Plant-Based 101: What Is It? Why and How To Use It
Plant-based seems to be the new buzz word swarming around, in and out of our ears. While it is similar to the term “vegan”, “vegetarian”, or “paleo”– they are not interchangeable. We discuss their differences and how to get started on a plant-based diet today.
Plant-Based Diet: What is it?
This simply means eating or consuming foods that are plants or are made from plants. There is no consumption of animal proteins, dairy, or eggs. So, how does this compare to vegan or vegetarian?
Much like plant-based, vegans also do not consume animal products such as meat, dairy, or eggs. Their reasoning, though, for doing so, is majorly associated with the mistreatment of livestock and animals of any kind. For example, (true) vegans do not consume honey as it is made from insects which they group into a category with animals.
Some, if not most, follow a protocol not only inside, but outside of the kitchen as well, with their personal care products, clothes, and other items. Items tested on or containing any animal product is a no-go for them.
Overall, the guidelines and rules that fall under one labeling themselves as a “vegan” is relatively strict. There are a lot of groups and individuals out there that take being vegan very seriously and to go against them would be to disrespect their beliefs and values.
Then there are vegetarians, who choose to cut out animal protein (e.g. meat) but continue to consume dairy products, such as milk, cheese, egg, and other items related.
So, ice cream, feta cheese, and certain snacks are on the ok list.
On the other hand, under a paleo diet, you still consume meat, but believes all food should still be of a natural, earth source. This just means, nothing processed. No chips, no oreos, no dairy-free ice cream, no store bought bread.
If you put yourself back to hunting and gathering times and looked at the things they consumed, that’s what you would eat to follow a paleo protocol, everything would be simply what you could hunt and gather.
You would get all of your food from gardens, farmers markets, or the produce section of the grocery store or local market.
What does it all mean?
Keeping track of all of these different labels and categories, simply for eating, can get confusing and maybe a little overwhelming, it seems there are a lot of rules and regulations.
But ultimately, you should choose a lifestyle that best fits you. The options are not limited to what’s listed above. We believe there is no universal right or wrong eating- you should always choose what’s best for you based upon knowledge acquired.
We prefer the term plant-based, if any, to describe 90-95% of our eating habits.
I say 90-95% of the time, because no one is perfect, and I don’t believe we can expect ourselves to be. Striving for 100% consistency (for a lifetime) is restricting and unrealistic.
For example, we ate a few pieces of venison jerky when we went home for Christmas, and for Thanksgiving, we tried an infamous dressing recipe passed down through many generations that contained animal protein.
But you’re plant-based???
We are. We also know that there is one life to live and really good food to try.
So, do you regret it?
Not one bit.
It doesn’t mean we go crazy off the rocker on our decision to eat plant-based. If we’re choosing, we’re choosing. But that’s precisely the point: we are choosing. No one else.
We truly feel choosing plant-based, even if it is just words, it is more laid-back, less restricting psychologically, and focuses on what’s important to us: simply being healthy.
It’s easy to focus on building habits, not restrictions and think of it as a lifestyle rather than a “fad” short-term “diet”.
Although, we do use the word “diet”, but we use it as a description of what is on our plates and in our fridge, by choice.
How we eat, at every moment, every day is a personal choice and can be judged by no one else except ourselves.
How we eat plant-based: Simplified
When we’re choosing foods to eat and shopping at the grocery store, recipes to try, and dishes at restaurants, we can easily ask ourselves (or the restaurant):
- What’s in this?
- Is it or is it from a plant source?
- Where does it come from?
It really doesn’t go much farther than that. We do our best to keep ourselves educated with the latest science and information by watching videos on nutritionfacts.org because knowledge is power.
Nutritionfacts.org is a free website with educational videos about plant-based diet research where a doctor breaks down scientific studies relevant to a topic.
It’s everything most of us don’t want to read nor can comprehend, and conveys it in a way that is more understandable for the average human.
Ready to try plant-based?
We have a compiled list of our 6 most delicious and easiest plant-based breakfast recipes for you to try. You can also check out the rest of our recipe blog with 20 recipes, 100% plant-based, to try!
Plant Based freebie!
We’re also offering a free guide complete for a day in the life of a plant-based eater with 3 full meals, nutrition facts, and snack options, you can download it here: A Day in the Life of a Planet-Base Eater.