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Good question! Both styles of eating are somewhat similar but ultimately they’re not the same thing. Culinary confusion? Ok, let’s break it down.

Those following a ‘plant-based’ lifestyle are committed to following a diet that focuses on whole, plant foods. Instead of basing meals around meat, plant-based followers focus on plant-based ingredients, which includes: sweet potatoes, starchy vegetables, and wholegrains; brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat, as well as plenty of legumes;, chickpeas, lima beans, kidney beans. If planned well, plant-based diets are rich in protein, iron, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals.

The plant-based sources of these nutrients tend to be low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with antioxidants, which can help in tackling serious health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Refined sugar is a no-no and followers of a plant-based diet will often find they maximise their nutrient intake, as foods are kept as close to their natural state as possible and avoids highly processed foods.

That sounds a lot like being a vegan…

Yes, there are similarities but veganism takes things a little further and being vegan does not automatically mean you are being healthy. There is an awful lot of vegan junk food out there. A lot of people think that just because you are being vegan you are being healthy! A can of coke is vegan!

Similar to a plant-based diet, vegans also eliminate all animal products from their diets; meat, fish, eggs, gelatin and other animal byproducts. Instead, vegans prioritise a diet rich in foods that are bursting with natural ingredients and filled with essential vitamins and minerals. As with a plant-based diet, refined sugar is also a no-no – it’s all about keeping natural, folks. Vegans and Plant-Based followers will find they can maximise their nutrient intake as foods are kept as close to their natural state as possible and highly processed foods are avoided.

Still not sure of how they differ? Let’s look closer at this.

Veganism can be seen also as a philosophy that’s deeply devoted to animal rights and somewhat stricter than its plant-based pal. As well as eliminating animal products from their diets, this belief extends to all aspects of their lives... Yes, that includes anything that consists of leather, fur, wool or silkeven down to honey and beeswax and products that may be derived from and/or tested on animals.

As with plant-based diets, there are plenty of health benefits: helping to reduce obesity, heart disease and assistance in the elimination of toxins in the body. Oh, and let’s not forget the increased energy, younger, glowing skin and that spring in your step!

To conclude…

Plant-based refers to whole, plant foods and not just foods that are deemed to be “vegan”. A pack of digestives are, at their core, vegan but we wouldn’t consider them to be “plant-based”. As a great as digestives can be, they do not resemble an original plant form. Sorry, folks.

Another way to look at it is that a “plant-based” meal may be by definition a vegan, yet a person following a plant-based diet isn’t necessarily a vegan; they may focus their diet on being highly meat-free and full of plant-based foods but still wear and use products that come from animal derived products.

Ultimately, it’s all about making healthy choices with your eating and finding what lifestyle works best for you. There will never be a ‘one size fits all’ way of eating – we’re all different, which is what makes life that bit more colourful. Whether you dabble in one or the other or are committed to following something entirely different, it’s important that you make sure it’s something that nourishes and benefits you. That’s when the magic happens. 

Be Inspired!

Click here to discover some of my seriously nourishing and super-easy to make plant-based
and vegan recipes.

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Author Jay Halford

I am a health-conscious chef specializing in plant-based cuisine that incorporates juice programmes, food programmes, online cooking courses, recipes and educational resources that inspire the pursuit of a healthier way of living. I believe that your diet is supposed to be your greatest ally, supporting you to feel strong, look good, think clearly and achieve your goals, nothing less. A consistent healthy plant-based diet does that 100% - and I am committed to helping you experience its real healing power so that once you discover it, you'll never want to look back.

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