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Whole Food Plant Based vs Vegan

If you are looking to start a new way of eating, you’re probably overwhelmed by all of the types of diets and lifestyle choices that you can make to help you reach your goals.  There are plenty of them, and among them are plant based eating options: whole food plant-based, and vegan.  In order to decide which one is best for you and which choice would better fit your lifestyle, it is important for you to know the differences between the two, and fully understand what each of these eating styles represents.

It’s important to remember that while neither of these types of eating are technically “diets,” they are often referred to as such.  In fact, they are more of a lifestyle change than anything else, as you are going to be changing different aspects of the way you eat and be much more aware of the food you are putting into your body.

What is the Vegan Diet?

If you know any vegans, you’ve probably heard them talk about their way of eating and living, and how much it has truly changed their lives.  However, you might not be all that familiar with what veganism entails.

For those who choose a vegan diet, they do not consume any foods that are made from animal products (such as beef, chicken, or pork), or animal byproducts (think milk, honey, or eggs).  Often times, those who are vegans substitute these products with artificial sweeteners, egg products, and meat substitutes that are made from plants, such as soy.

Many people who choose to become vegan do so out of compassion for animals, with many vegans even going to far as to avoid certain makeup, shoes, jackets, and many other products that might be made with animal byproducts.  While the vegan lifestyle is quite popular among many who are looking for a great way to lose weight and get (or stay!) healthy, many of those who choose this path do so out of their compassion for animals (and there isn’t a single thing wrong with that!).


What is the Whole Food Plant Based Diet?

The whole food plant based diet is different from the vegan diet in that its focus is on choosing whole foods over processed foods.  While the vegan diet allows you to have processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and refined grains, such as white flour, the whole food plant based diet does not.

For those who choose this way of eating, the motivation is mostly health-based.  This is a great reason to choose this lifestyle, as eating primarily plant-based items is incredibly healthy and can do wonders to help you get manage your long-term health.  This lifestyle choice can help to control health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and prevent disease development, such as cancers and cardiovascular diseases.


How to Know Which Diet is Best For You

If you are interested in choosing a diet that supports your animal rights agenda, veganism can be a truly good choice for you.  Keep in mind that vegans can often eat snack foods and other processed items that might not be the healthiest (such as potato chips and vegan candy and cookies), while those who choose to follow the whole food plant based way of life would not.  Those who follow the whole food plant based diet do not eat processed foods or artificial foods, instead opting for meals and snacks that come from whole food sources, such as plants, vegetables, and fruits.

In order to choose which diet would work better for you, you should take a look at your lifestyle and your nutritional needs.  If overall health is important to you, and you are looking to eat healthier, more nutritious meals that are whole and unprocessed, you might choose the whole food plant based diet as opposed to the vegan diet.  If you want to stay away from any animal product or byproduct, then the vegan lifestyle might just be for you!

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Dr. Candice Seti


California-licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer

Dr. Candice Seti

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