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Vegan Vs. Whole Food Plant-Based: What’s the Difference?

2019 is being touted as the year of veganism – but what is a vegan diet? Our products – which include a beetroot powder supplement, a turmeric blend, and a prebiotic blend – are all both vegan and whole-food, plant-based lifestyle friendly. In this article, we’ll take a look at what makes the two lifestyles different.


According to  Wikipedia, veganism “is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and is accompanied by an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals”. A true vegan diet really just means that no animal products are consumed.

Whole-Food, Plant-Based

On the other hand, a whole-food, plant-based diet concentrates more on ensuring that the food you consume is from a “whole” source. In other words, the food you consume is unprocessed or minimally processed. Foods such as refined oils, refined sugars and refined flours are kept to a minimum or not consumed at all.

An example of this is olive oil. Those people following a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle are able to eat olives, however, olive oil – which is highly processed –  is not considered whole and therefore would not be consumed. A whole-food, plant-based diet is made up mostly of whole grains, vegetables, legumes,  beans, nuts and seeds.

The Difference

The word ‘diet’ is not accurate when describing veganism or whole-food, plant-based. While it describes the way a person eats, neither are calorie-restricted.  A better way to describe them would be ‘vegan lifestyle’ or a ‘whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.’ Both usually have a guiding philosophy, and what motivates the two lifestyles can differ significantly. Those inspired to go towards a ‘vegan lifestyle’ usually do so for ethical reasons. They are either driven by the philosophy of stopping cruelty towards animals or wanting a more sustainable environment. Those inspired towards a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle do so more for health reasons. They are looking to prevent or improve a chronic illness.

A simple way of looking at this is by considering the humble Oreo. By some miracle of food science, the Oreo is vegan, and those following a vegan lifestyle are able to consume as many as they like. Those choosing a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, however, would avoid them and view them as too highly processed, calorie-rich and nutrient-poor, with way too many ingredients, offering no real health benefits. Basically, that is the difference.

We at Flourish promote a whole-food, plant-based, refined oil-free lifestyle because we know and understand that to recover or improve from any health crisis, it is one of the most effective ways to achieve desired results. Our whole food supplements are suitable for both vegan and whole-food, plant-based lifestyles.