What is Plant-Based?
Plant-based is a term that refers to a diet that is primarily based on plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and nuts. This diet is often motivated by health and wellness and is characterized by eliminating or reducing animal products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs.
People who follow a plant-based diet typically aim to eat a variety of whole, nutrient-dense foods and may or may not include small amounts of animal products. People who live in the Blue Zones, areas of the world identified as having the most people living to record-setting ages, eat plant-based diets with minimal or no animal products or processed foods.
What is Vegan?
Veganism is a lifestyle that involves abstaining from all animal products, not just in the diet but in all aspects of life. This includes avoiding clothing made from animal fibers, products tested on animals, and entertainment that involves animals. The primary motivation behind veganism is often ethical, as vegans aim to reduce the suffering of animals and promote a more sustainable world. A vegan diet is 100% plant-based and does not include animal products.
Key Differences between Plant-Based and Vegan
There are several critical differences between plant-based and vegan, including:
- Motivation: The primary reasons behind plant-based are typically health or environmental, while ethical concerns drive veganism.
- Food choices: Plant-based diets may include small amounts of animal products, while vegan diets are 100% plant-based.
- Lifestyle choices: Veganism is a complete lifestyle choice, including avoidance of all animal products, while plant-based may only apply to the diet.
Is Plant-Based the Same as Vegan?
No, plant-based and vegan are not the same. While the words are often used interchangeably, and both diets are based on plant-based foods, veganism goes beyond just the diet and involves a complete lifestyle change that avoids all animal products. People who follow a plant-based diet may still use animal products in other areas (e.g., leather). At the same time, vegans commit to avoiding all animal exploitation (e.g., leather, not using animal-tested products, honey, etc.)
Health Benefits of Plant-Based and Vegan Diets
Both plant-based and vegan diets have been linked to several health benefits, including:
- Weight loss
- Improved heart health
- Lower risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease
- Better gut health
If you want to learn more about good nutritional science studies, health-related issues, and their links to diet, visit Dr. Michael Greger's website NutrtionFacts.org. They have videos on over 2000 health and nutrition topics, with the latest research being updated daily on many topics. They have a Plant-Based Living Series that will benefit anyone looking to go plant-based and is looking for science-based evidence information. I highly recommend looking through this website.
Environmental Impact of Plant-Based and Vegan Diets
No, you cannot be vegan and still eat animal products. Veganism is a lifestyle that involves abstaining from all forms of animal exploitation, including diet.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the health benefits of a plant-based or vegan diet will vary depending on the individual and the quality of the foods consumed. However, both diets have been linked to several health benefits, including weight loss, improved heart health, and lower risk of chronic diseases.
A healthy plant-based or vegan diet can provide all the protein the body needs. All plants have protein, so getting enough on a plant-based or vegan diet is possible, assuming you consume enough calories daily.