“Plant Strong” Not Vegan

“Plant Strong” Not Vegan

An interview with Rip Esselstyn explains something called “plant strong” that resembles veganism:

“Esselstyn is also the author of a vegan cookbook: The Engine 2 Diet.
But he doesn’t call it vegan. He’s eating ‘plant strong’–and has been for more than a decade.”

Plant Strong? What!?

OK, whatever. It actually does make sense. He’s promoting a diet, not a lifestyle. Veganism afterall, is more than a diet. It’s not just a dietary choice. Veganism is a lifestyle that includes other behaviors such as: avoiding animal products in clothing, in cosmetics, in medicines. Vegans don’t attend animal circuses* or zoos either.

But most people don’t know that:

So… we have to educate them.

A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals – no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.” (source)

Each vegan has his or her own motivations, and I think that’s OK. To me, it’s not really about motivations as much as it is about behaviors. Abstaining from animal products is more important than intending to avoid harm to animals. The animals don’t care why we avoid torturing, killing, and eating them.They’d just like more people to behave as vegans.

That said, I think Rip makes an excellent point in the interview:

“Do you have advice for someone who falls off the vegan wagon?”
“Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t be guilty. My big thing is, it’s not about being plant perfect; it’s about being plant strong. Be plant strong, and know that by being plant strong, you are totally improving your health. One meal and one day at a time.”

That’s absolutely. It’s not all or nothing, just do as much good as you can. Eat healthily and you’ll become healthy. (However, that’s ONLY true for actual, healthy diets. For example, you can’t do Atkins half-way, you have to do it all the way to see the results. That’s because Atkins relies on tricking your body, not on nourishing your body. Atkins is NOT a health diet; it’s a weight-loss diet.)

But it’s also true for animals.  It’s not all or nothing, just do as much good as you can. If you accidentally consume or use something that has animal ingredients, it’s OK. Just learn from the mistake and move on. Being mostly vegan helps animals more than being mostly meat-eater.

So… what do you think about the idea of “plant strong”? Good marketing tool to help sell the health benefits of veganism to health conscious people and ultimately help more animals, too, or just another confusing dilution of veganism?

10 Responses to “Plant Strong” Not Vegan

  1. I adore the vegan life style and anyone who TRUELY follows it for it’s belifes, not just “diet” claim :0

    ~ Recent blog post: Happy Birthday to Me! :D ~

  2. My life changed when I went vegan. I became my own person. I became me. It was something meant to happen and I thank myself every moment in time for changing. I wish I never had eaten meat. Unfortunately my family was unaware and got sucked into the governments corruption, which our nation still lives in. We all need to wake up and see the lies which are covered up with false hopes and excuses.

  3. I’ve been plant strong for a year now. My main and only motive was health. It has nothing to do with “love” for animals or environment. Rip is doing an awesome job. Plant strong is not Rip’s diet. It is a main health movement that is growing. People are getting tired of being sick, hearing lame doctors and false drug commercials.

  4. “Plant Strong” is probably fine for someone just following a whole foods plant based diet for health reasons. If you aren’t doing it for the animals, you aren’t Vegan. Vegan is much more than diet. It is a commitment to living a compassionate life style. Eating a plant based diet does help animals and if it helps animals, I am all for it. Vegans, such as myself, on the other hand, are doing it for the other living beings we share the planet with. If it improves our health in the process- that is just a bonus!

  5. I like the movement and the name. I’ve also given up animal foods for health reasons. Though I eat a vegan diet, I have a hard time fitting in with the whole vegan lifestyle and the obvious hostility vegans have toward people who are not like them. I like the tone of your article. Do the best you can.

  6. Once you become ‘Plant Strong’ it is as if a great weight not only goes from your body, but also your mind. It is like being injected with a drug of happiness and contentment and food becomes a joy. You never feel ‘cravings’ and you never feel that you are searching for that elusive food high which is always followed by guilt or disappointment. It is, I believe, the answer of the future, both for the human race and the planet.

  7. I think the real difference between “plant strong” and vegan is that the whole foods/plant based diet calls for eating food that is not highly processed. A vegan diet is more likely to include groceries that are pre-made, and one of the messages (that I get, anyway) of the plant strong movement is that you make most of your food yourself from scratch.

    I am on a plant strong diet due to a cancer scare, not because of animal rights issues (although I do agree with many vegan values). Another major difference between being plant strong and vegan, and one that I have found to be a huge challenge, is the avoidance of both oil and sugar in a whole foods/plant based diet. Regardless of how you say it, I think that both ways of eating are terrific and help people share their values through food. I do use the words interchangeably, as did former President Clinton on David Letterman. You say vegan; I say plant-based. It’s all good for us, good for animals, and good for the planet.

  8. I found the vegan diet for my health, but I stay vegan for ethical reasons. It led me to information about the meat and dairy industry that made me take the plunge into full veganism.


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