Lately, vegetable-based diets, mainly plant-based diet vs. vegan diet has taken the internet by storm; but, is there any difference? What’s healthier? What’s better?
A whole-food plant-based diet and vegan diet are similar in one regard. Both are based on the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. But, there is a difference between the two.
Putting it aside for a while; why eat only vegetables and fruits, when you can have a wide variety of foods. You are not a giraffe, zebra, or a cow that’s restricted to eating one type of food among all the varieties out there. Leaving out meat and dairy products, wouldn’t it deprive you of some genuinely essential nutrients?
No doubt, going all vegan is healthy for you, but variety is the spice of life.
If such questions are bugging your head, then, here’s the answer. A whole plant-based diet liberates you to make non-veg choices, but a vegan diet doesn’t.
Now, let’s explore what the difference between the two, and how they are beneficial or riskier for your health
A Whole Plant-Based Diet Vs. A Vegan Diet
Introduced in the 1940s. A vegan diet is quite strict in its rules against animal products, in all their forms. Susan Tucker, a health coach of plant-based nutrition, calls it a ‘thorough and rigorous version of the plant-based diet.
Not only do the followers avoid eating honey, meat, and dairy products, but they also avoid wearing animal products such as leather, silk, wool, etc. All in all, veganism is a way of life, not just a diet plan to restrict a particular set of foods.
It’s a movement against all kinds of exploitation or cruelty towards animals for clothing, food, and accessories.
On the other hand, a whole-food plant-based diet is only a diet. It includes eating whole vegetables and fruits and whole grains. It’s non-similar to veganism as it involves the consumption of non-vegetarian foods but in a low-quantity. Instead, switching to a plant-based diet is a lot easier.
You have to cut back the intake of GMOs and processed foods, but not animal foods. You can continue to wear leather, silk, or whatever you feel comfortable.
No matter which one you’d choose to opt for, vegetable and fruit-based diets a secret to opening up a whole new world of vitality right from the morning through the day. It’s a perfect early morning diet to revamp your energy for the modern-day.
A whole-food plant-based diet includes a wide range of food choices such as fish, dairy, animal protein, legumes, fruits, nuts, vegetables in measurable quantities. Instead, it’s similar to a Mediterranean diet, and who isn’t familiar with the benefits of Mediterranean diets for health.
As per research, a whole-food plant-based diet is rich in vital nutrients from leafy greens, high-fiber fruits, nuts, and vegetables. So, there is a reduced risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases.
Do you know that four major diseases, including coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, prevalent in the medical world, is riding on the same steed: Inflammation. Moreover, inflammation leads to numerous more diseases, such as hepatitis, allergy, autoimmune disorders, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. What reduces inflammation? Antioxidants present in high quantity in nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits.
Due to the high intake of non-nutritious, empty-calorie diets, about 90% of Americans aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of major inflammatory diseases.
Health Benefits of A Vegan Diet
Previously, athletes filled up on meat products to satiate their muscle’s protein need; but now they are turning vegan too. A lot of dairy and meat products cause inflammation. Inflammation is the root of a thousand wide-spread diseases.
Therefore, it’s essential to shift to veganism to avoid processed, GMO foods that are more harmful than healthy for your body.
Apart from health benefits, veganism is an environment-friendly diet. By decreasing the demand for meaty products, the increased production of GMOs will decrease. The industrial, agricultural complex is destroying the food industry. Ultimately, whatever is produced is organic and healthy.
Health Benefits of a Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet
Decreasing the consumption of processed foods, especially animal-based products, is super-healthy for reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Animal protein, in minimum quantity, is beneficial for your health. After all, who isn’t familiar with the benefits of food as simple as yogurt? For skincare, mental health, digestive health, and you name it.
Going all-vegan in one go can be difficult, especially leaving the world of flavors behind or so it may appear to the non-vegetarians.
Several people went all well with vegan diets, but then the need for animal-based proteins did raise its voice due to uneven stress levels and mood swings. So, why no incorporate a few dairy products into your diet?
Risk Factors Involved in the Vegan Diet
Before diving into any other risk, I’d look into the risk of consuming whole grains: wheat, barley, and rye. If you are gluten-intolerant, stop right there and find out in what possible ways you can or cannot consume them.
A common phenomenon observed in people making a shift from non-vegan to all vegan foods is that they start choosing vegan junk foods. The junk foods aren’t going to demonstrate the health benefits in your body as you were expecting it to be. They are processed, and they are devoid of vital nutrients that your body is craving.
Therefore, it’s vital to understand what’s nutritious in vegan diets. Where are the nutrients, and how can you benefit from them at maximum?
Yes, it’s going to be a tough roller coaster ride. Here’s a tip: try juicing recipes that are beneficial for heart health, mental health, and so on. Having a theme is a great start!
A significant risk involved in becoming a vegan is fulfilling the daily need for specific vitamins and minerals that aren’t present in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Instead, when you are going all vegan, you have to consume more food to satiate your daily need for certain vital nutrients.
In vegan diets, there’s a risk of being deficient in vitamin D, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. Therefore, it’s essential to consult your doctor before and during the vegan diet.
Risk Factors Involved in a Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet
There aren’t many health risks involved except the gluten-intolerance part, but you need to keep a close eye on your diet.
As you are free to choose, there is a risk of you slipping off the bar to munch on a double cheeseburger.
What’s good about a plant-based diet is that you can consume vitamin B12 from dairy, iron from animal protein, omega-3 from fish and nuts. Therefore, there is a lot less risk involved, except that you have to hold your horses when while coming across processed foods.
Choosing What’s Right For You: A Vegan Diet or A Plant-Based Diet?
What matters is the motivating factor behind a diet shift, living a healthier life, inspiring better food choices in your kids. Boosting your immune functions, or only as part of a weight-loss plan. In all the above options, a plant-based diet fits in perfectly.
But, if the motivating factor is to consume environment-friendly products both in food and other parts of the consumer industry; then, vegan is the right choice for you.
The most enriching aspect of both diets is fiber-rich foods that can keep you going throughout the day without feeling tired. Moreover, eating fresh and healthy food bring a natural glow on your face. If you add to it, the antioxidants are your sword-men against inflammations and free radicals within the body that cause cell damage.
To protect your cell from damage and deterioration as you age, and anti-aging therapy is eating anti-oxidant-rich foods!
Both are in favor of healthy food choices and eco-friendly compared to omnivorous diets. Because omnivorous diets have a high carbon footprint, that is, greenhouse gas emission equal to 3.3 tons. The contribution is about half of it in a plant-based diet. In the case of vegan diets, it’s far much lesser.
Whatever your right choice may be, take it slowly. Try out healthy recipes of both plant-based diets vs. vegan to find out your best option and see a definite change in your life.
Which one do you prefer: a plant-based diet or a vegan diet?