Plant based, vegan, vegetarian, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, raw… what does it all mean?
There are so many terms for different dietary and lifestyle requirements these days it can be hard to keep up.
I thought I would address the most significant for me: Plant Based vs. Veganism.
Are they the same? No. Is there a difference? Yes.
Plant Based is the terms used to describe someone who chooses to eat a diet made up of 100% plant based products. That means no meat, fish (yes, fish is meat people!), dairy (which includes milk, cheese, yoghurts, butter, cream etc.) and eggs. This also includes products that might have these foods in their ingredients e.g. salt and vinegar crisps can often have milk in them, gelatine in sweets and desserts, and potentially honey/beeswax depending on how strict a diet they are following.
I probably wouldn’t be alone in saying that for a lot of people, especially in today’s society, following a Plant Based diet can come first before fully transitioning to Veganism. I know that’s definitely my own experience.
Veganism is the term used to describe a lifestyle which encompasses: diet, products, clothing, activities, goods, materials and ethics etc. As a Vegan I eat a plant based diet (no meat, fish, dairy or eggs), but I also don’t buy products which have been tested on animals, or include animal by-products e.g. leather, wool, silk, fur, crushed beetle pigment etc. Vegans can be distinguished from just a plant based diet as they don’t support animal cruelty of any kind, not just food, including product testing, captivity (zoos, parks), entertainment (circuses, animal shows, SeaWorld etc.), clothing, and scientific/medical research.
There might be things that Vegans eat that people following a Plant Based diet would not, for example Skittles or Starburst here in the UK are Vegan (no gelatine or other animal products), but someone following a plant based diet would probably avoid these are they are pretty far removed from an actual plant.
So although there are similarities in food, overall they can be pretty different. I think sometimes people can choose the term ‘Plant Based’ as ‘Vegan’ can have some stigma attached to it. I know when I first identified as ‘Vegan’ I felt awkward around the word and like it would draw unnecessary attention or questions.
Now though I’m proud of the word and I’m happy to identify as Vegan and I’m confident dealing with any conversations or debate that that drive.
If you have any questions around Plant Based vs. Vegan, or any other diet categories please let me a comment down below!