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How A Plant-Based Diet Is Different To A Vegan Diet

Harper’s BAZAAR logo Harper’s BAZAAR 16/09/2018 Nicole Catanese

While low-carbohydrate diets have long been tipped as the go-to for weightloss and overall wellness for quite some time now, recent research has shown that we should be taking a less restrictive approach to reach optimal health.

Wholefood, plant-based diets are now being touted as capable of lessening your chances of heart disease and cancer—not to mention that it can also aid in shifting those last hard-to-lose kilos.

a close up of many different types of food: Courtesy of @kayla_itsines © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Courtesy of @kayla_itsines

But popularity aside, many are still unsure of what exactly a wholefood-rich, plant-based diet is exactly.

"Wholefood is just that—whole," said Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Reversal program at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

Along with fellow researcher T. Colin Campbell, Esselstyn has spent years touting the diet as the cure to a long list of ailments, from heart disease—the number-one killer of women—to diabetes.

"Breast cancer and colon cancer—and heart disease—were almost nonexistent," he said.

a person sitting at a table with a plate of food: Courtesy of @shaninamshaik © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Courtesy of @shaninamshaik

The pair have together released a documentary titled Forks Over Knives, which focuses on one of Esselstyn's plant-based diet-focused studies. In his research, he rounded up a small group of patients with advanced coronary artery disease—including five who had been given less than a year to live—and put them on a plant-based diet.

Twelve years after the study concluded, not only were the 17 research participants still alive, but none had experience further cardiac events, and all were still symptom-free. According to Esselstyn, "Heart disease is a completely benign, food-borne illness," so it's no shock that participants' health drastically improved after their dietary swap.

a close up of a flower: Courtesy of @bridgetmalcolm © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Courtesy of @bridgetmalcolm

While many of us aren't switching up our diets because of health concerns, it's safe the say the majority of people converting to a plant-based diet are doing it for the purpose of weight loss.

In terms of what you should cut out of your diet, you should put down anything packaged or processed: "Once you start eating out of a box, bag or can, the food is processed and may have unhealthy additions like sugar, salt and oil," said Esselstyn.

a dish is filled with different types of food on a plate: Courtesy of @kayla_itsines © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Courtesy of @kayla_itsines Subbing out those nasties, you should be subbing in leafy greens in its place: "What's absolutely at the top of the list is green leafy vegetables," he said. Esselstyn recommends eating a fistful ("anointed with a few drops of balsamic vinegar") with every meal.

You're also free to add beans, legumes, whole grains and every vegetable under the sun to your dishes.

With these categorisations in mind, many confuse wholefood, plant-based diets with veganism, but there are a few points of difference between the two. The first—and often, confusing—difference is that those on plant-based diets are free to eat dairy, as well as any animal bi-products.

Plant-based loyals are also fine to eat red meat, poultry and fish, which vegans are obviously not.

a little girl sitting at a table: Courtesy of @bridgetmalcolm © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Courtesy of @bridgetmalcolm

When it comes to criticism of plant-based diets, many choose to focus on what nutrition your diet might be lacking, rather than the nutrients it can offer—particularly for its allowance for a variety of proteins.

"It's a very important nutrient, but almost everyone overconsumes it and gets it from animal-based foods, so they end up decreasing their consumption of plant-based foods," said Campbell.

While low-carbohydrate diets have long been tipped as the go-to for weightloss and overall wellness for quite some time now, recent research has shown that we should be taking a less restrictive approach to reach optimal health. Wholefood, plant-based diets are now being touted as capable of lessening your chances of heart disease and cancer—not to mention that it can also aid in shifting those last hard-to-lose kilos.: How A Plant-Based Diet Is Different To A Vegan Diet © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd How A Plant-Based Diet Is Different To A Vegan Diet Naturally, with a wholefood plant-based diet, there are plenty of protein-packed plant-based sources, including beans, lentils, chia seeds, quinoa, and even spinach and mushrooms.

And as for ensuring you're getting plenty of calcium, eating vegetables including kale, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower— which are all natural sources of the nutrient—will do the trick.

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