Vegan vs. Plant-Based

{ Debate } Vegan vs. Plant-Based?



image d'ann tenant les panneaux végane et végétarien

Among the many questions that swim in the depths of your psyche, like:

One of them may also be:

  • What in the heck is the difference between vegan and plant-based?

So today we answer your questions (well… one of them, anyway.)


Vegan vs. Plant-Based

In a nutshell…

Vegan: A lifestyle that uses no animal products, whether to eat, wear, or use. The term also has a political/ethical connotation.

Plant-based: Diets that are composed primarily of plants, e.g. fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans.

Meaning: People who call themselves “plant-based” could eat a vegan diet but carry a leather handbag, and people who call themselves “vegan,” could eat very few plants.

But before we dig a little deeper, let’s call a spade a spade, and a label a label.



We can all agree that labels are one of the banes of existence.

That being said, lately I’ve been feeling compelled to clarify this often posed question, and the labels associated with it, once and for all.

Here’s the thing… as soon as you start throwing the word “vegan” around, some strange creatures start poppin’ outta the woodwork.


Junk Vegans

You may know one.

If you have ever uttered the phrase, “OMG, Oreos are vegan?!” you may be one.

Yeah, Oreos are vegan. (So’s my shoe. Doesn’t mean I’m going to eat it.)

So if you’re only vegan for the animals, you might eat chemical-cocktail-cookies (which, according to this article, have been found to be as addictive as cocaine), and/or subsist only on pasta with marinara sauce and tofu cheese, with a side of tofu, and then eat tofu ice cream.

The difference here: a plant-based diet’s primary focus is eating plants — i.e. eating healthily, not just avoiding animal products, whereas the latter is the basis for a vegan diet.

See, one of the missing elements of junk vegans is the concept of being kind to yourself. So though I’m thrilled that junk vegans are saving the lives of other sentient beings, at the end of the day, it’s important to save yourself, too, by eating whole, healthy foods. After all, vegan junk food is still… junk.


Vegan Police

Another thing to be aware of with the labels, is that if you do choose to call yourself a “vegan” it may subject you to the scrutiny of the “vegan police.” This is a self-appointed group of self-righteous and gnarly trolls with nothing better to do than to critique and insult other vegans or vegetarians for not being “perfect.”

I liken it to hypocritical, tribe-eating cannibals — like those praying mantises who eat their mates.

There’s a reason that Alicia Silverstone has called the vegan lifestyle the “kind life” since the beginning of her plant-y empire. Moreover, nowhere in the (fictitious) vegan manual does it say “Thou shalt not eat animals and harass those who do.” Because, really, if you’re a so-called “vegan,” isn’t the whole idea behind your lifestyle/choices driven by a desire to be kind? Or does your kindness extend only to the animals? (Weird.)

A word to the Vegan Police: I’m glad that you’re not eating/using animals, but quit being bullies. It doesn’t serve the cause.


The “Perfect Vegan”

So wait — let’s just clarify that there is no such thing as a perfect vegan.

E.g. If you live in northern Norway — is it really possible (or a good idea) to be a raw vegan in the winter? Or, if you’re traveling through the remote mountains of Mongolia on a the back of a Bactrian camel, good luck being a “perfect vegan.”

Because, really, if you’re obsessed with achieving some sort of flawless veganship, your lifestyle could become a stringent, dogmatic religion. Either that or an overly-confining cage. And suddenly this diet/lifestyle that’s supposed to promote well-being and kindness, becomes, instead, a complete thief of joy as all obsessions do.

Not very healthy, if you ask me.


So is Veggie Magnifique Vegan or Plant-Based?

So what are Chloe and I? We do use both, because for all intents and purposes we are plant-based vegans. But if push comes to shove, we’re “plant-based” because we don’t want to be associated with the holier-than-thou folks. We aren’t elitist and self-righteous. We’re life-loving, fun-loving, and food-loving.

And, besides, “going vegan” is certainly a work-in-progress.

For example, in our quest for eco, coherent, and minimalistic living, day by day, we shed more and more products that aren’t aligned with our ethics, but it’s a process. So do I still have a few pairs of un-vegan shoes? Yes. Are all the new ones I buy vegan? Yes. Bit by bit, I’m cleaning out the old, and replacing with vegan/more sustainable products. It feels wonderful, though especially due to its organic pace.

Because, again, if you just chuck everything in your house that’s not vegan (even if you’re using it), is that really a sustainable and green move? And what about the homeless people on the street who don’t have the luxury to choose to be vegan, and who would be thrilled with shoes made out of anything? It’s important to be mindful of wastefulness as well.

You picking up what I’m puttin’ down here?

All this to say…

Know this, readers: Whether you are vegan, veggie, plant-based, flexitarian, or just seeking to healthify your life and lifestyle, you are welcome here. You are welcome here because even just by being interested in our content it means that you care.

And when you care, and when you love animals, the planet, and yourself, magical things happen.

So forget the labels — be you, and be the love.

P.S. How are you guys doing on the 30-Day Minimalism Game? Are you playing with us? Chloe and I are feeling so light we’re about to start levitating. Ha!

{Merci to PH7 for letting me pose with the “wallflowers.” 😉 }

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21 September, 2016 | facebook | tweet | pin

3 thoughts on “Vegan vs. Plant-Based?

  1. Celia says:

    Hear hear! You girls are a great advert for all-round kindness and healthiness 🙂

    1. Ann says:

      Thanks so much, Celia! 🙂 We’re doing our best! 🙂 <3

  2. Liz Strand says:


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