Note: this post has been updated in December 2020.
Which is better for you?
There’s often quite a bit of confusion about the terms ‘plant-based diet’, ‘vegetarian" and ‘vegan’. Many people don’t really know the difference between the three for them to make an informed decision as to which is the best for them. So, let’s look at each diet in general.
Plant- Based Diet
A person on a plant-based diet tries to get most of his or her meals from plant sources. These are usually, vegetables, fruit, legumes and so on. Generally, someone on the plant-based diet is looking to improve their health by losing weight, reducing inflammation and making better food choices. However, they may occasionally indulge in eggs, meat or fish. It all depends on the person.
This diet is the most extreme of the three. Vegans only eat plant-based foods and exclude anything that might involve animal by-products. They do NOT eat eggs, dairy, meat or even honey.
So, which is better? Maybe it depends on you
There is no right or wrong answer here. It all depends on your goals. If you just wish to make a few changes to your diet to improve your health without going to extremes, the plant-based
diet is for you. Want to take the plant-based diet up a notch? Become a vegetarian then. If you want to be environmentally friendly, reduce your carbon footprint on the planet and be kind to animals, the vegan diet has your name written all over it. As you can see, the diet you choose will depend on your objective and purpose.
Which is the easiest diet?
The easiest diet to follow will be the plant-based diet. Not only will most of your diet be vegetables and fruit, but you have the opportunity to let down your hair every now and then and eat something that has some meat in it.
Of course, this is only if you wish to indulge. Most people on a plant-based diet lose their desire for meat after a while and totally cut it out. So, it’s up to you. What matters is that you
have flexibility and choice.
Since the plant-based diet is easier to adapt to, there’s also a much higher chance that you’ll stick with the diet until you achieve your health goals. The only way you’ll get the best
out of the diet will be to stick with it for at least 3 to 6 months.
This consistency will make the diet a lifestyle choice and become second nature to you. The good news is that the benefits accrued from a plant-based diet are very similar to what you’d get from a vegetarian or vegan diet.
While the latter two have more restrictions because of the meat exclusion, any extra health advantage gained from being vegetarian or vegan is negligible.
Is Plant-Based or Vegan Diet Better?
As long as you eliminate as much processed foods as you can and severely reduce your meat consumption to rare occasions, you’ll be on the right track. You want to make your body a temple and not a tomb.
In the end, what really matters is that your compliance to the diet is around 97 to 98 percent. This will ensure that you enjoy all the rewarding health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Start your journey to better health
Join the Physicians Committee's 21-Day Vegan Kickstart to receive meal plans, recipes, and advice from nutrition experts. This service is free and will help you take control of your health with a vegan diet. Our low-fat plant-based recipes, developed by chefs, dietitians, and experts in vegan cuisine, provide nutritious meals that are both healthy and delicious. Within 21 days you will start to see results and won’t look back! via - 21-Day Vegan Kickstart.
If you want a delicious diet, The Forks Over Knives Plan, which you can place into practice in your own life. The easy-to-follow, meal-by-meal makeover is the approach Doctors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman use every day in their nutritional health practice.
It is a simple plan that focuses on hearty comfort foods and does not involve portion control or worrying about obtaining single nutrients like protein and calcium.
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What do you think? Can you see the differences in the two approaches?