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Vegan vs Plant Based Diet: What’s The Difference?

by Brinda Goel
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Is there a difference between a vegan diet and a plant-based diet? While both diets have received media attention in recent years due to the health advantages they provide, there are important distinctions between them. In contrast to vegan diets, which forbid all animal foods and products, plant-based diets encourage the consumption of plant foods rather than animals.

What Is A Vegan Diet?

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Christine Kirlew, M.D., an internal medicine specialist at Piedmont, explains, “With a vegan diet, you eliminate all animal products, including dairy, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and honey.”

Vegan basically means a complete vegetarian diet. For moral, ecological, or medical reasons, some people opt for a vegan diet. There are some potential health benefits to turning vegan, but there are also some potential risks.

She argues that “vegan-ness” is not always a proxy for health. Even if you’re vegan, you can still eat high-calorie, low-nutrient foods like cookies, potato chips, and other forms of vegan junk food. If you can help it, eat mostly whole foods.

You can also check out these 5 Minute Vegan Recipes to add to your diet.

What Is A Plant-Based Diet?

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Dr. Kirlew recommends a plant-based diet because it gives people more freedom to choose what they eat and places more emphasis on plant-based foods. It may also help you to lose weight. Here is a Plant Based Recipe Cookbook that you can refer to for amazing recipes also.

Whole foods are highly valued on vegetarian diets or plant-based diets, with the term referring to foods that have been minimally or not at all processed.

Healthy Plant Foods:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Quinoa, farro, barley, and oatmeal are all whole grains.
  • Oils derived from plants (avocado, olive, canola, etc.)
  • Seeds and nuts

What Kind Of Diet Might Work Best For You?

Dr. Kirlew recommends that everyone eat at least half their calories from veggies every day. “Fruit is good for you, but I prefer to eat vegetables because they contain less sugar.”

When planning your meal, prioritize:

  • Half of it is produce
  • 75% of the grain was entire
  • Reduced fat protein 25%

She recommends beans and quinoa as alternatives to meat and other animal proteins like eggs. “And if you want to have meat occasionally, stick to lean meat, fish, or poultry.”

Healthy fats, like the avocado oil used to roast vegetables, the slivered almonds sprinkled over porridge, or the avocado slices on a salad, will keep you fuller for longer. The health advantages of good fats are many.

When To Consult Your Physician About Your Eating Habits?

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If you have an underlying health condition or have undergone weight reduction surgery, both of which can alter how your body processes nutrition, Dr. Kirlew recommends consulting your primary care physician to acquire a basic foundation for what a balanced diet should look like for you. “If you have diabetes and are trying to eat healthily, fruit might not be the best choice for you,” the author writes.

She also says that those who don’t eat much animal products (vegans, vegetarians, etc.) should get their B vitamin levels checked.

She notes that vegans often lack B12 since it is concentrated in animal products. Consult your physician about taking a supplement if your diet is low in animal products.

You may struggle to acquire enough calcium if you don’t eat dairy products. Dr. Kirlew suggests trying almond milk or any plant-based milk that has been fortified with calcium.

She recommends taking a supplement if you aren’t eating enough calcium-rich foods (at least three servings daily). Too much calcium from supplements might have negative consequences, so acquiring what you need through food is best.

Is A Vegan Or Plant-Based Diet Healthy?

Plant-based foods are abundant in many nutrients, so if you consume a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains, you should still obtain a large part of your daily requirements. In all, it is a healthy diet that can surely do wonders for your health.

“If you’re going to follow a vegan or plant-based diet, think through it carefully and plan out your meals,” advises Dr. Kirlew. Plant-based diets are a wonderful alternative for folks who have trouble sticking to a routine and organizing their meals. Plan ahead and stick to a vegan diet that includes plenty of plant-based protein to ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs.

Piedmont Physicians Buckhead is where you may find Dr. Kirlew. The address is 35 Collier Road NW, Suite 775, Atlanta, GA 30309. You may make an online appointment with Dr. Kirlew or any other family doctor. If you’re looking to save time, just make your reservations online.

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