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Vegan diets vs. vegetarian vs. plant-based diet.

Vegan diet is all rage recently. Then there are the plant-based diet, and the long standing vegetarian. What are they? Are they the same?

Let's start with some definition:

A vegan diet is an eating style that excludes all animal products. Animal products are the obvious meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, and the not so obvious honey, some form of natural colour (e.g. red colour comes from a beetle). Follow of a vegan diet often do so for ethical reason so their lifestyle choices are also 'vegan'. As a result, the use of animal product in clothing, cosmetic and personal care products are rejected. So say bye bye to those leather shoes.

A vegetarian diet, on the other hand, excludes meat, poultry, and fish but typically include eggs and dairy products. include other animal products such as dairy and eggs. Lacto-vegetarian includes dairy products, and ovo-vegetarian includes eggs in their diet.

A plant-based diet focuses on whole, minimally processed plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. As the name suggested, it is plant-based, so followers may include some animal food on occasions but their diet is still primarily plant foods. Sometimes 'flexitarian' is another term people may use. There is no set 'frequency' of how much animal product could be included. However it is based on the premise that the diet is predominately centred around plant based foods.

Now that food science can pull a food ingredient apart (think soy protein isolate or pea protein in some powder powder), it poses an interesting point that food products derived from plant but could still be high processed. Think of a product make of some form of protein powder, vegetable oil(s) and some sort of starch (again high processed). From a nutritional point of view, how is this compared to say a piece of steak or a block of tofu? Well that's another blog post.

Ultimately, what we choose to eat is a very personal question. I hope this short blog help to clarify some of the questions you may have about these three eating patterns.


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