Plant-based diet

What is a Plant-Based Diet?

From vegan to plant-based to flexitarian, there are so many dietary labels being thrown about these days. It can be hard to keep up with what means what.

Labels can mean different things to different people. For example, one stance is that plant-based means no meat, dairy, eggs or other animal products. On the other hand, some purists have the opinion that plant-based also meant 100% natural: no processed or packaged food – vegetarian, vegan or otherwise.

So perhaps it would be useful to take a look into one of the most confusing of all the labels – what is a plant-based diet?

Is Grass Fed Beef Plant-Based?

When Googling to research the plant-based diet concept, it’s easy to find a wealth of information and many conflicting opinions.

Some of the definitions are quite strict, saying that all animal products should be excluded from a plant-based diet. Other sources used terms like “reduce” and “minimise” rather than flat-out banning them.

One article even suggested that grass fed beef was plant-based:

“A [plant-based diet (PBD)] is a diet that’s heavy in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. It’s NOT vegetarian NOR vegan. i think that’s a HUGE misconception/misuse of the phrase. you still eat fish, red meat, poultry, and dairy. those who claim a PBD diet is indeed vegan are INcorrect…that would just make it vegan, haha. but this is plant-BASED.”

“when you eat meats and dairy products, try to buy from your local farmers market, and limit your meat consumption to grass-fed, hormone-free, wild meats and organic, hormone-free dairy products.”

This quote, typos and all, may not sound quite right to plant-based purists. However, one thing is for sure: there’s a lot of different viewpoints of what plant-based means.

plant-based burger

Do Packaged Foods Count as Plant-Based?

A common idea when thinking of a plant-based diet is “no meat or animal products”. This suggests that packaged convenience foods are okay – as long as they don’t contain any animal products. Depending on the definition you read, this is wrong on a sliding scale.

According to Forks Over Knives, plant-based is “a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.”

So perhaps convenience food isn’t in the spirit of plant-based?

It seems that a true plant-based diet consists of delicious meals made with fresh produce with no animal products or packaged foods in sight.

Is the Plant-Based Diet for Me?

You may find this idea of plant-based a bit restrictive and unappealing. If this is the case you might decide that a flexitarian diet is more sustainable and suitable for you.

The flexitarian diet focuses on reducing meat and animal products rather than completely removing them. This should make the transition to lower meat consumption more palatable and is a great route into going vegetarian or vegan.

Which ever diet you choose (and it is absolutely your choice!) you’ll find it much easier given the recent trend of plant-based, vegan and vegetarian eating. There are loads of great alternatives and veggie options in most restaurants. If you need some help with meat-free meals, check out allplants, who deliver offer plant-based, vegan ready meals straight to your door.

According to a post on the BBC website, “if everyone became vegetarian by 2050, food-related emissions would drop by 60%. If the world went vegan instead, emissions declines would be around 70%”.

Going plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian even for one day a week can raise awareness and spark conversations about this hugely important topic. Find what works for you, love your food and spread the word!

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