Too Many Labels!!!

When you hear the term “Plant-Based” you may think that it means that following those guidelines would exclude all meat or animal products.

This is not necessarily true. 

Someone who is following a plant-based style of eating could be Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian or Flexitarian!  

The differences in the diets are –

  • VEGAN is entirely plant-based. It excludes any animal products.

  • VEGETARIAN (sometimes referred to as Lacto-Ovo vegetarian) is also plant-based and includes some eggs and dairy foods, but no meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.

  • PESCATARIAN includes eggs, dairy foods, fish, and seafood, but no meat or poultry.

  • FLEXITARIAN is a vegetarian diet that sometimes includes eggs, dairy foods, and occasionally meat, poultry, fish, and seafood.

When you’re Plant-Based, even if you’re Pescatarian or Flexitarian, MOST of your food comes PRIMARILY from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. 

Be aware of the distinction of PLANT-BASED and WHOLE FOOD, PLANT-BASED.

A Whole Food, Plant-Based diet takes the Plant-Based diet further and means no highly processed or refined foods…

The WHOLE FOOD part of the label should really be your focus! Makes sense, if you’re looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We’ve heard of people who eat pizza and French fries as their mainstay. Are they plant-based? Well, yes, technically. Are they eating in a healthy manner?  Uh…. no! 


There is a substantial amount evidence that a Whole Foods, Plant-Based style of eating is healthier than other ways of eating! Much research has been done on Whole Food, Plant-Based diets such as the Mediterranean Diet and more recently, The Nordic Diet. Both of these diets are BASED on plant foods but also includes fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt a few times a week, with meats and sweets less often. The emphasis is on WHOLE food!

These diets, along with Vegetarian and Vegan, have shown in many studies and trials to reduce the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers (specifically colon, breast, and prostate cancer), depression, and in older adults, a decreased risk of frailty, along with better mental and physical function.

The Mediterranean, Nordic, Vegetarian or other Whole Food, Plant-Based diets offer all the necessary protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health, and are high in fiber and phytonutrients. However, Vegans may need to add a supplement (specifically vitamin B12) to ensure they receive all the nutrients required.


•    Eat lots of fruits and veggies! Fill your plate with the rainbow at each meal. Include small amounts of animal products, or not. (If you DO choose to include animal products, make sure they are as clean as you can get. Meat should be grass-fed, pasture raised, no antibiotics or hormones. Ditto for poultry. Fish choices should be wild. Ditch the processed meats like deli meat, bacon and sausage.)
•    Go for greens. Try a variety of green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, and other greens each day. Gently cooked or raw will preserve their flavor and nutrients. Build a meal around a salad, make it a bowl. Fill a bowl with leafy greens then add an assortment of other vegetables. Include protein sources such as beans, peas, or tofu and grains such as rice, barley, spelt… Enjoy vegetables as a snack with hummus, salsa, or guacamole. If using animal products, use them as a garnish instead of a centerpiece.
•    Choose good fats. Fats in olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados are particularly healthy choices. Snacks of fruit and nuts are great choices. Be careful that your oils are not refined. 
•    Cook a vegetarian meal AT LEAST one night a week. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables.
•    Include whole grains for breakfast. Start with oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, or barley. Then add some nuts or seeds along with fresh fruit.
•    Eat fruit for dessert. You can have it raw or you can cook it into a delectable dessert with some nuts and spices! Fruit will not only give you needed vitamins and minerals but it will also help to satisfy your craving for processed sugar!

Following these tips will have you eating AND ENJOYING a Whole Food, Plant-Based diet as second nature in no time!



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