You’ve decided that it’s time to take charge of your life by living a healthier lifestyle, beginning with the way you eat.  Good for you! Take a bow!  

But, you may be confused. You know that healthy eating means adding fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes to your diet while reducing salt, sugar and fats.

What is REALLY the best way to eat healthy?

Knowing what’s going to work best for you is a daunting task. Especially if you don’t know how one program differs from another. 

Many fast food chains are now throwing around the term “plant-based”. This has led to more confusion because their options are not truly plant-based.

Graphic credit: Vegnews.com

Let’s take a look at the difference between vegan vs plant-based.  Aren’t they the same?

By definition, vegan and plant-based are not the same.

A March 2018 article from health.com explains it like this:

“vegan diet is strictly against animal products, in every form. Not only do vegans not eat meat, dairy, eggs, or honey, they also don’t wear animal products (think leather) or use products tested on animals. “Veganism is a way of living,” according to the Vegan Society, “which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.

[…] Following a plant-based way of eating means eating more plants and plant proteins and cutting back on animal products. Some people who follow a plant-based diet might decide to eat some meat still, and there are no restrictions about wearing or using animal products. 

Even though a vegan diet can certainly be a healthy one, experts say a plant-based diet has one nutritional edge: It usually encourages eating more whole foods and avoiding processed picks. Processed and packaged foods can still be vegan–and not-so-nutritious, like vegan ice cream or cookies.”

While there are similarities between eating vegan and plant-based, plant-based will give you the more nutritious advantage. 

Eating vegan allows for a lot of high calorie dense foods, like french fries and vegan ice cream.

Ultimately it comes down to what your goal is.  At Connecticut Lifestyle Medicine, we help you to improve your health. So we promote a whole food plant-based way of eating.

CT Lifestyle Medicine

Making changes and adding nutritious and delicious food is a great start.  Here are some recipe resources for you. 

Now that you have the facts, whether vegan or plant-based, choose what works for you.  

You can’t go wrong with increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains, nuts and legumes and eliminating processed foods.  It really doesn’t matter what you call it!