Plant based diet… The term has been floating around for some time, but most people don’t fully understand what it is. Some people avoid it completely, and some people claim to be plant based unknowing of what it really means.
Plant Based Eating
Plant based eating is exactly what it sounds like… It is following a diet comprised of plants.
Many people equate “plant based eating” with “vegan,” but this isn’t necessarily true.
I want to take a moment to clear the air about plant based diets and talk about what it isn’t, what it is, and how you can make small changes to follow a more healthful diet and transition to plant based eating.
Plant Based vs. Vegan
Okay… so let’s address the elephant in the room. Most people think that “plant based” and “vegan” are interchangeable terms… Let’s break this down…
Think about the term “plant based” for just a moment… When you don’t take any other definitions into account, the word sounds like the meaning would be a diet that is based in plants.
Plant Based Diet: A diet that is based in plants (i.e., the majority of the food consumed is plants)
A diet based in plants really just means that the BASE of your diet is PLANTS. That doesn’t include processed foods, and it doesn’t necessary exclude animal products.
The term vegan was coined in 1944, and today we know that a vegan diet is one in which a person does not consume ANY animal products. This lifestyle choice often bleeds into other areas of a vegan’s life ~ but here, we are speaking STRICTLY of diet. So, a vegan is one who chooses to consume ZERO animal products.
Vegan Diet: A diet that excludes ALL animal products including meat, dairy, eggs, honey, or any other foodstuffs originating from an animal, containing animal product ingredients, or having anything to do with animals during processing
So now that we have cleared up the two definitions, let’s take this a little deeper…
Not All Vegans are Plant Based
We know from the definition above that a plant based diet is a diet that is based in plants. You can also say that a person who follows a plant based diet is one who consumes MAJORITY PLANTS.
Plant foods are whole foods in their natural form that come from nature. The reason that most vegans are not plant based is because they are simply avoiding animal products, not choosing plants.
Vegan alternatives like tofu, tempeh, non-dairy cheese, Oreos, and other vegan foods are all processed. They are far from their natural plant state, if they contain any plants at all. Many vegan foods are free of animal products, but that doesn’t mean they are made with plants. Most processed foods (far from their natural roots) contain more chemicals, additives, and preservatives than real foods these days; so just because you are following a “vegan” diet, doesn’t mean you are plant based.
Not All Plant Based Eaters are Vegan
Yep, that’s right! The term plant based doesn’t mean that you don’t consume meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc. It just means that you’re eating MOSTLY plants!
There is no exact science for the term, but I generally consider someone plant based if they are consuming between 90-100% of their calories from plant foods.
Again, plant foods do not include processed foods, meat, dairy, eggs, honey, or any foods that contain chemicals, additives, preservatives, fillers, or animal products.
Lots of plant based eaters are a variation of vegetarian or a flexitarian (you may also know this term as reducetarian)!
Vegetarian: One who consumes NO meat; some variations consume eggs and dairy; vegans fall under the vegetarian category
Flexitarian: One who consumes LITTLE TO NO meat on a REGULAR BASIS; again, there is no exact science, but I generally consider someone a flexitarian when they consume animal products 2-4 times per month or less in proper ratio (you can find these ratios in Fueled by Flora: The Complete Program!)
So, just because you’re a plant based eater doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a vegan. BUT! Being a vegan doesn’t mean you’re a plant based eater, either…
What is the BEST Diet?
This is a question I get asked OFTEN, and my answer is simple…
A diet based in whole fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains ~ all of these unrefined and unprocessed ~ is the BEST diet you can possibly follow. YES! I recommend a plant based diet to EVERYONE!
All of science agrees that eating plant foods is what your body loves MOST.
The majority of cancer is caused by eating processed foods, refined grains and sugars, and ANIMAL PRODUCTS. In fact, some doctors even argue that NO cancer is hereditary, and ALL cancer is caused by an outside source ~ that outside source usually has more to do with the foods you eat than anything else you are exposed to.
Plant foods have also proven to be HEALING foods in many studies. In fact, some research has shown that plant foods have reversed cancer and disease in some people. Other studies show that the proteins found in animal products actually amplify existing ailments in the body resulting in sickness, illness, disease, and CANCER.
Now, notice in all of that that I never once said that “vegan” was the best diet? Because it isn’t.
Vegan just means avoiding those cancer causing proteins… But many vegans never consider what the chemicals, preservatives, additives, and fillers in their foods do to their bodies… Many of these ingredients also cause cancer and disease, they just do so over long periods of time.
Many FDA approved ingredients have proven numerous times to be harmful for the biological systems of many species, and some are even BLACKLISTED… But the food companies continue to put these ingredients into our foods making us sick and sometimes even docile. Don’t be fooled… Just because the FDA approves, doesn’t mean your body approves…
Plant Based Living is the FIRST Step to Thriving
My philosophy is that life is no longer about just surviving… It’s about thriving.
Thriving isn’t just moving through life, following the motions, or just living… It’s experiencing your life. It’s having confidence in your ability and your stamina. It’s being able to say, “Yes! I can do that!” “I can complete this hike! I can bike this trail! I can swim across this pool! I can go rock climbing!”
It’s the ability to experience this life the way you were intended to experience it… Not through a sick and frail body, but through a strong, healthy, and vibrant body!
The Best Time to Get Started is NOW!
You health isn’t handed to you… You create it. No matter where you are right now, you have the power to improve your life experience, prevent disease and cancer, lose weight, get fit, and transform every aspect of your life. Life is about living well on ALL levels, and it all starts with your decision to improve your health and wellness… It all starts with your decision to THRIVE.
Start incorporating more whole plant foods into every meal, and pretty soon you’ll transform your diet! Start packing your own lunches. Start cooking your own meals. (Learn more about cooking here!) Make the decision right now, TODAY to go plant based.
If you want to learn more about the science behind going plant based, what the proper ratios of a healthy diet are, how to transform your entire lifestyle, and a step-by-step guide on how to get there, check out my new program, Fueled by Flora!
I spent years struggling, learning, and transitioning to a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise (and learning to LOVE both along the way!). I was told over and over that this information was invaluable to others who wanted to learn how to make a transformation like I did – so I designed this program to help you achieve my same results in a FRACTION of the time!
You get all of my knowledge AND you get to bypass the trial and error stages of lifestyle transformation such as:
- What do I eat?
- How do I decrease or eliminate animal products from my diet?
- I hate exercise… How can I learn to love something I hate?
- Once I’ve lost weight and/or made my transformation, how can I maintain it?
- What about my family? They aren’t ready to transition/they aren’t willing to transition/I have picky eating children… What do I do?
- What kinds of meals can I make that satisfy my and my loved ones’ hunger and cravings?
The Fueled by Flora program answers ALL of those questions and MORE! It is a holistic program that walks you through everything you could ever want to know including the science, the steps to transformation, recipes, and guides to ensure your success with your own personal goals!
If you’re interested, be sure to check out the program! If you’re not quite ready to purchase yet, it’s okay! I’ve got lots of free information, recipes, tips, tricks, and more on the way to help you start your very own lifestyle transition!
Need a little help with your transition?
It’s okay! Many people do!
That’s why I created the Fueled by Flora program!