Granted both diets have gained recent news for their optimal health benefits, quite often confused with one another, however there are differences, a vegan diet eliminates all animal products, any food or product that contains animals in it will be scratched off the list of consumption, that could be milk, cheese, eggs, meat - even feather pillows, leather belts, certain cosmetics, etc. while a plant-based diet does not necessarily eliminate all animal products from their lifestyle - the primary focus of a plant-based diet is to consume most if not all nutrition from a plant-base source, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains!
So whats the difference then?
"A Vegan Diet"
Some decide to follow a vegan lifestyle for many reasons such as ethics, morals and personal values directed towards wildlife, the environment and ones personal health-state. Indeed going vegan is an "all-in" move with the way you choose to live your life.
Nonetheless, becoming a vegan and choosing to not consume any animal-based products does not mean that you automatically become healthy, yes, there are downfalls to a vegan-diet, reason be there are countless vegan products in the market that are extremely processed that could become unfavorable for your health.
Thus, junk food such as cookies, chips, candies, fried foods, etc. can have ultra-processed chemicals in them and still be labeled vegan, so, there we understand how a product being labeled for marketing purposes can become harmful to ones health-state.
"A Plant-Based Diet"
Very similar to a vegan's viewing point lies a plant-based individual, someone may opt to discard or limit their animal-based consumption for the same reasonings, taking care of wildlife, the environment and focusing on optimizing ones personal health-state.
So, whats the difference?
The focus of a plant-based individual is to consume a majority if not all nutrition from a "whole-foods" perspective - meaning that the food is still in its natural form - nothing has been added or subtracted from its natural state, hence a plant which is whole.
Usually, the target is to consume real nutrition while limiting or excluding everything processed, or the least processed possible. A key point to address here is that a plant-based diet is not always 100% made up from plants, the majority is and some may consume anywhere from 70-80-90% from a plant-based source and decide to supplement whole-food-proteins, like adding meats and eggs to their diet to find an ultimate balance that works for them.
"What diet is the right diet to follow then?"
Currently in todays world there are many theories and fashionable diets out there, some new, some old and some with new names, however finding a balance that works for you is always the way forward. Now, if we look at modern-day medical literature and look at the longest living populations known to mankind we could argue that a plant-based focus is the most logical diet to follow.
Now, regardless of what that means for you, everyone should have a diet that is balanced between their macro & micro nutrients ideally consisting of:
- 25/30% proteins
- 25/30% fats
- 40/50% carbs
The sources of these nutrients will fundamentally dictate the outcome of how you live your life - the truth of the matter is that "you are what you eat" and it's not what you do some of the time but most of the time.
If you are finding it troublesome to find the right diet or the right balance for yourself and your lifestyle then I'd recommend reaching out to a qualified health professional to get the best of advice, so that you can get the best quality of life in return, you can also get your copy of my latest plant-based cookbook that contains balanced meals structured for you to focus on optimizing your everyday life one meal at a time!