“Vegan” Diet vs. Plant-based?

Posted by Adam Walsh on

Is there a difference? 

“Vegans” are people who strive to live their lives according to the definition of veganism:

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

Vegans are driven by compassion towards all living things, many people who are exposed to the cruel practices that are rampant in the animal agricultural system will be inclined to eat less animal products. How outrageous is that…

People who have strong anti-vegan opinions are probably more upset by vegans that will be very vocal in questioning and condemning the actions of non-vegans. But to have a problem with the actual concept of veganism is a bit of a stretch.

Anyway… back to definitions. The definition of veganism means that vegans eat a plant-based diet, but people who eat a plant-based diet are not always vegan.

Eating plant-based is a different term and is not mutually exclusive with veganism. A plant-based diet is a way of eating that focuses primarily on plant-based foods. It doesn’t have to mean exclusively plant-based foods. Maybe it would be a less divisive term and way of living. Eating more vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds… eating less animal products and processed food... (Sounds pretty freaking good to my dietitian ears).

People eat plant-based for a multitude of reasons:

  • A more environmentally friendly way to live
  • A healthier diet
  • They had a crack at veganism and decided a slightly looser term was better fitting to their lifestyle.


So, maybe not everyone can be a vegan. But if everyone ate more plant-based, perhaps we would have a healthier population and a more sustainable and less cruel food system.


Want to learn more about vegan nutrition & understand exactly what you need to ensure you stay healthy while following a vegan diet click here to check out our Comprehensive Guide to Vegan Nutrition.



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