There’s a lot of misinformation out there about eating a plant-based diet vs being vegan. So often, on social media, I see celebrities talking about being “vegan” — when in reality, they’re choosing to eat plant-based (which is great), but aren’t necessarily living a vegan lifestyle. There are lots of people who unintentionally think that being vegan is only about not eating animal products. And that’s just not true. It’s certainly a part of it, but there’s a difference between simply eating plant-based and actually being vegan. What’s the difference, then?
A plant-based, whole-foods diet is one that consists of eating plant-based foods in their whole form — like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc. — and no processed foods. Eating plant-based has many known health benefits and many celebrities are known to follow a plant-based diet — like J.Lo and Beyonce; however, people who eat a plant-based diet may still wear leather, fur, etc. or buy non-vegan products. The only focus is eating plant-based foods.
In contrast, being vegan goes further than that. Being vegan is different than just eating a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet is, of course, a huge part of being vegan. Vegans don’t eat anything from an animal or made from an animal (like meat, eggs, milk, honey, gelatine, etc.); but on top of that, vegans also don’t buy products that contain animal ingredients or products that are tested on animals, don’t wear fur, leather, wool, down, or anything else from an animal, don’t participate in animal “entertainment”, and don’t exploit animals in any way. Being vegan is more than just a diet…it’s a lifestyle and belief. And that belief is that animals are not our property to use, abuse, and exploit for our own benefit.
Many people who eat a plant-based diet consider themselves vegan, but, as you can see, there’s a difference. Eating a plant-based diet definitely helps animals, but being vegan is more than just what we eat. It’s not about health, weight loss, dieting, etc. — it’s about choosing compassion for all life and choosing to not participate in the everyday exploitation and commodity status of animals.