Veganism And Plant-Based Diet. Healthy eating is probably best accomplished through a plant-based diet, which we define as a regime that promotes whole, plant-based foods while discouraging meat, dairy, and eggs, and all refined, processed foods.
A plant-based diet is composed exclusively of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, and it avoids meats, dairy, and eggs. A vegan diet is another form of veganism, in which only plant foods are eaten, and all foods derived from animal sources are avoided (meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, and occasionally honey and gelatine).
To eat more plant foods, one does not necessarily have to adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Many people can begin by going vegan, for ethical or environmental reasons, to avoid animal products in their diet, but later adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet in order to meet their health goals.
We have also heard from vegans who gave up animal products for ethical reasons, but then decided after a while to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet for health.
Many adopt a whole-food, plant-based diet, and, having experienced significant health benefits, they then take an interest in the other reasons to eschew animal products, such as the environmental impacts and ethical issues surrounding factory farming.
Some people might begin with a whole-food, plant-based diet, and then choose to branch out to veganism, aligning their other lifestyle choices, also avoiding animal products in other, non-food areas.
Others may consume processed plant foods, such as meat substitutes, but decide to call themselves eating a plant-based diet since they are not adhering to veganisms definition of lifestyle.
More importantly, many do not identify themselves as being plant-based or vegan, but are interested in reducing animal intake and trying foods popular in the plant-based or vegan diets.
Understanding the specific effects of a vegan diet on health remains challenging, as studies on this eating pattern are typically lumped in together with vegetarian or plant-based diets, which can both contain animal products.
Vegan and vegetarian diets seem to be one of the most popular dietary trends, but there is evidence that some individuals have been eating predominantly plant-based or vegetarian diets for centuries.
People eating a pegan diet primarily eat plant foods, with only a small amount of animal products, grains, and beans.
Vegetarians People who eat a vegetarian diet eliminate meat, fish, and animal-derived ingredients like gelatin, but they still consume eggs, dairy products, and honey.
Vegan diets include fruits, vegetables, soy, legumes, nuts, and nut butters, plant-based dairy alternatives, sprouted or fermented plant foods, and whole grains. People following mostly plant-based diets can still choose to consume a smaller portion of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and dairy products (also known as semi-vegetarian, flexitarian, or pescatarian).
Choosing meals that are focused on plants goes a long way toward supporting overall health, both in the present and in the future, regardless if you are following a strictly vegetarian or slightly more relaxed plan.