Vegan vs Plant-Based Diets: What are the Differences Between a Vegan Diet and a Plant-Based Diet?
by Sej Lee
The current times are a great time to stay inside and trick ourselves into eating every snack we think we crave. We’ve all had that point in our lives where we’ve thought, “I should really eat healthier.” Of course, that thought usually hits us while the eighth episode of Suits is loading… on a Tuesday night… and you just finished Taco Bell. Did that Party Pack really have that many tacos?
But for those of us who already rep Team #plegan, how do we go about making healthier, more sustainable diet decisions? And for those who aren’t yet fully immersed in chickpeas, lentils, and quinoa- what does it mean to go on a “plant-based diet” really?
I don’t intend for this post to be your one-stop scientific benchmark (if you’d like to shout out Real Food Bar in your submission to The American Journal of Medicine, please do let us know). But I do think more education is better than less – trust me, there are plenty of ways to keep mealtime interesting.
Vegan vs Plant-Based – Actually, It Comes Down to Animals
A vegan diet does not intake any animal products (no meat, no dairy, eggs, or honey). This can – and often does – stretch beyond consumption into lifestyle, as vegans may choose to remove themselves from any form of exploitation of animal cruelty (meaning clothes and other animal-derived products).
A plant-based diet is one that is conscious of and encourages greater plant consumption. Colloquially, it often points to 100% plant-based diets, but it does not exclude folks who choose to incorporate some meat or animal products in their diets, still. So if you’re not ready to give up cheese just quite yet, you’re in luck!
Both Plant-Based and Vegan Diets = Nutrition from Real Food and Health Benefits
Vegan and plant-based diets have the advantage of serving your body with the daily recommended vitamin and mineral intake. That means delivering all sorts of things great for your immune system, a ton of fiber, and the reduced likelihood for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
What is often associated with vegan and plant-based diets is the idea of minimal processing – cooking them less, not throwing in so much sugar, and avoiding the crackers that are marketed as “plant-based.” That extra bowl of white rice may not be necessary – maybe a snack will hold you over instead?
Many professional athletes have shared about their plant-based diets translating to greater performances – the energy and daily nutrition benefits are hard to say no to!
Whether Vegan or a Plant-Based Diet, Take What Works for You
Yes, plant-based diets are trending right now – and I don’t deny that it is an incredible choice!
Having said that, please take stock of how and why you’re doing so. Making a radical, sudden jump into a vegan or plant-based lifestyle may be difficult to sustain. And a diet that already balances a healthy ratio of all the food groups may not require much to truly become plant-based!
There’s no rule that says being vegan doesn’t mean you can’t have a plant-based diet. Use some of this extra time indoors to learn about what combination of foods makes the most sense for you – and be on the lookout for additional inspiration from us @realfoodbar!