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  • Writer's pictureBryan

The Difference between Plant-Based and Vegan

“Plant Based” and “Vegan” are two different terms you’ve most likely heard thrown out a lot in your everyday life. You hear many people saying they are “vegan” and you also hear people who say they are “plant based”. Often, these two words are mistaken for the same thing. However, this is not the case. There are key differences between the two.

A plant-based diet consists primarily of whole plant foods, focusing on fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. However, "plant-based" is an ambiguous term with varied definitions. Most people use the term to refer to a 100 percent plant diet, but some people include small amounts of animal products. This is the main key difference. So whether you're vegetarian, flexitarian, pescatarian or even vegan, you could fall under the umbrella of "plant-based." Another large difference is that “plant-based” is usually just used to describe a diet and way of eating. It typically does not relate to the rest of your lifestyle in any way.

In contrast, a vegan diet is more strict and clearly defined. A vegan diet excludes all animal-derived products and ingredients. This means no meat, dairy products, eggs, or honey. Unlike someone who follows a plant based diet, there are absolutely NO animal products included in the diet. A key favorite regarding a vegan lifestyle is that it doesn’t just include food. Vegans avoid any type of food, clothing, cosmetics or household products that contain animal derived ingredients.

However, it is very possible to be both “vegan” and “plant-based”. This is typically called a “whole food plant based diet”. Individuals who follow this diet eat natural foods that are not heavily processed that come from plants and are free of animal ingredients such as meat, milk, eggs, or honey. This is different from a vegan diet, as vegan diets can include processed imitation meats, cheeses, and desserts.

So, by keeping this article in mind, next time you hear these words, you will hopefully have a better understanding of what each one means and be able to know the key differences!


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