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People Who Eat Primarily Plants

(17 types of plant-powered diets)

There are significant differences between the terms vegan, plant-based, and whole plant based (aka whole foods plant-based - WFPB). Heads up: some vegan sites inaccurately describe WPF diets as flexitarian (ie plant-forward omnivores). Actually, WPF advocates don't usually eat animals or animal products. Keep in mind that labels can be limiting and these are tendencies only. Armed with food, beverage, and food-system education, I trust you'll find YOUR own approach.


Intro: Vegan, Plant-Based, and Whole Plant Based / Flexitarian / Reducetarian / Vegetarian / Classic Vegan / Climate Vegan / Detox Vegan / Engine 2 Diet / Ethical Vegan / HCLF Diet / Junk + Faux-Food Vegan / No SOFAS Diet / Nutritarian Diet / Paleo Vegan / Raw Vegan / Starch Solution Diet / WPF - Whole Plant Foods Diet (aka WFPB) / Cheat Sheet 1.0: Cookhouse Hero's High-Low-Ox "Diet" (in English and Spanish)

Vegan diet: generally speaking, a vegan is someone who tends to...


  • never eat foods that have eyes, have a mother, and are alive

  • never eat foods or compounds that are produced by animals – honey, eggs, and dairy products (cheese, milk, yoghurt, etc)

  • never wear fur, leather, silk, and wool products; they also oppose animal use in laboratories

  • possibly eat vegan convenience foods, processed foods, faux-vegan foods (vegan mayo, Beyond meat, etc), and/or vegan junk food

  • add oils, sugars (including refined), and flours (including bleached white flours) to recipes

Plant-based diet: generally speaking, a plant-based eater is someone who tends to...


  • generally avoid foods that have eyes, have a mother, and are alive

  • generally avoid foods and compounds that are produced by animals

  • possibly wear fur, vintage leather, silk, and wool products (or not at all)

  • possibly eat vegan convenience foods, processed foods, faux-vegan foods, and/or vegan junk food products

  • add oils, sugars, and flours to recipes 

  • also: they might eat animals and animals products in small amounts (or not at all)

Whole plant-based diet (WPF): generally speaking, a whole plant-based eater is someone who tends to...

  • avoid or never eat foods that have eyes, have a mother, and are alive

  • avoid or never eat foods and compounds that are produced by animals

  • possibly wear vintage leather, silk, fur, and wool products (or not at all); they generally oppose animal use in laboratories

  • possibly eat a small amount of whole plant-based packaged foods (Engine 2 or Amy's products, etc)

  • consume foods at or very close to their natural state

  • add whole plant-based fats and sugars to recipes (avocados, nuts, dates, and pitted plums vs olive oil, avocado oil, and cane sugar)

  • avoid or significantly limit fat-based foods, salt, flours, alcohol, and tobacco

  • avoid or significantly limit processed foods and faux-vegan foods

"The Gods created certain kinds of beings to replenish our bodies; 

they are the trees and the plants and the seeds."

- Plato, Greek Philosopher (died 347 BCE)



The flexitarian diet is a combination of a classic vegan and vegetarian diet. People might also eat chicken at their Grandma's 75th birthday, grilled salmon at their favorite restaurant, pizza on Friday nights with their kids, or turkey jerky during a road trip. 

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The reducetarian diet can often look like a flexitarian diet. The focus is not only on reducing animals and animal products, but also shedding light on horrific conditions for food animals called CAFOs - concentrated animal feeding operations (animal factories). 

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Vegetarians would follow the vegan-foods-to-avoid list then add eggs, dairy, butter, and honey to their diet. They might be ok to wear fur, leather, silk, or wool, too. For many plant eaters, this approach is often a gateway to veganism or a WPF diet (including CH). 

Plant-based + Vegan + WPF
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Classic Vegan

The classic vegan diet is described above. Classic vegans might be motivated and moved by addressing health issues, stopping animal cruelty on factory farms and in science labs, or changing the direction of climate change. 

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Engine 2 Diet

Rip Esselstyn is the son of WFPB pioneer Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, and the apple doesn’t fall far from this nutrition tree. Rip was a triathlete and fire-fighter before creating a diet plan based on the WFPB approach.

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Junk + Faux-Food Vegan

Junk and faux-food vegans, who eat vegan convenience and processed foods, are sometimes eating foods that can be almost as harmful as eating animal products. The chemical, fat, sugar, and salt content is high. 


Paleo Vegan

This is a low carb, high fat diet, with 30%+ protein and 30%+ fat daily. Though plant-based LCHF foods may not be as harmful as eating animals and animal products, a paleo diet can have long-term health consequences.


Climate Vegan

Climate vegans are people who may have started a classic vegan lifestyle, then began learning about the direct connections between eating animals and our sick planet. They focus on causes and viable solutions.

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Ethical Vegan

An ethical vegan (aka: moral vegan) is someone who not only follows a classic vegan diet but extends the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and protest the use and abuse of animals for any purpose.

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Plant-powered podcaster and educator, Chef AJ, is a mighty proponent of the No SOFAS diet: no salt, no oil, no flour, no alcohol, and no sugar. Three main points are weight-loss, food addiction, and cooking at home. 

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Raw Vegan

A raw vegan diet combines classic veganism with raw foodism. Foods are eaten raw or heated at temps below 104-118 degrees F (40-48 degrees C). A reform-focused minister created it 175 years ago to fight illness.

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Detox Vegan

Many detox vegans have chosen this path due to chronic illness which conventional medicine didn’t fix. It may also be a choice for those who wish to lose weight, and they tend to stay on this diet for shorter periods of time.

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The high-carb, low-fat diet is the main focus of many plant-based, whole foods advocates. Processed vegan foods are avoided, with a particular emphasis on fruits, veggies, intact whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.


Nutritarian Diet

Dr Fuhrman created the nutritarian diet, a plant-based, gluten-fee, low-salt, and low-fat approach. The main focus is on anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense foods that contain immune-boosting compounds. 

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Starch Solution Diet

Dr McDougall’s program is best described as a starch-based diet with the addition of fruits and vegetables. His program is suited for various health issues with his smart It's the Food! message. Potatoes are the mother ship. 

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WPF Diet (aka WFPB)

The moment I understood that eating plants at or quite close to their natural state is a golden key to health (and a possible hospital-free life), I laughed out loud at this simplicity. No bells and whistles... just plants. As Dr Klaper says: this doesn't have to be so complicated! The truth? A whole plant foods diet and lifestyle is the only approach clinically proven to prevent and reverse a slew of chronic ailments. Bonus: it supports animal welfare and stable eco-systems.

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High-Low-Ox "Diet"

If you could learn the most useful and fundamental facts about food, would you like a cheat sheet to support your curiosity? Meet CH's High-Low-Ox "Diet", developed to cut through the chatter and get to the heart of the matter. High-water, high-nutrient, high-fiber, low-glycemic, low-inflammatory, antiOXidant, and nitric OXide are like a food symphony, playing life-promoting music for our body and brain. This educational cheat sheet is in both English and Spanish.

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