What Does Plant-Based Mean?

One of the questions I get asked the most is “what exactly is a plant-based diet and how is that different from a vegetarian/vegan/paleo diet.”  I know the titles can get pretty confusing so I thought I would break it down in a game I like to call “what it is/what it’s not."

What a plant-based diet is..
A plant-based diet is one that focuses on whole/plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans), grains, nuts and seeds.

What a plant-based diet is not…
What it doesn’t include is meat, fish, butter, milk, eggs, cheese, animal by-products and processed foods.

What a vegan diet is…
A vegan diet abstains from all animal products including meat, fish, butter, milk, eggs and cheese. However this diet/lifestyle is rooted in the ethical treatment of animals, emphasizing banning any products made from an animal (leather, fur, etc.) or tested on an animal (cosmetics, household cleaners, etc.)

What a vegan diet is not…
Because some people who are vegans do it for animal cruelty reasons, the focus on a healthy, plant-based diet isn’t as important.  There are many processed, ‘meat-like’ products out there that can be used to replace animal products.  So in essence, you can be what some refer to as a ‘junk-food vegan.’ For example, an Oreo cookie is considered vegan but not Plant-Based because it’s highly processed and loaded with sugar. 

What a vegetarian diet is…
A vegetarian diet also abstains from all animal products.

What a vegetarian diet is not…
However, there are variations of this diet in which people consume eggs, dairy and fish.  

What a paleo diet is…
A paleo diet is based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat (grass-fed/organic), fish, vegetables, and fruit.

What a paleo diet is not..
No dairy or grain products and processed food.

As many of you know, I subscribe to a plant-based diet.  After a health set-back,  I reevaluated my vegetarian diet and cut out most processed foods and dairy. It made a world of a difference in my digestion, skin, energy level and overall well-being (read about my healing journey). I'm a plant-based advocate because research shows that eating a whole foods diet with food minimally processed, is the healthiest and most nutritious fuel you can put in your body. It's been proven to reverse and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, auto-immune disorders, heart disease and depression, just to name a few.

Even though I came to this diet and lifestyle because of health reasons, my passion for it had me delve deeper into where my food was coming from with documentaries such as Forks Over Knives, Food, Inc., Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Cowspiracy and more.  I also became aware of the environmental damage caused by the Standard American Diet (SAD) as well as the mistreatment of animals which keeps me committed.

It's about progress not perfection. If you are interested in transitioning to a plant based diet, check out my empower section for book suggestions to inspire and motivate you. Or follow me on Instagram @omthemoment where I  post Meatless Motivation videos or plant-based tips to get you going.  You could also visit some of my favorite blogs, www.yumuniverse.com, www.onepartplant.com and www.ohsheglows.com.

Wherever you are in your journey, I'm here to help.  The body isn't designed to be sick and lethargic everyday.  You deserve to have a happy and healthy mind, body and soul.