Difference Between a Vegan Diet and a Whole Food Plant Based Diet + the Best Plant Based Mac and Cheese, Hands Down
By Molly Patrick
Jul 8, 2014,
The difference between vegan and whole food plant based diet (WFPB) is that a WFPB diet does not include processed food in any form, including oil and refined sugar.
If you follow a vegan diet, then vegan cookies, vegan ice cream, vegan potato chips, and vegan candy bars are A-Okay. When following a whole food plant based diet, those foods are avoided.
“Whole Food Plant Based Diet” is a term coined by Dr. T. Colin Campbell.
Dr. Campbell has written numerous New York Times best-selling books, including The China Study and Whole – Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, and has been at the forefront of nutrition research since the 1970’s. (Before my ass was even a concept.)
His research has been vital for understanding the relationship between food and disease. I urge anyone interested in nutrition and/or health (the two are much more connected than you may realize) to check out his work – he’s the real deal.
According to Dr. Campbell, a diet filled with a variety of whole fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds is the most effective way of preventing, treating, and in some cases, even reversing the most common ailments today, including certain types of cancers, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and obesity.
There are lots of reasons why this knowledge isn’t making its way into government policies and health care reform, but the main reason is that big profits don’t come from whole plant foods. Big profits come from pharmaceuticals (the very thing you’ll need if you avoid whole plant foods).
Since the government isn’t pushing healthy food as a way to prevent illness and disease, this must be a grassroots change; one individual at a time, one plate of healthy food at a time.
Maybe it starts with one person cutting out soda and turns into their entire family cutting out junk food completely.
Maybe one person’s choice to cut out meat for a month turns into starting an organic garden in their backyard and that turns into green juices aplenty.
Or maybe the change to a whole food plant based diet is a tiny one.
My point is, everyone is on a different journey with food and health – and that’s okay.
Everyone has to start somewhere.
I wanted to showcase the main difference between vegan and a whole food plant based diet since we get asked a lot.
There are times that I indulge in a greasy Chinese meal – it happens! I am FAR from perfect. But when it does happen, I wake up the next morning and get back on track with a huge green juice for breakfast, miso soup for lunch, and lemony chickpea salad for dinner. It’s not about perfection. It’s about taking baby steps to a healthy lifestyle that will stick.
I created Clean Food Dirty Girl because I want everyone armed with the information that Dr. Campbell (and others like him) have put out into the world. Because when we’re armed with knowledge we can make the very best choices for ourselves and our families. And when we have support, it’s even easier. That’s why our private Facebook group is the best group out there. Whether you’re Vegan or just starting on your whole food plant based diet, we’re here for you.
I will leave you with a recipe that proves that eating truly healthy does not have to be bland or boring. This plant based mac and cheese recipe is the mother of all plant based mac and cheese recipes.
If you prefer to make this in your Instant Pot, check out my 5-minute Instant Pot version here.
Enjoy EVERY mother-loving bite!
- 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped russet potato 240g
- 1 cup chopped carrot 130g
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion 65g
- 1 tablespoon chopped turmeric or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 10g
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 2 1/2 cups water, divided 590ml
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 10 minutes 75g
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast 40g
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Gluten free pasta brown rice or quinoa pasta are my faves
- Place the potato, carrot, onion, turmeric and garlic in a medium-sized pot, cover with 2 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes, with the lid on.
- After 20 minutes, add the veggies (and the remaining liquid in the pot) to your blender.
- Drain the cashews (discard the water) and add the cashews to the blender, along with the nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, salt and the additional 1/2 cup of water.
- Blend until the sauce is creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Cook however much pasta you want, according to the directions on the box and then strain and rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking. Return to the pot.
- Turn the heat to very low and pour as much Cheesy Sauce over the pasta as you like.
- Add black pepper and salt to taste.
We hope we cleared up the difference between vegan and whole food plant based diets. In summary, both diets do not contain animal products. A WFPB diet goes a step further and excludes all oil and overly processed foods.
Take the next step with our plant based Meal Plans
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