Recently I blogged about the different terms people are coming up with to describe a diet that excludes animal products. I was wondering about the differences between being ‘vegan’ and ‘eating a plant based diet’.
I thought that the plant based diet description had the advantage that it could come in degrees. You can eat a mostly plant based diet but it sounds odd, to my ear, though I do say it, that you eat a mostly vegan diet. I thought the plant based diet might also lack the vegan concern for animal welfare and focus more on human health. As Vegan Soapbox notes, plant strong folks can wear leather and engage in other practices that harm animals. It’s all about human health and what you eat.
But now just after posting, I’ve noticed a third difference. Vegans can eat junk food consistently and still follow a vegan diet. Oreos, pop tarts and Doritos are all vegan foods. Vegans for ethical reasons might not care about their own health. No animals were harmed during the making of these scary foods. They contain long lists of nasty sounding chemicals but no animal products.
But they’re not plant strong. This is the sense in which plant strong is more demanding. Thinking about it this way, there’s plant strong, on the one hand, and merely vegan, on the other. For a great discussion of this, from the plant strong perspective, read When Vegan Is Not Enough!
As a friend once said, I’m a vegan, not a health food nut, but the thought of vegan junk food rarely occurs to me since the thought of junk food rarely occurs to me. I don’t eat fast food and foods like pop tarts don’t hold any appeal. I haven’t spent time with junk food vegetarians since grad school when for some of my classmates becoming a vegetarian just really affected what went on the pizza.