Vegan Diet vs. Plant-Based

You hear it all the time, people living the ‘vegan lifestyle’ others, ‘eating plant-based’ and you may have been wondering.. “but I thought they were the same thing?” Well I’m here to tell you – you should know better, after all we live in a world where there are over 100 ‘diet labels’. The most common are: vegetarian, vegan, keto, pescatarian etc.

However, I’m going to talk specifically about the difference between ‘vegan’ and ‘plant-based’.

The term “vegan” was created in 1944 by Donald Watson — an English animal rights advocate and founder of The Vegan Society — to describe a person who avoids using animals for ethical reasons. Veganism refers to the practice of being vegan.

While the two diets vary from each other, it’s also the lifestyle which primarily seperates them.

‘Veganism’ is considered more than just a diet, but rather an ethical lifestyle. Commonly, when you follow the vegan lifestyle you would refrain from using and eating anything that involved an animal (being tested, slaughtered or exploited). Veganism stands by of a moral code of how they live and when choosing things they purchase/ support.

This can include:

  • All meat
  • Dairy
  • Products tested on animals (makeup, cleaning products, all toiletries, skincare, and a ton more)
  • Eggs
  • Gelatin (lollies, products you may not be aware of have this)
  • Betting on races (horses & greyhounds)

In regards to the diet differences – ‘plant-based’ follow more of a wholefoods style of eating. Avoiding processed foods, and opting for real wholefoods (veggies, fruit, organic) they may even avoid eating foods with oils, salt and sugar. Evidently, their diets consist primarily of plants and food direct from the earth. Get it now?

However, being ‘plant-based’ doesn’t necessarily mean that you are meat-free. It just implies that plants make up a majority of the diet. This really depends on the individual.


On the other hand, vegans most definitely exclude meat entirely from their diets. Plus, you probably know that there is ALOT of vegan food that is in fact heavily processed and not refined sugar free (some fake meats, and other treats), but these products aren’t discriminated on by vegans. This is another huge difference between the two!

It is possible to be both!

Frequently you’ll find vegans that are also plant based, those who are both very motivated by their health and moral beliefs. Perhaps they first became vegan because of the planet and the suffering of animals – which they didn’t agree with, OR perhaps it was the other way around. Someone who became dedicated to improving their health through following a plant based diet, who then learned about the Veganism lifestyle and has then consequentially made those changes!

Now, when people ask you “what is the difference between Plant-Based and being Vegan?” you can confidently tell them! Or, now confidently label yourself in the correct way. Although, who cares for labels anyway!