If you read my bio, you will already know my response to this question is yes, there is a difference between a plant-based lifestyle and veganism! I’ll explain some of the basic commonalities and differences below, which will provide you with a better understanding of what the two terms entail.
In simple terms, veganism consists of an animal-free lifestyle, where animal cruelty and animal welfare are of primary concern. This includes a diet void of meat and animal by-products (i.e. dairy, eggs, honey, gelatin), but also pertains to avoiding leather, animal-tested cosmetic products, and any other practices that contribute to animal cruelty. On the other hand, a plant-based lifestyle is typically only diet-focused; those following a plant-based diet limit or avoid meat and animal by-products, but may still choose to wear or use products related to animal use. Because a plant-based lifestyle is diet-centric, it also tends to focus on more whole-food, nutritious eating patterns. Although veganism can include a healthy diet as well, health is not always the main driver for veganism, and it is possible to eat a “vegan junk food” diet (those doughnuts up top are from Winnipeg, and vegan!).
However, both ways of life and eating share some common ground. Those who follow a plant-based or vegan lifestyle have typically done so for ethical reasons, environmental sustainability, health motives, or a combination of all three. If you’re unsure about how these three drivers would be related to consuming meat and animal products, I will write a blog post about this soon. In the meantime, there are some great documentaries online and on Netflix such as Forks Over Knives, Hungry for Change, and Vegucated that will explain these relationships.
So there you have it; veganism and plant-based lifestyles are not the same, although they share common moralities. Is one better than the other? Both lifestyles are more health-conscious, environmentally-friendly, and ethical than the standard Western diet; however, if you read this post, you’ll get my full two-cents on this question. If you follow either of these lifestyles or are interested in knowing more, let me know in the comments below, and as always don’t hesitate to contact me! You can find me Instagram and Twitter, or email me directly using the Contact page on the blog.
Talk soon friends!