Yes, let me tell you why. There can be quite a big difference between the actual foods eaten by individuals on a whole-food, plant-based diet versus those on a vegan diet, depending on actual dietary practices. To put it simply in a nutshell, a whole-food, plant-based diet is a way of eating that is

  • focused on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plant-based ingredients
  • based on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, tubers, whole grains, and legumes
  • excludes or minimizes meat (such as pork, beef, chicken, turkey, and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil

As such, those who are on a whole-food, plant-based diet may be either completely excluding all sources of animal protein from their diet, or may be still having small amounts of animal-based foods. There is also an emphasis in this eating pattern on consuming natural, minimally processed and refined foods as much as possible (hence the term ‘whole-food’).

A person on a vegan diet, on the other hand, subsists entirely on plant-based foods and excludes all sources of animal protein foods and products from the diet. A person on a vegan diet may also use more commercially processed and refined vegan products while more whole, minimally refined and processed plant-based ingredients are used in whole-food, plant-based cooking.

There are often other more subtle differences too. In both cases, a number of different reasons may motivate vegans and plant-based eaters to choose their dietary patterns. These reasons include a desire to improve health, to safeguard and protect the environment and/or to oppose animal cruelty. However, a person who is on a vegan diet may extend his or her desire to protect animals to other lifestyle decisions such as choosing to avoid leather products or cosmetic products that are tested on animals.