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The Difference between Vegan, Vegetarianism, and Plant-based Diet

By: Luisa MamaradloThe Difference between Vegan, Vegetarianism, and Plant-based Diet

Watch your diet – this is perhaps one of the most basic and common pieces of advice any health professional would give you whenever you try to take on the high road of keeping a healthy lifestyle. Being conscious with your health means you are also being mindful of what you take in your body.

Therefore, after having a conscious effort of being active through exercise, we move on and discuss three types of diets you may have encountered and may interest you in your fitness journey.

The most basic diet that exists today is the whole foods or plant-based also known as WFPB diet. Studies reveal that populations with mostly plant-based diet have longer lifespans.

According to the T. Colin Campbell Center of Nutritional Studies, this type of diet allows you to enjoy a wide range of whole, unrefined plants including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits. More importantly, you can eat when you're hungry and eat until you're full.

The plant-based diet is easy to understand and incorporate in your lifestyle since there is no portioning, tracking or counting. In this type of diet, you minimize products of animal origin such as meat and fish, processed and artificial foods, as well as those with added fats and sugars.

Another type of plant-based diet is vegetarianism. In this type of diet, you incorporate four main food groups such as fruit, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains but exclude meat or poultry.

“A vegetarian does not eat foods that consist of or have been produced with the aid of products consisting of or created from any part of the body of a living or dead animal. This includes meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, insects, by-products of slaughter or any food made with processing aids created from these,” Vegetarian Society notes.

However, not all vegetarians exclude animal products in their diet. Some vegetarians consume eggs and dairy products as sources of their proteins, seafood for their source of iron, and honey is used as a healthier form of sweetener. 

One of the more popular diets is vegan. This type of diet requires you to not consume any product of animal origin such as meat, eggs, milk or honey among others; therefore, is a plant-based diet.

Many local and international celebrities have sworn by this type of diet and a growing number of its practitioners have even subscribed to this kind of lifestyle.

According to The Vegan Society, a registered charity organization founded on the philosophy of veganism, the term ‘vegan’ was developed in 1944 and is stemmed on the principle suggested by Leslie J. Cross which is “to seek an end to the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection, and by all other uses involving exploitation of animal life by man.”

In terms of diet, vegans avoid consumption of animal produce such as meat, dairy, poultry, seafood, eggs, and even honey. For their source of protein, which is usually found in meat products, they resort to plant-based alternatives such as green leafy vegetables, chickpeas or soy-based products such as tempeh or tofu.

Over the years, vegan has evolved from being a type of diet to a comprehensive kind of lifestyle. Highly ethical vegans, who strongly believe every animal’s right to life and freedom, also abstain from the use of products from animals such as leather derived from their skin.

The whole foods or plant-based diet, vegetarianism, and veganism may be similar in some ways but these diets are not the same.

A plant-based diet is more flexible in terms of food consumption because although you eat plants mostly, consumption of animal produce is minimized but allowed. Vegetarians exclude meat and poultry in their diets, but some consume eggs, dairy, and seafood. On the other hand, veganism is also plant-based but does not allow consumption of animal products in either food or material form.

Keeping a healthy lifestyle is not easy. Stay on track through healthy eating because it is one of the best things you can do to lose weight, prevent diseases, and live longer.

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