"The food you eat can either be the safest & most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison"
Over the past year, there has been a lot of buzz around eating "plant based" "vegan" or "vegetarian," but what truly separates one from the other? There has even been a series of subsets, for example, those who are occasional fish eaters "pesca-veg" or those who consider themselves "non-dairy vegetarians." When it comes to food, many people seem to have a strong alliance to a particular diet or lifestyle. We are all unique individuals with different goals. It can all become quite confusing when everyone is trying to put a label on one idea... Healthy Eating. Let's get into it shall we?
plant based vs. plant focused
A (whole food) plant-based diet is rich in plant matter (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds) while simultaneously excluding animal products (meat, eggs, dairy). To have a plant-focused diet means your meals are "plantiful" but you might add lean meat for additional protein. Plant based is not synonymous with being vegan. I'll explain later.
The benefits of eating plant-based
The benefit of eating a plant-based diet is that it provides an abundance of fiber, diversity, and beneficial phytonutrients found exclusively in plants and are necessary for optimal health. These bioactive phytonutrients are what give fruits and vegetables their bright color and distinctive flavor. Phytonutrients are a part of the plant's defensive system. When we consume more phytonutrients, it increases our body's defenses enabling our body to better fight off oxidative stress, prevents DNA assault by free radicals in your environment, decreases inflammation and protects our gut.
raw vegan vs. vegan vs. vegetarian
I know, I know... so much to decipher but hear me out....
To be vegan takes being plant-based to an entirely different level. Veganism is more than a diet, it's a lifestyle. It is a lifestyle choice that involves, not only diet, but politics and ethics as well. Anything pertaining to animals or animal welfare is not permitted for vegans: certain clothing, the use of honey, even different cosmetics that have been used for animal testing are not allowed. Vegans are 100% Cruelty-free with everything they encounter. TRY not to become a "junk food" vegan (because those exist too) Balance is key! Eat foods that are delicious and nutritious, here's a link to my blog post dedicated to your vegan sweet-tooth. ?
Raw vegan is a subset of veganism. Raw veganism is a diet that combines the concepts of veganism and raw foodism. Not only does it exclude animal products, but also the major difference between raw veganism and veganism is that food cannot be altered from its natural state, therefore, all food must be cooked below 104–118°F (40–48°C). This diet is primitive but has been adopted by many people today.
Vegetarians, on the other hand, do not eat land meat or seafood. They may still eat dairy; therefore, they are not 100% cruelty-free.
Non-dairy vegetarians may not eat dairy or eggs but still eat honey, wear furs and leathers, and use animal tested cosmetics. Hence why they are not vegan. Non-dairy vegetarians do typically adopt a (whole-food) plant-based diet.
The benefits of adopting a vegan lifestyle or vegetarian diet
Not only will you lessen your carbon footprint and save the environment, vegans and vegetarians are also said to have more energy, sleep better, have clearer skin, have more regular bowel movements, have less chronic health issues, etc.
The diagram above depicts a plant-based food pyramid with daily servings for each food group.
All in all, we should try to add more color to every meal but do keep in mind, what works for one person may not work for you and vice versa. The primary focus of a plant-based diet is health, while veganism has farther reaching implications concerning animal rights, the environment and is not necessarily centered around health. There’s no denying the benefits of lessening animal products in our diet and lifestyle, regardless of one’s reasoning. But, it is extremely important that you understand both sides of the issue in order to achieve your goal. For me personally, adopting a plant-based diet was solely about improving my health.
"People eat meat and think they will become as strong as an ox, forgetting that the ox eats grass" -Pino Caruso
Learn how this Doctor cured her Lupus with a plant based diet.
This topic has been long awaited and the confusion has continued to rise. Everyone who has adopted a plant-based lifestyle in any form probably get asked these questions daily. No fear! The answers are here! I would love to hear your testimonies in the comments below, are you currently vegan or have tried a plant-based diet? Comment, share, like to keep everyone in the loop.
Till next time,
Hello world! I am Chérie Jade, I am passionate about promoting a holistic lifestyle and encouraging preventative practices for day to day healthy living.