Quick answer, veganism emphasizes ethics and plant-based emphasizes whole foods.
Vegans’ dietary choices are motivated by animal welfare and environmental rights. While these are nice benefits of a plant-based diet, the primary motivation for a whole-foods plant-based diet is optimal nutrition for longevity.
Vegans eat Skittles and Sara Lee Dutch Apple Pie. Plant-based rejects refined sugars and processed foods.
How does the Plant-First Diet® compare to Plant-Based and Veganism?
The whole-food plant-based diet, as popularized by Dr. Cambell’ s book The China Study, rejects all animals products and the use of vegetable oils. The Plant-First Diet® is more inclusive. We don’t limit the entire categories of food. We believe the strong evidence for eating more plants suggests 95% of calories should come from whole-food plants, but this still leaves 5% of calories for other foods.
The fifth pillar of the Plant-First Diet® is Thinking Sustainability. For the majority of people, it would be socially, culturally and logistically impossible for them to completely avoid all animal products for the rest of their life, so we accommodate for the occasional consumption of dairy and animal products. We simply promote the consumption of whole-food plants for the majority of your caloric intake.
Since we do accommodate for sensibly eating animal products, we would qualify for Veganism, but we do share a passion for animal welfare and environmental health. If we can motivate the majority of people to eat a majority of plants, we feel like we could make a bigger impact on animal wellbeing and environmental health than asking people to make – what they interpret as – dramatic changes.