Most people believe that there is no difference between a vegetarian and a plant-based vegan diet. However, this is not absolutely true. So, what is the difference?
What is a Vegetarian Diet?
Vegetarians don’t consume fish, poultry, or meat. Most vegetarians opt for a vegetarian diet for cultural, ethical, and religious reasons. For instance, an individual may have moral values and believe that killing animals for the purpose of food is sinful. Some might do so because of their cultural upbringing where animals are considered sacred or holy.
Vegetarian diets are of different types. In some, animal products like honey, milk, and eggs are included. Certain vegetarian diets also consume fish, while others don’t.
What about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet? A vegetarian diet may or may not be healthy. Such a diet permits the consumption of refined and processed foods, salty snack foods, and fast foods. This implies that foods prepared with refined sugar or white flour are consumed, sugary beverages, snack foods like potato chips and cookies are also included. The objective isn’t always health-based. It is eliminating the consumption of meat. An individual who does not consume meat but does include refined grains, fruit juices, salty snacks, canned vegetables, and soups is not necessarily eating healthy, even though meat and animal products are out.
What is a Plant-based Vegan Diet?
A person following a plant based vegan diet consumes fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes (lentils, peans, and beans), unsalted nuts, healthy oils like olive oil, and unsalted nuts. The consumption of processed foods, snack-foods, refined grains, and sugary beverages is avoided. All animal products – eggs, dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter – are eliminated. People who decide to adopt a plant-based vegan diet usually do so for health, religious, and environmental reasons. The potential benefits of such a diet are significant, the most important one being the reduced risk of suffering from chronic diseases, increased heart health, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower body weight. It’s extremely inspiring to speak to people on my show and around the world who have lost a lot of weight and gained back their health after following a plant-based diet.
Consult with your healthcare practitioner to understand if a vegetarian or plant-based diet is ideal for you. Moreover, it is important to prepare a balanced, healthy diet with the right foods providing essential nutrients so that your body can benefit from the same.