What’s the Difference Between Plant-Based and Vegan?

Isn't it all the same?

Plant-Based, Vegan, or Both?

In our content at MetroPops, you’ll notice that we use the words plant-based and vegan alongside several other categories in the plant-based lifestyle. We think that simple is always best, so in its simplest form, vegan denotes the protection of animals and plant-based comes from the health community that describes sustainable nutrition.

We found a great explanation of this in Carleigh Bodrug’s “PlantYou” cookbook from 2022. Carleigh runs the wildly successful @plantyou, and she says the following:

“In veganism, the motivation is to avoid animal cruelty in every facet of one’s life, including the clothes one wears, companies one supports, and of course the food one eats. Following this train of thought, a person could still enjoy a diet made up of mostly processed and fast foods, while still being vegan. Veganism is not a descriptor of the healthiness of one’s diet.

PlantYou, Carleigh Bodrug, Feb 2022
PlantYou, Carleigh Bodrug, Feb 2022

Meanwhile, the term plant-based originates in the health community. It describes a nourishing approach to eating, with the majority of one’s diet made up of whole, unprocessed plants. This way of eating is generally pursued to achieve greater health, and does not have an ethical or moral connotation. A person who eats meat occasionally, or wears animal products, could still be consuming a plant-based diet.


Along this train of thought, a person can identify as eating a plant-based diet as well as practicing the ethical fundamentals of veganism.” – Carleigh Bodrug, PlantYou

For simplicity, we say it’s best not to get too wrapped up in the labels that we all put on things, but it IS a good idea to at least have a general understanding of the nuances between the labels. For that matter, you’ll see us using vegan and plant-based pretty frequently here and for the most part, interchangeably.

If you want to familiarize yourself with more of the language and nomenclature from this community, check out our glossary post.

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