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The difference between being vegan and being plant-based

The difference between being vegan and being plant-based

You’ve watched What The Health and Cowspiracy and now you’re ready to give up your carbon emissions-heavy ways. You’re done with chomping on pigs and drinking baby cow juice and you’re ready to embrace that vegetable life. Or perhaps you’re sick of all these free-from pr*cks and you hate the whole clean eating movement. But do you really hate vegans or are you wound up about plant-based eaters? You might think the two buzz terms are synonymous but there are subtle differences. Does it matter which you are or which you hate the most? Probably not.

But if you’re about to start joining a load of pro-vegan forums and discussion groups and you haven’t got your facts straight then you’re probably going to get shot down sharpish.

So, here are the basic differences between the two:


A plant-based diet is one that is centred on vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits.

So far, so vegan.

But a plant-based diet is just that – it’s a diet. It’s a way of eating that you might adopt because you don’t agree or like eating meat and fish, you might be lactose intolerant, or you might want to eat as unrefined as possible.

Being plant-based is open to different interpretations. It’s an eating pattern based on plants but isn’t necessarily exclusive to it. So you’ll get some people who call themselves plant-based but still eat eggs and drink cows or goats milk. And you’ll also get fruitarians, raw vegans and macrobiotic dieters falling under the same umbrella term.

It’s essentially a whole-food regime that relies on consuming minimal amounts of highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar and oil.

So yes, it’s what you might call ‘clean’ eating but more than that, it’s an effort to eat healthily and ethically.

And no, it’s not dangerous. Eating disorders are dangerous. Plant-based eating is simply a food plan that sees you eating a load of broccoli and whole grain bread.


Without being horribly cliche, veganism is more than a diet – it’s a lifestyle.

People turn to veganism out of morality rather than a desire to be healthier or slim down. It’s not a diet.

We’re seeing an amazing growth of vegan junk food businesses popping up in the UK right now, from cruelty-free doughnuts to kebabs – catering for those people who want their delicious, greasy, sugary treats without abusing animals in the process.

Don’t go thinking that vegans are the healthiest people on the planet.

There are plenty of vegans who don’t give a sh*t about nutrition or dieting. There are a load of animal lovers who would live entirely on chips and Oreos if they had the chance.

The point is though, that they aren’t prepared to let animals suffer for their lifestyle choices.

And that mentality extends to their clothing choices, their skin care, the kinds of household cleaners they use, hair products and what kind of alcohol they drink.

They live independently of animal products and labour in and out of the kitchen.

So, before you start slagging vegans off as diet-obsessed wellness freaks or plant-based eaters as sanctimonious hippies, make sure you know exactly who you’re chatting sh*t about.

Or maybe…don’t?


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