What Does Plant-Based Even Mean?
There’s a lot of different definitions of a plant-based diet on the internet. You will find sites that say that plant-based is vegan (without the additional lifestyle modifications of being vegan). And other sources that say plant-based includes eating as a vegetarian, and even including minimal animal proteins in your diet.
Eating plant-based focuses on eating REAL, whole-foods, that have nutritional benefits and do your body good in some shape or form. Being plant based focuses on these foods...
The way I look at it - eating plant based EMPHASIZES adding more of the above food groups into your diet.
If you decide to cut out all animal proteins and products, great. If you decide to simply minimize animal products in your diet, that is great too. The focus here is eating for your health, optimal digestion, and to take preventative measures to ensure that you’re healthy as you age too.
Some may argue with me and say that plant-based is a vegan diet without the additional lifestyle practices (not wearing leather or using ANY products that are tested on animals etc). But the whole point of this program is to NOT put labels on our eating habits, and take that pressure off to eat a specific way, 100% of the time.
Let’s get a little bit more specific and look at this definition of plant-based from a credible source:
NBCI describes a plant-based diet as one that “aims to maximize consumption of nutrient-dense plant foods while minimizing processed foods, oils, and animal foods (including dairy products and eggs).”
Key word above? Minimize. Plant-based is not defined as cutting these animal foods out completely, but simply focusing on including as many plant-based ingredients into your day as possible. And heck, you never know, you may enjoy creating vegetarian or vegan recipes so much that you find it easy and natural to eventually crowd out all animal products.
What's The Difference Between Plant-Based And Vegan?
Even though vegan in my opinion is considered a plant-based diet. It cuts out ALL animal products. Plant-based emphasizes the importance of eating veggies fruits and all that jazz, but still leaves a bit of wiggle room to eat additional food groups.
Remember, it’s all about eliminating the pressure that comes with “diets”, focusing in on intuitive eating, and looking at food from a standpoint of understanding all of the wonderful health benefits you’ll be getting with each bite.
And One Last Thought
“It should be noted that the term plant-based is sometimes used interchangeably with vegetarian or vegan. Vegetarian or vegan diets adopted for ethical or religious reasons may or may not be healthy. It is thus important to know the specific definitions of related diets and to ascertain the details of a patient’s diet rather than making assumptions about how healthy it is. The following is a brief summary of typical diets that restrict animal products. A key distinction is that although most of these diets are defined by what they exclude, the plant-based diet is defined by what it includes.”
So to break down the above - NCBI shows the importance of understanding that plant-based diets are defined by what it INCLUDES in the diet, vs. what is excludes - which is what vegan + vegetarian does. Now I am in NO WAY putting down being vegetarian or vegan - I have countless friends and coworkers who are passionate vegans, and rightly so. I am myself an animal lover and am disgusted by the treatment of animals in the meat industry.
YET - I find it my calling to help those who grew up on a meat-centric diet, and who are interested in a plant-based lifestyle, to take small and realistic steps to healthier eating. Ya get my drift yet??
So to wrap it up to the point - this program is for those that don’t want the pressure of putting a label on their diet and what they eat. The whole point of this is to make it EASY to include more veggies into your diet, right? We already have enough stress in other areas of our life and what we eat should NOT add to that stress!