What are the differences between being vegan versus vegetarian versus plant-based? Is one healthier than the other? Listen in to find out!
These diets have become more and more popular in the food world. As people start to think more about the environment and overall health, they turn to things like how they eat to make a bigger impact in the positive direction.
Faith VanderMolen is first and foremost a wife and mother. For the past six years, she and her husband have lived as expats in various countries throughout southeast Asia.
The challenges associated with living overseas forced them to become creative with cooking, and thus her website, The Conscientious Eater, was born. It is a place where she shares her passion for healthy, plant-based recipes, easy meal prep and food photography.
Now with two young kids, her focus has shifted to creating a holistic approach to not only her own diet, but that of her entire family.
Check out her ebook Plant Biased and grab 15% off through this link.
What is Vegan?
Someone who is vegan consumes no animal products, whether it is through food or items in their daily life. They do not eat any animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, honey or gelatin.
They also do not use items made of thing coming from an animal, like leather or wool. The term vegan refers to more of a lifestyle versus simply the way someone eats.
A vegan diet doesn't necessarily mean a healthy nutrient rich diet. There are many foods out there that are vegan but not filled with nutrients.
A raw vegan is someone who is vegan and eats food in their raw state. This means that they eat anything uncooked, or not cooked at a temp higher than 115 degrees.
What is Plant-based?
Someone who eats plant-based eats a diet made of mostly plants. It is not necessarily a diet that completely eliminates animal products, as some people may occasionally consume some animal products. This is where me and my family fall.
I like to look at a plant-based diet as a continuum that we move along. Where you are on the continuum can change depending on the moment.
Whole food plant-based
When you add the words "whole food" with plant-based, you are referring to a diet than not only is mostly plants, but also is comprised of mostly whole foods. This diet is extremely nutrient dense.
It eliminates or minimally adds foods like oil, added sugar and grains that are not whole grains.
What is a Vegetarian?
A vegetarian is a person that doesn't eat meat (red meat, chicken, pork and sometimes fish). Some vegetarians do consume dairy and eggs. There are many types of diets under this category, each one focusing on eliminating certain things.
Types of vegetarians
- Pescatarian: this is someone who eats fish but not other meats.
- Lacto-vegetarian: this is someone who eats dairy and eggs but no meat.
- Ovo-vegetarian: this is someone who eats eggs but no dairy or meat.
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: this is someone who eats dairy but no eggs or meat.
Are vegans healthier than vegetarians
When it comes to overall health, we need to look at the entire person. Health is more than physical, it also includes your mental well being.
If the way you choose to eat stresses you out, it may not be the most healthy choice. Eventually that added stress will take a toll on your physical body.
Mental Health and Diet
There are so many factors that go into eating a certain way. The first thing you need to think about, is your why. The reason you choose to eat a specific diet.
There is also a lot of pressure from the outside world, both your family and friends but also the online space. I experienced this myself when we first changed our diet. People can be judgmental and impose their own values on you.
The bottom line is that you don't have to be perfect to make a change or impact on the world. Eating some plants is one step forward toward a healthier and better world.
You have to take care of yourself mentally in order to make impact in the world. If we aren't taking care of ourselves then we cannot be there for others.
Traveling and Diet Choice
When it comes to traveling, you need to plan ahead if you want to stick to eating a certain way. Here are some tips to make it easier and more successful:
- Try to plan ahead of time. While most cultures have some options, especially in the Asian countries, it's always good to have a plan.
- Take snacks with you to supplement with. Sometimes you may not get as much food eating out as you want.
- Look ahead of time at the menu if going out.
- Research the grocery stores in the area you are staying in.
- Be okay with a basic meal, while most places can most likely make something, it may not be fancy.
- Always be flexible for mental health purposes, food should not be stressful!