NOPE. These descriptive words may indicate the same point of view yet, “plant-based” and “vegan” do not have the same meaning. This is a frequent topic of conversation I have with people trying to improve the quality of their food choices. If you are interested in eating more veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, and anything else grown from the earth, I would describe that as moving towards a plant-based diet and I support anyone making this effort.
The Western Diet would rather we all forget how to grow a garden in place for packed and processed foods despite research on chronic disease. The further we get away from eating whole foods the more deficient in vital preventative nutrients we become. There isn’t a right or wrong to adding nutrient-rich, plant-based foods and it takes time to change our addictive habits with processed foods.
Vegan is much more than a choice about food and describes a lifestyle that avoids all animal products including, cosmetics, leather, wool, down, and most definitely fur. Vegan is a lifestyle deeply rooted in values and personal beliefs that may have cultivated from a specific moment that struck a moral cord. Every vegan remembers their defining moment. This is where the passion to promote a vegan lifestyle comes from.
An interest in exploring our food system and animal agriculture often brings about a transition away from eating meat for many people. A vegan person may have had a personal experience that was traumatic such as, exposure to a meat packing facility, assisting in animal rescue, or visiting a farm animal sanctuary. Living vegan can feel like a spiritual choice by environmentalists who are passionate about the future of the planet. Others may be especially sensitive to the treatment all animals, not just domestic, and see no difference between the animal on a menu and their pets. Vegan can be an enlightenment to a better way of life to those who feel as if the path chose them as much as they chose to follow it.
If you are not vegan or trying to understand it better my advice would be to explore why this choice is becoming so popular. It’s easy to understand why someone would want to eat more veggies, fruit, whole grains, and beans, but become curious as to why someone would choose to avoid ALL animal products and you’ll discover a world of answers that may be new to you.