Health : the difference between vegan diet and herbal diet
What is the difference between vegan diets and plant-based diets? Is it the same thing? Both types of eating plans have become very popular in recent years due to their positive health effects, but while they may seem similar, there are still major differences between them. Vegan diets eliminate all animal products, while plant-based diets allow you to consume animal products but focus mainly on plants such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.
It turns out, however, that the two types of diet are often confused and this is not at all surprising, according to nutritionists. There are even many people from vegan communities who describe their diets as herbal diets. Vegan and plant-based diets put plant-based products at the center of their menus. However, while a vegan diet is actually a plant-based diet, the plant-based diet is not necessarily a vegan diet.
Is there a major difference between plant-based and vegan diets?
Whether you are a vegan or not, consuming more plants is a very effective way to reduce the risk of disease and improve your quality of life and life expectancy thanks to the fibers, vitamins, minerals and polynutrients that are found in vegetables and fruits.
So if you've decided to switch to the vegetable diet and trade in beef for tofu, you definitely need some clarification on how to define your reduction in meat consumption.
What is a herbal diet? Does the plant-based diet allow the consumption of meat?
Brief history of the herbal diet:
In 1980, Dr. T. Colin Campbell was at the National Institute of Health in the United States researching the potential therapeutic impact on cancer disease of a low-fat, high-fiber and herbal diet . The doctor looked for a succinct term that encompassed this type of diet without invoking ethical issues. Let's say the term "herbal" was born in the world of nutritional science. A few years later, after testifying against the supplement industry, Campbell added the modifier "whole foods" to clarify that these are whole plant-based foods and not isolated nutrients, which had positive health effects.
The herbal diet is nothing more than that: herbal. That means more fruit, more vegetables, legumes, tubers, nuts and seeds. And even if you increase your consumption of plant products, you can technically still continue to consume animal products, but in smaller quantities.
Fruits and vegetables are a very good choice to incorporate into your diet
When you change your diet by starting to consume more plant products, you will increase your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which can help you decrease the amounts of sugar in the blood, lower bad cholesterol and also lower blood pressure.
Reducing animal products in your diet can also have positive effects on the environment. Plants require much less energy and production resources than animal products. Animal farming and especially raising livestock for food supplies produces a large amount of carbon dioxide and methane, which can have negative effects on the environment and lead to climate change.
Yes, you got it right: no need to give up meat forever to help the environment and improve your health. Since "herbal" is not a regulated term, which means that it does not have an exact definition, how and if you go to consume animal products depends only on your own judgment. So, yes, animal products in the herbal diet are not prohibited.
For some, having a dish that is usually plant-based and with very small sources of animal products or by-products means having a successful plant-based diet. For others, success means consuming plant-based meals most of the time and indulging in animal products every so often for a few days.
Vegan and plant-based diets aren't as difficult to follow as you might think
Often when people start vegan or plant-based diets, they find it easier to start with one plant-based meal per day or by limiting the consumption of meat to once per day. Evening meals can be difficult because often you may feel the need for a meat starter, so it is best to start your diet with morning and noon meals.
Lots of products that we used to consume in the morning like for example the oats are plant-based and you can leave the vegetable proteins like nuts, beans, tofu or tempeh for lunch by putting them in your salads.
What is the difference between the plant-based diet and the plant-based and whole-food diet?
Another nuance to consider when it comes to plant-based diets: the difference between the plant-based diet and the whole plant-based diet.
Technically, the plant-based diet may contain processed foods like crisps and sweets, sugary drinks, and foods high in simple carbohydrates like white flour and white rice. Fiber, vitamins and minerals may not be present in processed foods, so even foods like vegetable crisps are not as good as their natural counterparts, dietitians say.
The whole plant-based diet, on the other hand, is focused on whole foods in nature that do not contain added sugars or preservatives and offer their natural nutrients. The goal: to consume foods that contain as few ingredients as possible.
With this approach, you could eat, for example, simple roasted peanuts in place of sweet peanut butter and pieces of raw vegetables in place of vegetable crisps. While many processed foods are actually plant-based, experts advise instead the full approach to the plant-based diet.
What then is the vegan diet?
A true vegan diet means a complete removal of animal products and by-products from your menu: more like an exclusive diet than with plants than a plant-based diet. In addition to avoiding dairy and meat, vegans also choose not to eat animal products like honey, for example.
The vegan diet is associated with health benefits like lower blood pressure and lowered cholesterol levels, as well as a decreased risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Of course, following a vegan diet that emphasizes whole foods is a must. Many vegan people consume a lot of vegan meats, cheeses and other processed foods. These foods are generally not very nutritious and when eaten in excess, they can lead to weight gain and chronic diseases.
Even following a full vegan diet, you may need something extra to cover your basic nutritional needs since animal products provide important nutrients like omega-3, zinc, iron and vitamin B-12 which are more difficult to find from herbal sources. Since vitamin B-12 is naturally derived by microbes in the earth, when you wash products or remove animal products from your diet, you also remove this vitamin from your menu.
What we should also mention is that in many cases, veganism means something much more than just putting vegetables on your plates. For many people, veganism is more about a lifestyle than a diet.
Since many vegan people choose to be vegans to fight animal rights and also for environmental reasons, veganism often extends beyond diet even in cosmetics and clothing choices. Vegans generally use cosmetics that do not contain ingredients like beeswax, keratin, and shellac and avoid clothing that uses leather, wool, fur, silk, and feathers . But even if you don’t apply the vegan principles of life in your life, the vegan diet asks to say goodbye to all animal products.
What is the best diet for you?
If you're following a standard diet, opting for a plant-based diet is a great choice to start with, especially if you're curious about consuming more plants, but you're not ready to become completely vegan.
As scientific studies show that plant-based diets can improve cholesterol levels, weight and cardiovascular health, you will have many positive effects when you choose such a diet. This type of diet does not carry a high risk of nutritional deficiencies which can be a problem with vegan diets. The increased consumption of fiber in herbal diets will help you have a healthier stomach and even lose weight.
While both types of plant-based and vegan diets require some planning, veganism is a more radical lifestyle that requires basic knowledge of nutrition. If you are not aware of your food choices while being vegan, you may develop nutritional deficits. Bearing, with the exception of vitamin B-12, you can have an adequate amount of nutrients from the vegan diet if it is fairly balanced and varied. The vegan diet requires more planning and monitoring of nutrient intake and more supplements if necessary.
If you have increased nutrient needs, for example if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, a plant-based diet may be more suitable for you. Likewise for people with a history of eating disorders, since scientific studies suggest that restrictions on vegan diets may work as a socially acceptable way of practicing eating disorders. If you ever have any doubts, you should talk to your doctor or dietitian to find out which is the best choice for you.
When should you talk to your doctor about your diet?
It is always a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor to find out which diet will be most suitable for you and especially if you have health problems or if you have had an operation to lose weight which can affect how your body processes nutrients. For example, if you have diabetes and want to eat healthier, you shouldn't necessarily eat a lot of fruit.
Also, if you are already vegan or don't eat a lot of animal products, you should ask your doctor to do tests to determine the levels of vitamin B in your body.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is a very common condition in people who follow a vegan diet since it is a nutrient that is usually found in animal products, as already mentioned earlier in the article. If you don't eat a lot of animal products, ask your doctor for a supplement.
Calcium is another important nutrient that can be deficient if you don't eat dairy products. In this case it is recommended to opt for herbal milks that contain calcium or other herbal foods rich in calcium.
If you don't take three servings of calcium-rich foods a day, you should ask your doctor for a calcium supplement. However, try to enrich your diet with calcium because taking too much calcium in supplements can also have different side effects.
No matter what diet you want to try and why you want to try it, it's important to know that you don't have to make all the changes at once. In reality, it may even be better for you if you don't do it all of a sudden.
For someone who is starting a diet with more plants, it is advisable to set small goals such as cooking a new vegetable each week or trying to fill three quarters of your plate with foods like vegetables, fruits, seeds or beans. In this way, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed, discouraged or intimidated by completely changing your diet.
The good news: Your shopping list doesn't have to be scrambled if you're still experimenting with finding the best diet for you. There are very good products like herbal butters which are completely vegetable but which taste like real butter.