What is the difference between a vegan diet and a whole food plant-based (wfpb) diet?
Without a doubt the term “vegan” has been on the rise and is becoming more at the forefront of mainstream media. And with more people turning to a vegan lifestyle to not only transform their health, but to better serve and save our planet and its inhabitants. But within this mix, you may hear the term “plant-based” or “whole food plant based.” What do they mean exactly? Are they the same? It might seem confusing to someone on the outside or to anyone who is looking to become vegan or plant-based.
So, are they the same? Not exactly.
Let me explain.
In terms of diet alone, vegans eliminate all animal based foods. No meat of any kind, seafood, dairy, eggs or honey. While eating vegan is in fact the healthier option to animal product - because of the risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes etc. - it still is open to all other vegan processed foods. Like vegan meats, cheeses, cakes, cookies, pizzas and beverages. Yes, Oreos are vegan by default, but living off of Oreos is not ideal. If you are not careful and you are in the process of adopting a vegan diet, you can become that vegan junk food junkie. These foods can be highly processed, high in sugar, sodium, oils, calories and fats and can be quite expensive as they add up at the register. Still, fake meats and cheeses are healthier than the alternative, but these foods should be avoided and at the very least consumed with caution. Although the vegan market has great alternatives available due to the demand, these do make fine “transition” foods. But again, heed with caution, and try to rely more on creating your own dishes when possible.
What is vegan whole food plant-based?
With that said, let’s take a closer look at what a vegan wfpb diet is.
A whole food, plant-based diet (wfpb) is a vegan diet where it avoids all animal product, but also encompasses adding in the nutrient dense foods. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and spices. Eating to satiety without counting calories. Still allowing plant based minimally processed foods like whole grain breads, pastas, cereals, and milks - but keeping those to a minimum along with higher fat foods - although considered “good” for you food like avocados, nuts and seeds. A vegan wfpb lifestyle also recommends avoiding that highly processed vegan junk food like meat substitutes, white bread and refined flours and sugars. And yes, all oils. This means all added oils in cooking, dressings, and added oils in processed foods. It is a lifestyle of fueling your body for optimal health by choosing to feed it with nutrient dense foods and leaving out the harmful and nutrient deficient. It's eliminating the animal based product, and focusing on the abundant of healthful foods available and incorporating them daily.
Where to go from here?
Now that you know the differences and similarities between these two terms, for the sake of this website, and my purpose here at Vegan Fun and Easy - it is my goal to bring awareness to this vegan lifestyle but to steer you closer to the vegan WFPB lifestyle while embracing the vegan world in terms of helping the animals and our planet.
It is worth mentioning that the recipes that I have to share here will be based on vegan whole food plant-based as much as possible. While added oils are not going to be incorporated - there may be that slight occasion, like in my waffles - but it won’t be on the regular or the norm. I am not here to be an advocate for an unhealthy way of eating for the sake of being vegan, so I won’t be posting recipes and ideas using overly processed or refined foods. But I am realistic in knowing that change takes time. I do encourage you to go at your own pace and start by eliminating animal foods from your plate, even if that means just one day a week. Starting sometimes can be the hardest part, but I encourage you to do so.
I know that you are visiting this website because you have your reasons, and I want to help you. Getting your taste buds accustomed to new foods might be a little challenging. But with persistence in learning new ways to cooking, creating your own meals with real whole foods, and getting creative with different spices and seasonings, it will transform your life.