Food Is Medicine

Plant-Based VS Vegan – What’s Actually The Difference And Healthiest For You?

Along my health journey, I discovered the power of food to heal. By removing all processed foods and animal products and by placing my focus on eating real whole foods in their natural form again, meant that my migraines massively decreased.

As I continue to adopt this whole foods plant focused way of eating, I often get asked: “Am I vegan then?” I reply yes for convenience and to save further debate, but the truth is that there is a difference, especially for your health.

Definitions

Let’s start with the definition of a vegan diet. Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs and all other animal-derived ingredients and products. Vegans are typically very strict about not consuming animal products.

A whole food plant-based diet is defined as a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products. Plant-based eaters tend to be a little more flexible and may occasionally eat some animal products, but the base of their diet tends to be plants.

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Of course, they are very similar due to the fact both approaches do not focus on animal products, which by elimination leaves a diet focusing on vegetarian options, however, the vegan diet can unfortunately sometimes not always be the healthiest, depending on the choices you make within that scope.

Nowadays as a vegan, there are suddenly so many more vegan choices in our shops and supermarkets, which without a doubt is a great thing. Anything from vegan cheeses to meat alternatives, however, having to make these products delicious to eat can involve using many harmful processed ingredients to make them palatable.

Take the company Beyond Meat for example. Here is a list of ingredients from their meatless grilled chicken strips.

Water, Non-GMO Soy Protein Isolate*, Pea Protein Isolate, Grilled Chicken Flavor† (Yeast Extract, Potato Maltodextrin, Natural Flavoring, Salt, Maltodextrin, Sunflower Oil, Citric Acid), Rice Flour, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil*, Soy Fiber*, Carrot Fiber, Contains 0.5% or less of: Dipotassium Phosphate, Spices, Salt, White Vinegar, Sugar‡, Molasses Powder, Titanium Dioxide (for color), Potassium Chloride, Paprika.

As you can see by the MSG, Sunflower oil, canola oil and the other ingredients you can’t pronounce or have no idea what they are, this is not a healthy alternative to be consumed on a regular basis.

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What I am trying to point out is that those chicken strips are no healthier than a McDonalds chicken burger! The only difference is it doesn’t come from an animal, and as more and more vegan items become available just be aware of the amount of processed vegan alternatives you may consuming in your vegan diet.

On the other hand, you could be vegan and choose clean whole foods to be the staple of your diet. You could be making your own homemade seed milks, vegan cheeses from soaked nuts and veggie burgers made from such ingredients as sweet potato, whole grains and herbs and spices. There is a huge difference.

So what’s healthiest for you? I would always say plant-based, purely for the fact that the focus is on whole foods, minimally processed, that come straight from nature and out of the ground, rather than recreating “food” using a mixture of non-animal origin processed ingredients. And in terms

I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Please feel free to leave them below.

#Vegan #Plant-Based #HealthCoach #MigraineFree #Nutrition 

2 comments

  1. Another great post and really interesting. You are right as these alternatives come in you have question what’s in them and how good they are for you. Think it’s the same with some gluten free alternatives.

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    1. Yes Lisa, you are exactly right. The same problem occurs with gluten free and organic items too. You could have an organic gluten free pizza but to make it that way it has to be made with artificial alternatives that are all processed. Good point made. That might be abother blog article… Thanks for the comment.

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