Plant Diet Vs Vegan Diet: What's The Difference
The plant diet and the vegan diet have become popular diet trends in the world. From top notch celebrities to the common man, everyone is eager to follow these diets and it is obvious since both the diets have endless health benefits to provide. Oftentimes people end up confusing themselves thinking that the plant diet and the vegan diet are the same.
In simpler terms, it is quite understood that a plant diet is basically eating food products derived from plants and a vegan diet is eating food products which are not primarily not derived from animals or are not non-vegetarian. It is possible that a vegan is not necessarily eating a lot of plant based food and is eating other processed foods and artificial foods except the plant based veggies which is quite common for everyone. In this blog, we will talk about the difference between the plant diet and the vegan diet and try to burst the myths and confusions dieters across the globe have regarding them.
WHAT IS A VEGAN DIET?
The Vegan Society states that Veganism can be termed as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose or concern. The vegan diet not only aims to promote the health benefits of plant based and whole foods but also want to stop cruelty towards animals and want to spread awareness of the potential diseases that can be caused due to the animal based foods. One such recent example is of the Coronavirus or COVID-19.
On a vegan diet, a dieter can/ has to eliminate all the animal products, including dairy, meat, poultry, fish, eggs and honey etc. One of the main ethics of veganism includes the exclusion of animal products not only from everyday meals but also clothing, and other day to day use products. Nowadays dieters are choosing to follow a vegan diet for ethical, environmental and other health reasons. While going vegan can have many health benefits, there are some pitfalls that should be avoided. Organizations such as PETA are creating awareness towards vegan diet and stopping cruelty towards the voiceless creatures, i.e. animals.
One of the major confusions which lie deep in dieters' minds are about the food products they can eat. If you are on a vegan diet, you can eat all the plant based diets such as vegetables, fruits but that does not restrict you from eating other vegan foods such as vegan cheese, tofu, chips, cookies, cola, soda and other beverages which are not consumed on a plant diet. However studies show that people should stick to whole foods in order to have a balanced diet and healthy life.
WHAT IS A PLANT DIET?
A plant diet is a diet which aims to consume products which are plant based such as vegetables, fruits, grains etc. They don't have a restricted diet base as to eating a vegan or non vegan diet. It focuses more on eating plant derived foods as the major part of the meal.
However people on a plant based diet are absolutely free to include other vegan and non vegan food products into their diet unlike the vegan diet which allows only the vegetarian food products. Plant based dieters can still eat cookies, chips, eggs, fish, chicken, honey, cookies, cake etc but like other diets and mainly the vegan diet they too should focus on eating whole foods.
There is no such restriction on eating processed food on a plant based diet but experts suggest that to make the most of a plant based diet one must try to avoid processed foods. Plant-based foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains such as quinoa, barley, oatmeal, plant based oils such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil or avocado oil and nuts and seeds.
WHAT IS A WHOLE-FOOD, PLANT-BASED DIET?
A whole-food, plant-based diet focuses on whole, minimally refined plant foods and minimizes meat, dairy products, eggs, honey and highly refined foods such as bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil. A person eating this way will eat mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. The “whole-food” part of “whole-food, plant-based” has become quite relevant, as highly processed vegan foods have become more widely available, making it possible to eat a vegan diet while eating very few whole plant foods. It is highly recommended to follow the whole food diet since it gives one the chance to include every kind of nutrition in their diet which they might be missing on a single specific diet such as vegan or plant based diet alone.
AN IDEAL DIET
An ideal diet for a person wishing to choose between a vegan or a plant based diet should always be a whole food diet. Regardless of what meal plan you choose, everyone’s diet should ideally consist of 50 percent vegetables since veggies have all the nutrients that are required for proper functioning of the body (in the case where you are not taking the animal products).
Fruits are healthy too but people with certain types of diseases such as type 2 diabetes should focus more on vegetables because they have less carbohydrates and sugar. People who don't have any such problem should take an optimum meal of every type of meal. A healthy whole food plant based diet should include 50 percent vegetables, 25 percent whole grains and 25 percent lean proteins in it. People on a whole food diet which avoids eating animal foods should change to plant protein and try eating lentils (lentils have the highest plant based protein content in them).
Quinoa, nuts and seeds and if they're not strictly following the vegan diet, they can have the fish which is rich in omega-3 fatty fish, chicken which are rich sources of essential nutrients such as protein, vitamin b12, eggs, honey etc. The addition of healthy fats such as avocado oil while preparing the veggies, an addition of diced and slivered almonds on the daily oatmeal plate or sliced avocado or olive oil on salad dressings will help one feel full and energetic for longer.
The Plant based meals and the Vegan diet are two most trending diets of today's generation. While they have their own health benefits they have their downsides as well, so an ideal meal would always be a whole food diet. Apart from the diet, one must never forget to stay physically active and drink lots of water to stay healthy in the long term.