Vegan vs. Plant-based: Is it the same thing?
Recently I received an email from someone who found my website. She said “You focus on a plant-based diet but I did not see you use the word Vegan anywhere but I might have missed it. When you say plant based, do you mean Vegan or is your plant-based nutrition something different?”
Vegan and plant-based seem to be used interchangeably. But do they really mean the same thing? I’d like to differ. Here’s why. And why I started using the term “plant-based” instead of “vegan.”
“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practical, in all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.” – The Vegan Society
Vegan not only refers to abstaining from eating animal products, but also wearing and using household items containing animal products (shoes, clothes, makeup, accessories, shampoo, etc.). Veganism is a philosophy that strictly prohibits the use animal products. It’s not just a diet, but a lifestyle choice.
Many people associate a vegan as someone that must eat healthy all the time. Well not all vegan foods are “healthy.” Some less nutritious vegan foods include French fries, Oreos, and vegan ice cream.
So what does plant-based mean? Eating more plants and plant proteins while limiting animal products. This does not exclude ALL animal products. This also includes limiting processed and packaged foods, so would exclude vegan treats as described above. Plant-based can refer to other diets such as pescatarian, the Mediterranean Diet, vegetarian, or veganism.
It doesn’t mean that an individual following a plant-based diet is 100% plant-based. And I want to note that someone that is plant-based does not necessarily mean they are vegan. But they could be.
To me, plant-based puts more focus on eating more plants and less processed foods for your health versus a philosophy. I consider myself to be 90% plant-based rather than vegan. Because I often enjoy vegan ice cream and French Fries or even non-vegan treats once in a while. Also, most of my household items are vegan, but certainly not everything yet.
Don’t feel guilty if you are not 100% plant-based yet or not entirely a vegan either. It’s more important that you feel good in your body and living in alignment with your values.