This is a question I hear a lot… “What is the difference between living Vegan and living Whole Food Plant Based?”
The answer is simple and yet a little complex at the same time. The simplest answer is that vegans choose their lifestyle to avoid animal cruelty. By definition; by Donald Watson – Founder of The Vegan Society, he is also the person who coined the term ‘Vegan’ in 1944. He states:
“Veganism is a way of living 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.”
Therefore, by this standard, a vegan will put ethics before health. They have a deep respect for all life and the environment and they choose to live in a manner that will lessen the damage caused to other life on this planet as well as the environment. Vegans (by definition) don’t generally go Vegan primarily for health reasons. Ethics first, health second.
Whole Food Plant Based eaters mainly choose this lifestyle for health reasons as their primary reason. Animal cruelty and the environment may or may not play a role in their decision.
What’s so different between the two?
Vegans won’t eat, buy or wear any animal by-products (ex. no meat, dairy, eggs, honey, leather, wool, etc). If it comes from an animal in any way, shape or form – they will not consume / use it. However there are MANY foods out there that are considered “vegan” and also extremely unhealthy… Things like chips, cookies, soft drink, “vegan” cakes and pies, pasta and a multitude of processed foods. Health, while still a concern – is not the driving force for Vegans. This doesn’t mean that vegans are unhealthy… on the contrary – most vegans are quite healthy. However, you can choose to be vegan and still be extremely unhealthy as well.
WFPB Eaters also won’t eat any animal by-products (ex. no meat, dairy, eggs) or anything else that is considered unhealthy or may contribute to disease or illness. However, unlike Vegans, they will eat honey because of the associated benefits of reducing internal inflammation – which is the root cause of most diet related disease. They generally stick to fruits, veggies, legumes, certain grains, nuts and seeds, homemade juices, herbal teas and water. The idea with WFPB is if it comes direct from mother nature, has little to no processing, no chemicals, no oils and it’s safe… eat it.
WFPB Eaters tend to be very cautious about GMO’s, sugar intake, oil, white flour, and anything that is processed. We research and scrutinize everything before we consume it. We understand the health risks that come with eating foods that cause health problems and as such, we try to avoid them at all costs.
There are many benefits of being WFPB. Obviously, as our main priority is health, the pros out-weigh the cons tremendously when done right.
The Pros: Weight loss, reduced risk of disease or illness, normal cholesterol levels, normal blood pressure levels, reversing diabetes (Type 2), reversing heart disease, reversing liver disease, increased energy, increased vitality and increased longevity. Reduction on your carbon foodprint, helping the environment and not supporting factory farming.
The Cons: If done improperly, you can become nutrient deficient. If you’re considering a WFPB diet and don’t know where to start NutriWell offers 1-hour consultations to help you transition from the Standard American Diet to WFPB eating in a safe and healthy manner.
Neither lifestyle is wrong, and both are personal choices that have their pros and cons. You have the right to choose based on whats important to you. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t be living your life the way you want to, the way you see fit.
But if your overall concern is health over everything else – you definitely should become a WFPB eater. It is the most benefical means to aquiring the healthy results you are looking for!
Until Next Time!