Plant-Based Vs Vegan. Yes, There Can Be A Difference.

While the terms ‘plant-based’ and ‘vegan’ might be looked at as the same thing, the truth is that they can differ.

Many people will claim “I’m following a plant-based diet” or “I’m vegan.”

And while you can argue both are along the same lines of ‘going green’ there are some slight differences.

Let’s take a look at these differences and find a true definition and meaning of the terms plant-based and vegan.


Plant-Based Is General Term

The literal definition of plant-based is something that originates from plants.

It does not contain any animal products or animal byproducts.

There are plant-based soaps, chemicals, beauty products, lotions, and so much more, all of which are made of plant materials.

What about when it comes to a plant-based diet?

Yes, a plant-based diet is one where someone only consumes food created/made up of plants.

But, when someone says they are plant-based, we instantly make the connection that someone is vegan.

That’s not always the case.

After all, a diet is only a diet, while veganism is about something much bigger.


Vegan/Veganism Is A Lifestyle

If you’re a true vegan, you abstain from all animal products.

It doesn’t just include the food you eat.

A vegan doesn’t purchase, wear, or use, anything that involves an animal in the making or testing of the product.

That means no:

  • Leather shoes
  • Makeup tested on animals
  • Clothes of fur/feathers
  • Plastic bags
  • And much more

Truth is, veganism is a plant-based lifestyle that expands to all areas of life, not just the diet.


Other Differences

Another common issue I’ve seen is that I’ve seen people and articles write others for being plant-based/vegan, which is not always the case.

For example, there are many athletes like Tom Brady, Nate Diaz, and other who mainly consume a plant-based diet (about 80-90%), but still eat very little meat and eggs.

Now they are leaning towards a vegan/plant-based diet, but they are not 100% there yet.

Can you still qualify this as plant-based diet?

According to a lot of the media/people you ask, yes.

In fact when you google plant-based diet, this is the definition that comes up. 

“A plantbased diet is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products.”

But if you were to ask other vegans including myself if even eating a little meat qualifies as being plant-based, I would respond “no they are not plant-based.”

I would just correct that statement and say they lean towards or are consuming a majority plant-based diet.

In the end I would say that someone who is vegan is 100% plant-based while someone who consumes a plant-based diet is not 100% vegan.