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Last updated March 25, 2023

Plant-Based vs Vegan Diet: What’s the Difference?

Back in my meat-eating days, I didn’t know the difference between a Plant-Based Diet vs. Vegan Diet and I had assumed it all meant the same thing.

I remember strolling my cart by the “vegan” section of the store and seeing vegan cheese and vegan ground meat replacement.

How was that supposed to be healthy?

I was surprised to find out that a plant-based diet differs a lot from the typical vegan meals.

Let’s take a look at the main differences between a plant-based diet vs. vegan diet and what they actually mean.

Vegan vs Plant-Based Diet: What’s the Difference?

What Does Vegan Mean?

Vegan by definition means “abstaining from all animal products”.

So it’s not necessarily about health at all, it’s about not using animal products in any form including leather.

There are many unhealthy things that are vegan including the candy bar Snickers, tons of other candies, processed bread, and tofu.

I even know several vegan families that flat out told me they were eating vegan for animal rights reasons and not health reasons.

Honestly, I don’t care, and to each his own, but I was on a mission to get healthy.

It’s so very easy to eat unhealthy on a vegan diet. You can have all the processed foods you want.

I’m sure there are vegans who eat cleaner and are doing it for health reasons but this definition just didn’t fit what my family was trying to accomplish.

What Does Plant-Based Mean?

A plant-Based Diet consists mostly of foods derived from plants.

This definition seemed to fit closer to what we were eating but still included things like corn syrup and other heavily processed foods because they came from plants.

The fact that it came from plants is awesome, but not when it’s been so overly processed and doesn’t look anything like the original food.

Just having food come from plants left the window open for so many junk food items and processed items, it still wasn’t a good fit for us.

What Does Whole Food Plant-Based Mean?

Whole Food means the plant is in its most natural form. That means whole, unrefined, or minimally refined ingredients.

It’s eating a plant-based diet that is unprocessed.

This Whole Food Plant-Based fit exactly what we were doing and how we were eating.

An emphasis on raw fruits and vegetables, no oil added, healthy beans and legumes.

So you can see a whole food plant-based diet vs. vegan diet are very different.

One includes processed foods, sugars, chemicals, and additives as long as they don’t contain animal products and the other focuses on whole food in its natural form.

What Do We Eat on a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?

If you are new to plant-based eating, the 28 Days Plant Based Made Easy Course is excellent.

It’s full of video recipe demonstrations, kitchen prep, meal planning, and lectures from some of the best plant-based doctors.

I knew I wanted to eliminate animal products due to the inflammation I was experiencing and it made a huge difference in how I felt.

You can read about my first few days on a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet for Lupus.

Our whole family began eating large salads, guacamole, hummus, bean dips, warm soups with legumes, and sweet potatoes.

It’s actually been an easier journey than I thought it would transitioning to Whole Food Plant-Based.

I have purchased a few already made items such as guacamole and hummus until we get a handle on making our own but I always make sure it has minimal ingredients and no oil.

It’s been a wonderful experience for our family and if you are diving into plant-based eating I recommend How Not to Die Cookbook.

Plant-Based diet vs. vegan diet are very different and shouldn’t be treated the same.

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