What’s the difference between plant-based and vegan?

If you’ve been scratching your head over these two buzzy buzzwords wondering, like, “What’s the dif?” Don’t stress, you’re not alone. Times are a-changin’ and definitions are expanding. We’re here to lay it all out for ya and break down the difference between “plant-based” and “vegan”.

First… Do they mean the same thing? So glad you asked. Nope, they don’t. But they’re not hugely different, either. Let’s break it down…

The “Vegan Diet” was coined in 1944 as a term to describe someone who abstains from all animal products, including dairy, eggs, meat, seafood, fish, and honey. It was created to differentiate between a Vegetarian diet, which only excludes meat, seafood and fish, but allows dairy, eggs and honey.

Super fun fact, the name came from the word “Vegetarian” – taking the first 3 letters and last 2 letters, smooshing them together, and creating the word “Vegan”. It started out as an ethically driven choice, but has evolved to include environmental reasons and beyond. Cool, eh?

Even super-er of a fun fact: Earth’s Own products are all vegan friendly, which means nothing includes animal products. We’re all plants, all the time!


Meanwhile, “Plant-Based” didn’t hit the scene until the 1980s. This biochemist dude named Thomas Colin Campbell made it up to help back his research on the benefits of a whole foods diet that primarily consisted of plants.

And that’s basically what it is – a diet of mostly whole foods, mostly plants, with very few inclusions of animal products. However, some folks are all plants all the time and identify as “plant-based”. It’s kinda like a “flexitarian diet” except with less syllables and way more plants.

Generally speaking, those who practice a plant-based diet are often motivated by health or environmental reasons. But we all do what we do for our own reasons, and we think it’s pretty darn important to have your own “why” – whether you’re living a vegan or plant-based lifestyle.

Now, although we create totes vegan products, you’ll probably hear us talk about living that plant-based life a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. This is because we truly believe plant-based living will change the world.

At the end of the day, we’ve only got one Mamma Earth. One of the easiest ways you can protect our planet is to eat a diet based on plants, of mostly whole foods, and making choices that are sustainable for you to maintain. To us, that’s what plant-based living is all about.

So, whether you’re “vegan”, “plant-based”, or prefer to have no label at all – if you’re making choices to leave this planet better than how you found it, know that we think you’re pretty darn awesome.

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