The main goal is to abstain from animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) due to the variety of chronic diseases linked to them: diabetes, cancer, and hypertension, just to name a few (more info on dietary studies here).
The diet also advises against anything overly processed like refined sugars or flour, however, some might still consume animal products such as honey or dairy, but it’s not suggested.
This lifestyle doesn’t typically focus itself much in the political affairs of animal products, like veganism does, but rather on the health advantages of a diet built upon fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The concern here is not so much about animal rights as it is the human’s rights to eat and live better.
Summary: Plant-based diets avoid animal products and processed foods for health, but it typically ends there.
Vegan diets differ in that the focus of this lifestyle has always been about the ethics: the abuse and exploitation of animals for human gain. Vegans don’t eat or use animal-made products because the health, life, and rights of the animals are not considered in the process.
The vegan diet is not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle. Those who follow this way of living also choose to avoid using animal products in their everyday routines: clothing, shoes, sweeteners, shampoos, etc. However, health is not so much the focus of eating vegan – many find that eating any product is fine so long as it wasn’t made from an animal (Oreos and chips, for instance). Saving the world and all of its creatures is the bottom-line with this lifestyle.
Summary: Vegans avoid any and all animal products because of conscious ethical and political reasons, however, processed foods can and may still be consumed.
Which one are you?
A plant-based diet can easily lead into a vegan lifestyle and a vegan can most definitely eat plant-based, however, the psychology behind the two is very different. In my opinion, both can make the world a better place especially if combined. There are so many great reasons to try either one of these lifestyles whether your goal is to live longer or save the world or both.
Which lifestyle do you prefer? Share it with me below!