What Does ‘Plant Based’ Mean?

Confused as to what IS a Plant-Based Diet?

Let’s decipher some terminology:

Vegetarian: One who doesn’t eat animals.  Vegetarians generally consume dairy. Dairy includes butter, cheese, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, ice cream, eggs, whey, casein and lactose all made from animals.

There are different degrees of vegetarianism:

  • Lacto-vegetarian. Eats dairy products, but not eggs
  • Ovo-vegetarian. Eats eggs but not dairy products.
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Eats both dairy products and eggs. Many lacto-ovo vegetarians will only eat free-range eggs. This is because of welfare objections to the intensive farming of hens. Through the Vegetarian Society Approved vegetarian trademark, the Vegetarian Society only accredits products containing free-range eggs.

Flexitarian:  A diet that is mostly vegetarian including occasional meat and fish.

Pescetarian:  A diet that includes fish along with vegetarian foods.

Vegan: A lifestyle, not necessarily just a diet, that doesn’t consume or use anything from animals or any animal by-product.  Vegans don’t eat any animal products including dairy and honey. Vegans also don’t purchase products that are made from animals.  This includes leather, fur, wool, feathers and silk. A vegan is focused on animal welfare, compassion and cruelty-free practices. This is a moral and ethical choice to not harm animals in any form. It is a lifestyle choice, not just a diet.

Fruitarian: This diet consists of mainly fruit and that is vegan.

Raw Vegan: A vegan diet that includes dehydrated foods and uncooked foods

Whole Food Plant-Based Diet: This is a diet that revolves around whole foods and minimally processed food. It is a diet that is centered around health. It is based on legumes, whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Legumes are kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, black beans, etc. This WOE (Way Of Eating) includes potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams.  It excludes all meat and meat products including beef, poultry, pork, fish and all wild game. It excludes all dairy and eggs. It excludes refined flour, refined sugar and processed oils.  A "Plant-Based Diet" can be used as an abbreviation for a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet or it can be one's transitioning to a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet.

WFPB= Whole Food Plant-Based

WFPBNO= Whole Food Plant-Based No oil

WOE= Way of Eating

SAD= Standard American Diet


Here are a great links answering questions you may have:


T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies

Dr. Klaper answers "What is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?"