Vegan Vs Plant-Based Diet: Differences, Similarities, and Facts

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the differences between a vegan and a plant-based diet. As a result, this can be extremely off-putting to those interested in changing their dietary habits to conform to these diets. 

Vegan and plant-based diets are on the rise and steadily gaining popularity. Therefore, it is essential that people understand the differences between the two diets. 

To help clear up fact from fiction, we have created this clear guide to inform you of the main attributes associated with each diet, including where they are similar or different, as well as the main motivations behind joining each diet.

What is a Vegan Diet? 

Vegan and vegetarian diets actually have a rich history, which may be surprising! Whilst vegetarianism has been practiced since ancient civilization times, veganism was first coined in the 1940s as a form of strict vegetarianism

These original vegans upheld a vegetarian diet but omitted from eating dairy products. Modern-day veganism follows this plan, but with a bigger emphasis on living a vegan lifestyle.

Nowadays, the vegan diet promotes ethical lifestyle choices, avoiding animal products in food, clothing materials, medicines, and general product ingredients. Generally, the vegan diet excludes dairy, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and honey.

Vegan diets tend to be followed due to growing concerns over animal welfare, rather than its health benefits. Whilst veganism has been promoted as a healthy diet, processed foods may still be consumed.

Additionally, veganism is a movement based on increasing sustainability and drawing awareness to animal rights, cementing ethical reasons as the main motivation behind following the diet.

 

Things You Can Eat in a Vegan Diet:

  • Vegetables 
  • Fruits 
  • Grains 
  • Legumes 
  • Nuts and Seeds 
  • Tofu and Tempeh 
  • Plant-Based Oils 
  • Natural Sweeteners 
  • Plant-based Meat Alternatives

 

Food to Avoid in a Vegan Diet:

  • Meat 
  • Poultry 
  • Fish and Shellfish 
  • Eggs 
  • Cheese, Butter, Milk, Cream (All Dairy Products)
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Honey 

 

What is a Plant-Based Diet? 

Invented by T. Colin Campbell, the plant-based diet was developed to optimize the overall health of its followers. Encouraging the consumption of plant foods and whole foods, Campbell defined a plant-based diet as a high fiber, low-fat regime. 

The diet itself consists of eating food developed from mostly plant-based sources, though certain animal-derived products can be consumed too. Animal foods are usually eaten in limited amounts or not at all, due to the emphasis on plant-based meals.

Plant-based diets may be followed for ethical reasons, environmental reasons, or health factors. Depending on the dieter’s reason for following the diet, they may transition into veganism (and vice versa) if the motivation develops! 

For example, many plant-based dieters often learn more about animal welfare as they settle into this vegetable-based diet. Consequently, many plant-based individuals slowly transition to a vegan diet.

 

Things You Can Eat in a Plant-Based Diet:

  • Vegetables 
  • Fruits 
  • Whole Grains 
  • Plant-Based Oils 
  • Nuts and Seeds   

 

Things to Avoid in a Plant-Based Diet: 

  • Fast Food 
  • Added Sugar and Sweets, and Artificial Sweeteners 
  • Refined Grains 
  • Packaged and Convenience Food
  • Processed Food (Even if it's Vegan)

 

Differences and Similarities Between Vegan and Plant-Based Diet 

This table highlights the main similarities and differences between plant-based and vegan diets! Easily compare how the two diets fare against these frequently asked questions.

 

 

Vegan Diet

 

Plant-Based Diet

Does it allow the consumption of animal-derived products?

 

Not consumed.

Limited or not consumed.

Does it allow the consumption of processed food?

 

Yes, though it must be vegan.

Limited or not consumed.

Does it allow the consumption of oil?

 

 

Yes.

 

Yes.

Does it allow the consumption of dairy?

 

 

No.

 

Limited or not consumed.

Does it allow the consumption of plant-based meat substitutes?

 

Yes.

Yes.

Is it mainly plant-based?

 

 

Yes.

Yes.

Is it a lifestyle change or diet?

 

 

In most cases, a lifestyle change.

In most cases, a diet.

What are the main food groups consumed?

 

  • Legumes
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Whole foods

Does it promote the development of animal-free alternatives?

 

Yes.

Yes, but to a lesser extent than the vegan diet.

Is it motivated by health reasons?

The vegan diet can be motivated by health reasons, though this is usually not the main reason.

Starting a plant-based diet is highly likely to be related to health reasons, though other motivations for following the diet may occur.

 

What are the main benefits of the diet?

  • Eco-friendly and sustainable.

 

  • Promotes animal welfare.

 

  • Generally healthy.

 

  • Promotes the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

 

  • Can aid weight loss.
  • More emphasis on being eco-friendly than regular diets.

 

  • More emphasis on consuming sustainable ingredients than regular diets.

 

  • Discourages the consumption of processed foods.

 

  • Can aid weight loss.

 

 

Is a Vegan or Plant-Based Diet Healthy? 

When a vegan diet is followed thoughtfully with clear goals and set intentions, it can be healthy. Veganism encourages the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables as one of your main food groups alongside whole grains and legumes. 

These foods are rich in fiber and are great sources of potassium, magnesium, and iron for a steady supply of energy throughout the day. 

However, many people following a vegan diet still eat processed vegan food, which is generally unhealthy. 

To ensure you are following a nutritious vegan diet, try seeking healthier options and avoid highly refined foods. In doing this, you can help save the planet, and give your body the proper nutrition and nourishment it needs.

Plant-based diets tend to be easier to follow than a vegan diet as you are not necessarily cutting out meat and animal products completely. As a result, many people find it easier to swap their regular diets to include more plant-based foods, rather than go vegan.

Whilst people do consume animal products and eat meat on a plant-based diet, these are in reduced quantities. Eating meat provides plant-based eaters with iron and protein, making it easier to consume nutrients.

 

Conclusion

In summary, despite their similarities, there are key differences that separate vegan and plant-based diets from one another. 

These typically include whether animal products can be consumed or used, the reason people follow the diet, as well as whether the diet constitutes a lifestyle change. 

Both can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle, though a plant-based diet discourages the consumption of highly processed or refined foods. 

As followers of a vegan diet can still consume processed dairy and meat-free products, the health benefits of this diet highly depend on what each individual chooses to eat. 

Whether you are interested in veganism or a plant-based diet, Proper Good can help to ease your transition

Proper Good provides nutritious ready-to-eat meals that are gluten-free, dairy-free, plant-based, and made from clean ingredients. They require no preparation and are ready to serve in just 90 seconds with no added sugar. 

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