What is the difference between vegan and plant based diet? Is there any difference at all?
While those two things might seem familiar (both have something to do with plant-based food, am I right?), they are actually not the same. Let’s take a look at both options to find out how following a plant-based diet is different from being vegan, so you can choose what appeals to you more (if at all, for that matter).
While many people think that veganism equals a specific form of diet, this is actually a common misconception. Veganism does imply abstaining from use of all animal-based products, but doesn’t end there. The ethics and philosophy of vegan lifestyle are based on belief that other living creatures are not a commodity, but individual forms of life, and humans cannot treat them as mere material for various goods and food.
Vegans do not use fur, leather clothes, cosmetics tested on animals or made with ingredients of animal origin (e.g. honey, gelatin, dairy, etc.). Simply said, this lifestyle is about choosing cruelty-free options in all aspects of your life (which is not limited to food matters only), where no animal suffered for the purpose of creating a product.
If a person only eats plant-based food (no meat, dairy or eggs included), it means they are a strict vegetarian, which only implies cruelty-free diet, but doesn’t necessarily affect other areas of life. For example, a strict vegetarian can buy an eyeshadow from a firm that tests their products on animals, while a vegan wouldn’t.
At first glance, the difference between vegan and plant-based diet isn’t that obvious. People who choose plant-based diet also avoid animal-derived ingredients and products like meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs. They also base their meals on plant-originated foods.
However, whereas vegans can treat themselves with plant-originated, but not-so-healthy products such as chips, french-fries, or other processed foods (yes, vegans eat fast food, too), the followers of plant-based diet focus on eating unprocessed or minimally processed whole foods. White flour, too much oil, refined sugar are a no-go for this type of diet, where main concern lies in the area of personal health. This option centers on whole, healthy, clear products as a main source of food.
So, comparing plant-based diet vs. vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, we can see they’re different. A small tip to remember:
- Veganism is more about keeping it ethical;
- A plant-based diet is more about keeping it healthy.
Of course, those two ‘opposite poles’ only represent a basic trend. Some vegans care about their health and abstain from processed foods, too, and some of the folks who choose a plant-based diet also care about their ethical choices.
Choosing what is right for you may take a while. Think about your motivation: is it ethical concerns or a wish to be healthier? If you care about both, that’s great! Start with small steps, experiment, and don’t be afraid of slip-ups. You will definitely gain new experience and try lots of delicious food on the way!