Is vegan the same as plant based?

Green living, Health and nutrition

I’m seeing more and more people coming into my practice who decided to become vegan. I think the penny is dropping about the way we produce meat and the effects on climate. Health wise it’s a great thing to eat more plants. There’s a ton of research out there that stresses the importance of eating plants. The industry got the message too: there is now a sizable range of vegan alternatives in the supermarkets. The question that comes up for me is: is vegan the same as plant based? Because many of the vegan alternatives are certainly not WHOLE plant based.

Meat and dairy alternatives

I can totally understand that you are looking for an alternative for your sausage, burger or cheese. But let’s have a closer look at them. Here’s the ingredient list of Meatless farm sausages with the ‘plant based’ stamp: Water, Pea Protein (18%), Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed, Shea, Coconut), Thickener (E461), Vegetable Fibres (Pea Potato), Preservative (E326), Spices, Potato Starch, Rice Protein, Dried Onion, Natural Flavouring, Salt, Herbs, Vegetable Concentrates (Beetroot, Caramelised Carrot, Carrot), Acidity Regulator (E300), Yeast Extract, Sausages filled into Sodium Alginate Casings. That’s quite a lot of ingredients and quite a lot of processing going on. And it’s the same for many of the vegan cheeses, butters, milks and creams. There are no whole foods that our bodies can actually recognise as a food. How will you find out if you have a sensitivity to one of the ingredients, as many people do?

Food miles and footprint

When Iook at the ingredients I also wonder how sustainable these vegan alternatives are and if they are actually the answer to the climate issue. With so many ingredients there is probably a lot of transport, industrial processing and packaging happening. Many of the products are soya based and soya is a food that has to travel far, can be very inflammatory, heavily sprayed and is often genetically modified too. How does that compare to grass fed local meat?

Back to basics – plant based

So let’s make vegan plant based again. There are so many incredible recipes that can be made with just plants in their purest, whole and unpackaged form. Using vegetables, fruit, salad, herbs, spices, pulses, legumes, grains, nuts and more. Plant based means that you eat mainly plants. With, if you choose, some good quality animal protein. Meat doesn’t have to be the big problem it is now when we change from our current way of farming to regenerative farming. Where animals have a good life, eat grass and are grazed in a way thet sequesters carbon. Like my local friend Andy’s cows do.

Switching to a whole food diet

Processed foods are not good for your body, nor for the planet. If you want more energy, less inflammation and better gut health, check out my 6 week online course where I teach you how to switch from processed foods low in nutrients to a nourishing, anti-inflammatory whole food diet – vegan and whole plant based or plant based with some good quality animal protein. Go and have a look there now:


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