Vegan Diet vs Plant-Based Diet: The Key Differences Between Both

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If you regularly check social media, you may have seen that there are currently so many new diets (Reducetarian, flexitarian and paleo just to name a few) that picking the right one for you could be very frustrating! They all work in different ways and every week a different one comes out.

However if you (like many celebrities and internet personalities) are jumping on the vegan train, you have to keep in mind that a vegan diet is completely different from a plant-based diet, the two are not interchangeable in any way and you have to learn the key differences between both diets before picking the one that suits you the most.

The Vegan Diet vs the Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet

If you’ve read about the whole foods plant-based diet, chances are you may have thought that was basically just another kind of veganism using a different name, but then you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. And now we’re going to explain why.

Vegans completely abstain from eating any animal products or products that contain animal protein. A definition from The Vegan Society says that “Veganism is a 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.” vegan diet

This also mean that lots of vegans don’t purchase leather goods or clothes and a lot of them don’t use makeup is it doesn’t have a label saying is cruelty-free. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that a vegan diet consist of eating lots of plant-based meals only. Vegans could get through life eating processed foods, canned foods and seasoning their veggies just like any other mortal. Think gluten-free potato chips, (vegan-friendly) candy, and even Oreos.

Unlike the vegan diet, a plant-based diet, on the other hand, emphasizes eating whole fruits, vegetables, lots of whole grains, and staying away from the intake of animal products and processed foods for health or nutritional reasons. This way of eating is based around raw or minimally processed veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

How To Differentiate One from Another

There are easy ways to remember the distinction between the vegan diet and the whole food plant-based diet, some of them can be checked below:

  • People who follow a vegan diet can eat Oreo cookies (because by some miracle Oreos aren’t made with animal ingredients) while practitioners of the whole food plant-based diet cannot eat Oreos (ok, they can actually eat them, but they just choose not to).
  • While people’s motivation for adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle is prompted by animal rights issues and the ethical treatment of animal, people who follow a whole food plant-based diet generally do it for their health or nutrition —mostly to prevent chronic illness; this is why processed food isn’t included in this way of eating.

With this we’re not trying to say that a vegan can’t be on a plant-based diet or vice versa, but is important to know that the two are not interchangeable (mostly because they have different restrictions) and we want to make sure you know it so you can pick and embrace the one that fits best on your everyday life.