When I began my eco friendly journey I wanted to change my diet to something that didn’t harm the environment. At first, I went vegan and as you get more involved with the community I realized it might not be for me. Then I decided I was going plant based but with no milk and no meat. However, I thought planet based was similar to vegetarian. Means that you eat animal byproducts ie. you eat, eggs, and dairy products, however according to certain people, it’s not. That got me curious, more and more people and companies going plant based I wanted to clear up some of the confusion and see what being plant based is and how does it differ from vegan and vegetarian?
What does it mean going plant-based?
According to NCBI “a plant based diet consists of all minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legums, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. This excludes all animal products including red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.” By that definition vegan and plant based is the same thing more or less. It all depends on the person’s views outside of what’s on the plate ie. what they wear. But go to any vegan and say plant based and vegan are similar and, well, be prepared to have your head cut off. Also by this definition vegetarianism isn’t really considered plant based even though their diets are primarily plant based they can eat dairy products and eggs but don’t eat meat. Also, it contradicts this definition from Harvard saying “plant based or plant forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This doesn’t mean you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather it means you are proportionately choosing more of your food from plant based sources.” This is also the definition on Healthline. They also have a helpful graphic below.
Where it shows they while they do try to avoid meat they can/or will eat it on occasion.
So, is plant based similar to veganism?
Not necessarily while there are some similarities but plant based and vegan are different in an ethical sense. Vegan is not just a diet it’s a life style meaning they abstain from eating or purchasing anything that came from an animal as well as tested on an animal. However, being plant based means you’ll still wear leather, and if there’s nothing else to eat or you’re craving it you’ll have a burger.
What about vegetarianism?
So now that we know veganism and plant based are cousins, not sisters. What about plant based and vegetarianism? This one they are pretty similar depending on who you ask. Being vegetarian according to kidney.org is a “person who doesn’t eat any meat, fish, or poultry. The goal of vegetarianism isn’t always health based the goal is usually eating meatless food without animal products, whether that be for animal welfare, cultural, religious, or ethical reasons.” Vegetarianism is something that I’m very familiar with. My mother and her entire side of the family are vegetarian for religious reasons. I know all the veggie meat, as we called it, that you can make and the recipes. They abstain from all meat but will eat eggs and milk and love cheese. They do not consider themselves “plant-based” at all they are vegetarian and kind of stick by that because they don’t/ won’t eat meat for any reason whereas some plant-based people will eat meat. Now there are people who say they’re vegetarian but they eat fish poultry or beef. That’s not really vegetarian if you want to gatekeep it’s more plant-based, because you will eat meat under certain circumstances or in small portions.
So, What’s Plant-Based?
To sum up this part of the article plant based diets in some cases include meat or animal byproducts depending on the person. People can be plant based and not eat any animal by-product but if it’s not really ethical reason or affects any other part of your life then you are not vegan. And if you sometimes eat meat then you’re not really vegetarian either, depending on who you ask and what definition you recognize. As long as the majority of your diet is vegetables and you actively try to avoid meat and animal products unless it’s necessary then you’re plant based.
How do you go plant-based?
Ok since we have an idea of what plant based is, how do we start going plant based? Whatever your reason for going plant based it’s unanimous that a plant based diet is healthier and more ecofriendly than the traditional diet. In my opinion it’s fairly easy to day especially if you eat at home all the time. And now days you can find so many plant based products on the market that it’s not even hard. So I wanted to give you some insight on going plant based to make it as easy as possible.
Buy more vegetables.
Yes it’s kind of that simple buy more vegetables.Go to your local grocer or farmers market and grab some new and interesting vegetables to experiment with a learn to cook with. As long as you’re eating veggies you’re eating everything on the plant-based diet food list.
Explore With More Recipes
Learn how to make some great dishes. You’d be surprised on how many dishes you can make plant based or are already completely vegan. I mean if Gordon Ramsey can make a vegan steak out of eggplant you can make a cauliflower steak.
Expland You Pallett
In the past few years the plant based market has literally exploded with so many different food types and styles. Going plant based has never been easier so try a bit of tofu and soy your body and heart will thank you.
As stated in my before when it came to going vegan, take it one day at a time. It’s great if you’re able to switch cold turkey but if you need to take baby steps, take those steps. You can start with by going plant based once a day, then two and so on even if you’re going plant-based for a month. Remember life is a journey not a destination.
Enjoy and Have Fun
Don’t take life to seriously and that goes for your plate to. When I decided to stop eating meat I tried so many more foods and ways to cook way more than when I did when I ate meat. I didn’t have my staples everywhere and I had to look for new foods. If you’re just learning about the plant based diet then try a plant based restaurant and look at their options, join local groups dedicated for plant based people. Then you can kind of choose which kind of plant based diet you want to follow. There’s so many.
Hopefully this article has given you some insight in going plant based and sparked your curiosity. Going plant based was one of the best decisions that I made in my healthy journey and it’s something that I keep working towards. Everyone is learning and changing so let’s embrace this journey together regardless of your reasoning is. Thank you for taking the time to read this article.