Aren’t they the same thing?
Why is a distinction made between these two diets?
Although they share a great number of similarities, those who follow a vegan diet do differ from those who follow a plant-based one.
This diet does not consist of any animal meats or animal-based products. This would not only include beef, poultry, fish, etc., but dairy, eggs, and even honey. Furthermore, this diet is also an extension of the general lifestyle which many vegans adopt – meaning absolutely ZERO animal-derived products at all. Most vegans don’t wear or use fur, leather, wool, animal-tested cosmetics, or any animal-derived items or services. Many, many things you might not even suspect as being animal-derived are forgone by these individuals (ex: gelatin for sweets, desserts, and other everyday products).
This diet also does not consist of any animal-based products. The focus is placed upon consuming whole fruits, veggies, legumes, seeds, nuts, etc. Ideally, the foods they consider right for their diets are unprocessed and fresh, and will contribute to peak physical and mental health.
So where exactly are the differences? To understand this, we must understand the motivations behind each individual.
Those who are plant-based, although not always, tend to base their motivations purely on overall physical wellbeing and performance; it’s the diet itself that’s most important to them. In turn, they may reject ‘unhealthy’ options like sweets and sugary drinks even if they are entirely vegan. They may very well support animal rights and live very similarly to vegans, but they may also use animal-derived products/services (leather, fur, etc.) that don’t affect their diet.
Vegans tend to place their motivations on diet AND lifestyle. They believe that vegan principles are not only essential to their own health, but to the health and sustainability of the planet as a whole. Plant-based individuals may share this philosophy, or they may not. While a plant-based person would opt for a freshly prepared fruit salad over a vegan cookie, a vegan might opt for either. While a vegan would opt for a coat made free of fur or animal exploitation, a plant-based individual might be completely content with wearing such garments.
Despite the differences, there can be tremendous overlap for these two “diets”, both in practice and motivation. Although they resemble one another so closely, it is important to grasp that they aren’t exactly interchangeable. Furthermore, one is not superior to the other. Adopting either provides a list of similar, and proven, health benefits - you must choose what feels right for you. Understand your own motivations before adopting either option.
Author: Taylor Nason