Defining Terms (Veganism, Plant-Based, Whole Food Plant-Based)

Please Note: I often use the terms plant-based or whole food plant-based and vegan interchangeably on the blog. I do this because I am both a whole food plant-based eater as well as a vegan person. I recognize that not all vegans are whole food plant-based and vice versa. I know that there are slightly different definitions out there for these terms.

For the sake of clarity, here are the definitions that I use for the terms ‘veganism’, ‘plant-based’, and ‘whole food plant-based’ here on the Plant Fit Meg website and on social media.

VEGANISM: “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” –The Vegan Society

PLANT-BASED: “Plant-based means food that comes from plants and doesn’t include animal ingredients such as meat, milk, eggs, or honey.” –Forks Over Knives (I am aware that alternative definitions exist for plant-based diets which focus on eating plants primarily, but may still include some animal products.)

WHOLE FOOD PLANT-BASED (WFPB): “A WFPB diet doesn’t include any meat, poultry, fish, dairy, or eggs. It’s not, however, the same as a vegan diet, which is defined only by what it eliminates. A WFPB diet is defined also by what it emphasizes: a large variety of whole foods. The term “whole” in WFPB describes foods that are minimally processed. This includes as many whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes as you want. It also includes, in moderation: nuts, seeds, avocados, natural sweeteners, and certain soy or wheat products that don’t contain added fat (e.g., tofu).” –T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies