Understanding the plant-based lifestyle

Did you know that November marks World Vegan Month, which includes World Vegan Day? Every year, vegans all over the world raise awareness about the vegan and plant-based movement, and also advocate for related causes such as the environment.

Plant-based Vs. Vegan: Are they the same thing?

Many nutritionary bodies do not actually define vegan and plant-based diets as the same. A vegan diet eliminates all forms of animal products including dairy products, non-meat items such as eggs, and even honey as it is produced by bees; however, vegans may still consume commercially available products for example junk and processed foods available in the average supermarket but that are marked as “vegan”.

A plant-based diet, on the other hand, may include animal products including eating meat occasionally, but is made up mostly of all plant-based food groups including fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates, legumes and grains; as this lifestyle champions foods that are mostly from grown or non-processed sources.

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While you can be both vegan and plant-based, it doesn’t have to be the case for every person adopting either lifestyle. What they have in common, is both these lifestyles are concerned not just with animal welfare, but also adjacent topics such as the environmental impact of animal farming, food purchasing and consumption habits, waste, and health.

Besides just what one eats, there are a number of ways to adopt more plant-based and environmentally-conscious lifestyle habits.

Zero or low waste: Food shopping and cooking

There is a lot of research to suggest that plant-based and vegan cooking produces much less waste than meat diets.

Plant-based lifestyle advocates, vegan or not, promote the practice of shopping local produce, such as at fresh markets, and enjoying seasonal fruits and vegetables. When food shopping, it is important to cultivate other environment-friendly habits such as buying from stores where you’re allowed to bring and fill your own bottles and jars, using reusable bags, and minimising any disposable items such as by bringing your own tumbler when getting your coffee takeaway, or refusing single-use items such as wooden cutlery.

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After loading up on groceries, these mindful practices then continue at home, such as by separating recyclable trash, composting food waste, and even reusing water used to boil or prepare foods for other purposes.

Avoiding harsh chemicals

Along with trying to minimise trash build-up, it is important to be aware that household items are often formulated with harsh chemicals, and when released into the air or washed into water streams can be harmful to the environment.
Luckily, there are now many alternative cleaning products for the home that are formulated with plant-based ingredients and that come in biodegradable packaging.

Chemicals in the home and waste build-up also come from self-care items such as skincare products. These days, many brands are producing more conscious alternatives to common products such as solid shampoo that look like bars of soap instead of liquid form in plastic bottles, and skincare serums that come in recyclable packaging.

Many vegans and plant-based lifestyle advocates and enthusiasts may even have their own formula or recipe for common household items such as toothpaste or a multipurpose surface cleaner spray.

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Being plant-based or vegan might not be for everyone, but there are certainly some great tips and habits we can learn from the community, especially to do with being more environmentally conscious.

Whether you’re starting with slowly making changes to your diet, or you’d like to first work on reducing the waste of your household, small changes can make bigger impacts than you think. By adopting the intentions of the plant-based lifestyle, you can start with easy steps like reducing the amount of red meat you consume in a week, or learning to read labels on cleaning products or toiletries.

Ultimately, by considering more ethical, environmental and health-related motivations into your daily decision-making, you will likely find yourself leaning towards more plant-based habits naturally.

Did you know that you can order vegetarian, plant-based and vegan meals on the GemSpot app?
Check for the promocode GEM20 to enjoy 20% off with selected restaurants! Conditions such as ‘only applicable on weekdays’ and ‘only for orders placed within certain hours of the day’ may apply.

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