We all know about the power of plants, right? There’s plenty of research to prove that those of us already consuming a mostly plant-based diet are likely to enjoy lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels as well as activity contributing to a better global environment. However, when it comes to the question of dedicating yourself solely to a plant-based diet and understanding what the difference really is between going vegetarian or vegan, how many of us are totally clear?
Let’s start by looking at what a vegetarian diet is.
This is an excellent initial segway to switch to a diet more abundant in plants and vegetables and can be easier to follow for newbies. Traditionally vegetarians eschew meat sources and items made from animal parts but will still eat eggs and dairy, a by-product from animals. Some might even include some fish in their diet, making them what’s known as a pescatarian.
How does vegetarianism differ then to veganism?
A vegan diet is far more restrictive in that it omits all animal products, so definitely no meat, seafood, eggs or cheese and in many instances, no gelatin-based products or honey either. That doesn’t mean that vegans exist purely on a diet of curly kale! However, cross-contamination is a real issue and devout vegans won’t consider eating any foods that have even come into contact with animal by-products. It certainly involves a level of diligence, commitment and also knowledge too.
At The Jar healthy vending machines in London, we stock the Pollen & Grace range, which has some super tasty plant-based vegan options taking the guesswork and hard work out of planning your work lunch.
What exactly is a plant-based diet?
The short answer is, it very much depends on who you ask! The main criteria of a plant-based diet is that it focuses on clean, whole and unprocessed foods and is far more flexible than you might think.
If you’re not quite sure which diet is right for you, perhaps it’s best first to ask yourself what your personal health and well-being goals are. If you want to lower your cholesterol, reduce your carbon footprint but the thought of actually having to give up cheese fills you with terror, then try out vegetarianism. If your principle concern is animal welfare as well as tangible health benefits, then you should be considering a vegan-based diet. However, if you like the appeal of a more flexible eating programme and know you should reduce your meat intake but you’re not quite ready to eliminate it completely, plant-based will provide a happy medium.
We recommend that you decide your motivating factor, your personal “why” and take it from there.