Vegan vs Plant-based, is there a difference?
YES! A HUGE one! I know this may seem silly to some who like to just just lump us all under the same title "weird". Lately, it seems there are more articles trying to debunk veganism, therefore turning people off from considering a plant-based lifestyle. I would like to attempt to clear up the confusion.
I just read an article by an ex- "fairly dedicated" vegetarian woman turned vegan hater. She claims that her diet is why she was so ill and now she publishes rubbish about vegans. I am not sure how she got this authority, but she is running with it. She has no real credentials, just a loud opinion. I am more trusting of scientific research than opinions. Being a fairly dedicated anything might make you ill! It's obvious that she was not getting proper nutrition being that she was fairly dedicated to not eat meat?! Nourishing our bodies properly is not a half-hearted job. It takes time and effort. We all know that. I am disappointed that her poor attempt at vegetarianism has the ability to effect so many people.
We got an email from a reader who was worried about feeding her children vegan, because she had read and article posted by this woman. I am in support of figuring out what works best for your body and spreading the love, but there is no one that has the authority to tear down others because of their beliefs. To this woman I say, tout your meat eating cookbook and leave us plant eaters out of it!!
Phew, just needed to be a bit of a mama bear for a minute. Now to try and clear things up.
According to Wikipedia: Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products.
Whole Food Plant-Based diet. (my def) The practice of eating mostly plants, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds in their whole,original form. (or very close to it)
My focus has shifting from time to time between the two. I find that when I eating vegan and only focusing on abstaining from animal items, it is very easy to gain weight and feel clouded. I then get frustrated thinking that I am eating well, but what is happening? I am getting better and better at recognizing these phases and they are getting less frequent. However this can be hard for kids because being vegan is trendy, and now there are so many "fun" foods being created to support vegans. Did you know Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch, Cracker Jacks,Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips,Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate, vanilla, Oatmeal Macaroon, and peanut butter flavors), Fritos, Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies, Teddy Grahams, Oreos, and Ruffles potato chips (all dressed, bbq, and plain flavors) are all VEGAN? This is about 10% of the list I found, all processed junk food, but no animals were harmed. (For a full list from PETA Click here.) Now if you are copying and pasting this to shopping list STOP! ;)
Not one of of these items is considered healthy from a plant-based approach! We want to put food into our bodies that it can recognize and use as fuel to heal and energize our cells. We want REAL food, the stuff that grows from the ground! I know that can be hard to find all seasons and in different locations around the world, but do your best. T
A sample list of fruits and veggies in season: apricots, asparagus,artichokes, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, chard and leafy GREENS (very important for a daily consumption), cherries, grapefruit, green onions, kiwis, leeks, lemons, oranges, peas, radishes, spinach, strawberries,sweet onions.The list is seemingly endless when you start to look around. Hang out in the produce section or at your local farmers markets. Spring is the best to time to fully commit to being plant-based. The local markets are full of fresh produce just waiting for us to enjoy!
It is very easy to eat vegan and still be lacking vital nutrients that your body needs to function and optimal levels. Be very careful, do your research, and get to know your bodies and what it needs. There are a great number of resources out there. As whole food mommies we recommend reading ANY and ALL of Dr Joel Fuhrmans books. He has a great book called," Disease Proof your Child" that we highly recommend if you are raising children. We love Dr. Esselstyn and his son Rip. They both have so much great stuff going on. Then there is our beloved T Colin Campbell, author of The China Study (if you do not have this book, put it on your list!) Dr McDougall has a great website, books, and even has fabulous retreats (one my bucket list!). Dr Dean Ornish is another great guy with credible information. Don't get overwhelmed. Start with one book at a time. If you have not yet seen Forks Over Knives, please take the time to sit and watch this! It streams live on netflix and I know its available on amazon. There are so many great resources out there.
Being vegan means abstain from animal everything, being whole food plant-based means, you have a gigantic colorful list of foods you can and should be eating. People love to ask us, so you can't eat this or that? My husband is so great to respond with, "It's not about you can't eat, it's about what you should be eating". That usually stops them and gets them thinking. It's a paradigm shift, there are so many wonderful foods that we can and should be eating. When we fill our plates with those, there is no room for the animal products that harm us and the animals. Its a WIN-WIN!!
One of the articles I referenced above. Its awful and makes me so angry that she could be so off!