what's the difference between vegan and plant based? Sundried nutrition diet

Especially after the popularity of Veganuary this year, veganism is hugely on the rise. But another term is now floating around and that is 'plant based'. But what's the difference between being a vegan and being plant based? We take a look.

Is Vegan the same as plant based?

The simplest answer to this is that no, vegan and plant based are not the same thing. All people who are plant based are vegan, but not all vegans are plant based. By extension, being plant-based is a sub-division of veganism

It's important to remember that eating a vegan diet is not always intrinsically healthy, and that is where veganism and plant based differ the most. As a vegan, you are not eating any animal products or foods made with animal derivatives. This means no meat, dairy, or other animal products. However, this means that a vegan could still eat unhealthy foods like potato chips, fries, and white bread. In fact, it would be easy for a vegan to be deficient in important vitamins and nutrients and to be more unhealthy than a meat-eater. 

On the contrary, those who are plant-based only eat foods that are, you guessed it, plant based. This means foods like beans, pulses, fruits, and vegetables. All of these foods are inherently healthy and therefore a plant-based vegan would expect to be more healthy. Some plant-based eaters go one step further and follow a completely raw food diet, which means eating solely raw fruits and vegetables. However, a raw food diet can not only be unhealthy, it can be dangerous, and is often not recommended by health care professionals. 

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What do you eat on a plant based diet?

A plant-based diet is somewhat more restrictive than a vegan diet. On a plant-based diet, you only eat foods that are whole and natural such as fruits, vegetables, pulses, and legumes. A plant based diet excludes eggs, dairy, meat, fish, processed wheat and carbs such as pasta and bread, as well as oils and nuts. 

Of course, any plant based diet is open to interpretation and what works best for you. As such, if eating peanut butter works for you, there's nothing to say you can't do that.

It's important for vegans and those on a plant-based diet to get enough protein and vitamin B3, as these are the macro- and micro-nutrients that can be difficult to get enough of on a meat-free diet. There are plenty of vegan protein sources that those on a plant based diet can enjoy, mostly from pulses, seeds, and legumes. 

Read more: Healthy Vegan Brownie Recipe

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What to eat on a plant based diet

Vegan grocery shopping list

This is what a typical vegan grocery shopping list might look like in order to enjoy a varied and balanced diet that is healthy and provides enough of the right nutrients.

  • Chickpeas
  • Almond milk
  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Kidney beans
  • Quinoa
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Avocado
  • Vegan protein powder
  • Lettuce
  • Red pepper

From these ingredients there are lots of delicious and healthy recipes you can create, from homemade vegan beanie burgers to vegan protein mousse and tasty salads.