Difference Between Vegetarian & Plant-Based Diet
Most people assume that following a plant-based diet automatically makes you a vegetarian. This is not true. Let’s discuss the difference;
What is a Vegetarian Diet?
A vegetarian in the simplest of terms is a person that doesn’t eat any poultry, fish, or meat. People choose to become vegetarians for a number of reasons – cultural, ethical, or religious reasons. A person might harbor concerns over the welfare of animals or feel that the killing of animals for food is unnecessary. Another person might do so due to the fact that they were raised in a religion or culture that considers animals as holy or sacred.
There exist different types of vegetarian diets. Most combine animal products – milk, eggs, honey – with plant-based diets. Others forbid all foods with animal products – milk, eggs, and honey. While some types of vegetarian diets allow the eating of fish, others do not.
A vegetarian diet can be healthy; however, it’s worth noting that vegetarian diets allow the eating of refined and processed foods, salty snack foods, and even fast foods. This allows foods made with refined sugar or white flour, including bread, white rice, snack foods like potato chips and cookies, and sugary beverages. In essence, although a vegetarian diet can be healthy, the goal is not necessarily health-based but rather it is eating meat-less foods with no animal products.
You are not eating healthy if you exclude meat from your diet but live on canned vegetables, refined grains, canned soups, salty snacks, and fruit juices, even though you are not eating any meat.
Does this make a vegetarian diet unhealthy? Not at all. A vegetarian diet is as healthy as you make it. You can decide to plan your meals carefully, taking care to exclude all unhealthy meals, and ensuring you are getting enough of the important nutrients.
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
In a plant-based diet, a person eats mainly fresh fruits, whole grains, legumes (peas, beans, etc.), unsalted nuts, vegetables, and healthy oils (olive oil, etc.).
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You also avoid processed foods (most canned soups and foods), refined grains, snack-foods (cookies, potato chips), and sugar-sweetened beverages. Although poultry, meat, fish, and other animal products are allowed, they are restricted to little portions and are eaten less often. Most people who choose to follow a plant-based diet do so mainly for health reasons rather than other reasons – ethical, religious, or cultural. The health benefits of plant-based diets are numerous, especially for heart health.
BENEFITS OF PLANT-BASED DIET
There have been numerous studies that have proved the power of a plant-based diet. Not just on your immediate health, but long-term health and in the prevention of chronic disease. However, as these researches get more and more in-depth, it’s been discovered that eating a plant-based diet goes beyond your physical health and well-being. Eating a plant-based also is beneficial for the environment, animal welfare, water scarcity, world hunger, and more!
The benefits of going on a plant-based diet are numerous and are listed below, check them out and go plant-powered by starting a diet this week. Remember, when you fill your plate with the good plant stuff, there exists less room for acidic animal foods that will leave you tired and sluggish.
Improve Your Digestion
A lot has been said about gut health recently. There exist some foods for gut health and amazing gut-friendly recipes, however, the summary of it all plants. For good digestion, we need fiber, and plants are naturally full of fiber. Fiber adds bulk to your stool, while also regulating things and helping everything eliminate smoothly.
Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Disease
It isn’t that plant-based diet necessarily reverse disease, it is that research has proved that the Standard American Meat Diet promotes disease. People who are on diets full of processed foods, meat, and dairy are at an increased risk for chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Plant-based diets have been shown to have the opposite effect. People who eat a plant-based diet have reportedly low cases of some of the common chronic diseases – diabetes, some types of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc. So if the chronic disease runs in your family or you are just concerned about them, it is definitely a good and living saving idea to switch to a plant-based diet!
Naturally Boost Your Energy
Plants have really high in minerals and vitamins which are amazing for energy! They are rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants, and most times proteins and healthy fats, all of which are really great for your mood and brain. Plants are also easier to digest, thus provides our bodies with fast extra energy to expend. Plant-based foods are amazing for athletes and performance, which is why the number of professional athletes adopting a plant-based diet keeps rising daily. Consider going the air fryer route and enjoy the full benefits of the plant-based diet.
Get Healthy Hair, Skin & Nails
Our bodies are a reflection of what we put into them and because plants are so full of minerals and vitamins, they are particularly amazing for your hair and skin. Dairy, meat, and processed foods have all been shown to cause inflammation in our body, and most times, these inflammation are reflected on our skin. There is no guarantee that your skin would miraculously clear up the minute you start your plant-based diet, it would take some time. Be patient.
Lose Weight Effortlessly
Ever wonder why people recommend that you eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to lose weight although it’s been proved that they are more nutrient-dense than processed foods? Plant-based foods have a lower calorie to volume ratio. Simply put, if you eat the same volume of food (say one pound) and compare how much space it takes up in your stomach, plants would take up significantly less room. This means you will fill up more quickly eating plant-based diets while consuming fewer calories.
Lower Blood Pressure
A lot of the people living a plant-based diet have reported lower blood pressure. This is due to a high intake of potassium-rich diets. Potassium lowers blood pressure level that would otherwise lead to anxiety and stress. Almost all seeds, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits, and nuts contain a high quantity of Vitamin B6, and potassium helps lower blood pressure). Meat and most animal foods contain little potassium and most actually raise blood pressure and cholesterol.
Talking about cholesterol, one of the major benefits you will receive from embracing a plant-based diet is lowered cholesterols. Most people do not know that plants DOES NOT contain cholesterol, even saturated sources like cacao and coconut.
Better Blood Sugar
Eating fiber is the number one way to fight high blood. It has been proven to slow down the body’s absorption of sugars in its bloodstream thus regulating your hunger level, additionally; it balances your cortisol levels that cause stress. Meat and other animal-based foods have been shown to raise blood sugar.
Lower Rates of Cancer
A whole-food plant-based, low-fat diet is the best way to improve your chances of avoiding cancer (while staying away from smoking and alcohol). Animal foods have been linked to an increased chance of cancer, especially breast and colon cancer.
Support the Environment & Our Planet
Eating a plant-based diet is one of the best things anybody can do for planet Earth. Animal agriculture causes more greenhouse gas emissions than the transportation sector in its entirety. It is also responsible for about 90% of the Amazons deforestation as well as it being a big drain on our water supplies.
Eating a plant-based diet, every day saves one animal, 10 pounds of CO2 emissions, and 1,100 gallons of water and 30 square feet of forest. In a single day!!
And of course, save the animals.
Make Sure Your Plant-Based Meals are Healthy
- A plant-based diet can be healthy or not depending on your ability to avoid major diet pitfalls, like fat and sugar.
- Use healthy cooking methods knowing just how to make get the most out of your vegetables.
- Don’t deep-fry your vegetables. Avoid highly processed foods like cookies and crackers.
- Pick whole grains and ensure you limit sugary desserts. Go for 100% whole wheat bread and pasta, and eat brown rice.