What it Means to be a Nutritarian, Plant-Based or Plant-Strong
These terms can be confusing and I am surely learning what it means to eat like a nutritarian, become plant-strong or have a diet that's plant-based. My journey to being healthier is not without challenges. Least of which is actually defining what it means to be any of these.
The terms "plant-strong" and "plant-based" are quickly becoming part of everyday language, thanks, in part, to movies like "Forks Over Knives," and the growing popularity of plant-based "diet" books like Dr. Fuhrman's, "Eat to Live," Dr. McDougall's, "Starch Solution," Dr. Esselysten's book, "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease," and "The Engine 2 Diet," by Rip Esselysten.
More and more people are getting on board to a plant-strong, vegan lifestyle according to this article in US News, "Me Give Up Meat? Vegan Diets Surging in Popularity." And, that's great news for the health of our nation and the beleaguered healthcare system. For, we have been at the top of unhealthiest nations in the world for too long now.
So, let's take a look at what these terms mean.
NUTRITARIAN: a person who strives to eat a diet containing highly nutritious foods. A nutritarian: Does not exclusively eat plant foods, but eats a lot of high-nutrient, natural plant foods: vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. Eats fewer animal products and chooses healthier options in this food group. Eats much less or almost no foods that are completely empty of nutrients or toxic for the body such as; sugar, sweeteners, white flour, processed foods and greasy fast foods. (From Eat Right America).
I've considered myself to be a "nutritarian" in the recent past (a phrase coined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman) and have been in a period of transition to eating less meat and dairy. But, I am, for sure, becoming plant-strong and am eating a plant-based diet.
PLANT-BASED: To discuss being plant-based, I'm sharing with you a more nuanced post from NutrientRich.com by John Allen Mollenhauer, who is a plant-based advocate himself, because I think he's got it right. A plant-based approach to eating is not a plant-exclusive approach. With this nuance, we can encourage more people to get on board to a healthier lifestyle. Wikipedia's definition would show you that some people might disagree, but I think we need this nuance. A plant-based diet might include some meat and/or dairy, but according to John, "We need to be eating a plant based diet with a goal of at least 80-90% or more nutrient rich foods. You can take it as far as you want, but this objective would truly change the health of the world and everyone in it!" See his post here: "A Plant-Based Diet - What Does it Mean? What Are We Really Saying?"
PLANT-STRONG: As I was reminded by a few "fans" on my Facebook page, being plant-strong does not include any meat OR dairy if you're a follower of the "Engine 2 Diet" and Rip Esselysten, who apparently coined this phrase. Being plant-strong is not classically vegan either because it doesn't promote eating fake meat or cheese substitutes. These are NOT a part of a plant-strong diet. Being plant-strong is about eating whole foods ONLY - foods that are grown from plants such as veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, roots, grains and fruits. Nothing manufactured and nothing with a face.
VEGAN: Just for good measure, I'll also define what it means to be VEGAN, which was originally coined by Donald Watson in 1944. Vegans do not eat meat, fish, or poultry and do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products. But, a vegan diet might include dairy or meat substitutes like soy cheese and tofu granules. (From the Vegan Resource Group).
VEGETARIAN: Being vegetarian encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets (fruits, vegetables, etc.) with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat. Abstention from by-proucts of animals may also be practiced, according to Wikipedia.
Good luck with your journey towards becoming plant-strong, plant-based, nutritarian, vegetarian or vegan!