Do You Know The Difference Between Whole Food Plant-based & Vegan?

by Kathy Anne Rodriguez

What The Heck is Whole Food Plant-Based?

A Whole Food Plant-Based Diet is not the most straightforward diet plan to explain. The name even sounds confusing. What the heck is Whole Food Plant Based anyway?

You can see the history of the term Whole Food Plant-Based here.  T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., originated the phrase to explain the science behind this way of eating. He also wanted to differentiate it from the Vegan Diet.

That’s probably because it’s not a diet plan at all – it’s a lifestyle! 

I know you’ve heard that with other eating plans, it sounds cliché, but it is a lifestyle. It’s one that is easy to follow and has landed me at a 50-pound weight loss that I have been able to keep off. So let’s break it down:

Whole Food

No additives. Nothing enriched. No chemicals or natural flavors. No preservatives, just 100% whole good food. It’s best if it’s organic, but it doesn’t always have to be. The easiest way to think of it is getting your food as close to the way God made it. Fresh, whole, and chemical-free.


Avoid all animal proteins like red meat, fish, and dairy – that includes cheese. (Many people put cheese in a category of its own). Avoid anything with eyes and a mother.

What about Salt? 

Salt is necessary for the body to digest food properly, but it also raises blood pressure. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you only need one teaspoon of salt daily, and most foods naturally contain sodium. So, if you are adding it with the salt shaker, you can be pretty sure you are adding more than your body needs.


Added refined sugar turns into fat and raises glucose levels. It can lead to fatty liver and other unwanted illnesses. Stick with unrefined sugars like Coconut Palm Sugar and dates in small amounts. Sugar also feeds cancer cells. If you don’t want cancer to grow, don’t feed it.

Are oils okay? 

It would be best if you tried to eliminate oils. Oils are plant fragments. Oils lead to added fat, which, let’s face it, you and I don’t need.

Spices and Sauces

Pretty much any non-salty, whole spices are a great way to flavor your food. Many sauces can be purchased, and many can be homemade. The main thing is to exclude oils, dairy, and additives in Whole Food Plant-Based. Beware of chemicals here! Read ingredients and food labels.

What can you eat then? 

Whole food Plant-based includes lots of colorful vegetables, beans, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, unrefined sugars, 100% whole grains such as bread, farro, whole grain pasta, whole-grain wraps, quinoa, bulgar, couscous, and wild and brown rice to name a few. Click here for some easy-to-follow recipes to get you started.

So, it’s Vegan? 

Nope. It’s not Vegan. It’s like Vegan on steroids. Whole Food Plant-Based does save animals while at the same time, helps to avoid the harmful animal proteins and chemical additives that can cause illnesses and diseases. Anyone wanting to protect animals will accomplish that by eating Whole Food Plant-Based. 

I speak for myself because I was Vegan for several years before I switched completely over to Whole Food Plant-Based. As a Vegan, I used oils and sugars as long as they were not animal-based. I wasn’t too concerned with added chemicals and fat. Many of the processed foods for Vegans contain harmful additives. There are many very healthy Vegans out there, but when I was a Vegan, I mainly cared if the food I was eating came from an animal source. I could eat any Vegan Labeled processed food if I wanted, but that didn’t make it healthy. One day I added up the calories in a Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe, and each piece was an astounding 900+ calories! 

It’s Easier To Understand Vegan

Some Whole Food Plant-Based people say they are Vegan to make it easier to explain. Similar to the Vegan diet, you avoid meat, eggs, and cheese. It’s just a few steps further into the healthy zone.

You Can Do This!

So, that’s pretty easy, right? You can do this! In the posts to follow, I plan to make it as easy for you to start and follow the Whole Foods Plant-Based way of life. I will introduce you to the heroes discovered along the way, like T. Colin Campbell, and those who inspired me to try it, like Dr. John Mc Dougall, Dr. Michael Greger, and Rip Esselstyn.

Be sure to sign up for my email list and share it with all your friends, so you will be the first to know every time I add a new post.

You may also like 10 Quick And Easy Whole Food Plant-Based Meals

Healthy wishes,

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