Vegan vs. Plant-Based: What’s the Difference? (Episode 83)

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Welcome to our blog! We haven’t thought to promote it before, assuming people would dig deeper and find it, but several people pointed out they didn’t know about it so we thought we’d tell you.

All of our videos have an associated blog post with more pictures, context, details and links to relevant information and businesses. If you ever have a question that we didn’t cover in the video, check the blog post linked in the YouTube description. It might be there.

This video is a response, of sorts, to the rash of “ex-vegan” YouTube “celebrities.” Several, including Rawvana and Raw Alignment, have said they’re eating animal products due to health issues caused by their previous “vegan” diets, which were extreme fad diets that happened to be vegan.

These people were never actually vegan, though. They lacked the vegan ideology and mainly focused on the diet/vanity aspects related to being thin. Additionally, many of them were using veganism to hide an eating disorder for which they need to seek professional help.

Veganism Defined

A lot of people (especially celebrities who are paid by the animal ag industry) like to redefine veganism to paint vegans as hypocrites. However, there is a clear definition of the vegan ideology that was written more than 40 years ago. It states:

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

The key phrase in this definition is “as far as is possible and practicable.” It’s impossible to be a perfect vegan in a world built on top of animal exploitation. All we can do is try our best to avoid most animal products “as far as is possible and practicable.”

Just because we have to get a vaccine that’s made using eggs doesn’t make us hypocrites. Unfortunately, the companies who make vaccines are resistant to adopt vegan methodologies because it costs money to switch their production systems over, so we’re stuck with what they offer.

The same goes for bugs and small animals killed during the harvesting of our crops. There are ways to reduce the impact of our farming methodologies on insects and animals, but they’re more expensive so most companies haven’t adopted them.

With that said, nearly 80% of all land on this tiny planet is used to either raise livestock or the grain that’s fed to livestock, which yields less than 20% of the calories we consume. So if you really want to reduce the number of insects and small animals killed during farming, go vegan.

The Plant-Based Diets

Veganism is NOT a diet. But it does have a major dietary component because we eat several times per day. Just like with the omnivore diet, there are several different types of plant-based diets:

  • Fruitarian Diet – only eats fruit.
  • Raw Vegan Diet – only eats uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.
  • Vegan Junk Food Diet – doesn’t care about health; eats anything as long as it doesn’t come from an animal.
  • Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Diet – basically, the Mediterranean Diet without animal products; lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and mushrooms.
  • WFPB No-Oil – WFPB without any oil (olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, etc.).
  • WFPB No SOS – WFPB without any added sugar, oil or salt.
  • Starch-Based Diet – Dr. McDougall’s version of a WFPB No SOS diet that focuses on complex carbs like potatoes and whole grains.
  • Nutritarian Diet – Dr. Fuhrman’s diet that allows small amounts of animal products but is primarily a WFPB Diet.

There are others, plus some people opt for water fasts, juice fasts and intermittent fasting.

However, NONE of this has anything to do with veganism. They’re diets that happen to be vegan or mostly vegan, and just like all the omnivore diets (Mediterranean, Atkins, Keto, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Zone, South Beach, DASH, etc.), some have been scientifically proven to be healthier than others.

Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) No-Oil Diet

After extensive research and reading, we opted for the WFPB No-Oil Diet promoted by many doctors and scientists, such as Dr. Greger, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Popper, Dr. Garth Davis, Dr. Neal Barnard and many others.

We have a LONG blog post on LottaVeg.com listing our Credible Nutrition Sources and we also share our criteria for selecting them. We encourage you to read through that blog post and develop your own criteria for choosing who to trust.

Credible Nutrition Sources Banner

Please keep in mind that just because someone publishes a book doesn’t mean it’s true; it only means the publisher thought the book would sell. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called experts misrepresent the science to sell books, supplements and diet programs that don’t work in reality. Trust no one.

We also have a list of the Best Plant-Based Books for a Longer, More Vibrant Life over on LottaVeg.com. If you want to know the science behind our diet, we encourage you to read two or three of these books.

Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis is a good place to start because he goes into detail about how to spot bogus, corporate junk science. If heart disease is a concern for you, skip straight to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Recommended Plant-Based Books Covers

That’s the difference between our diet and most other diets: there are dozens, probably hundreds of doctors and scientists who study it and use it to treat their patients. It’s not one guy who published a book that misrepresents the science in order to profit from your confusion.

They may not agree on all the fine details, but they all agree on the main premise: eat plants, not animals. We evolved from primates who eat plant-based diets. We didn’t evolve from lions and tigers and bears.

Unsavory Truth

If you want to know why we don’t trust science paid for and/or conducted by corporations or industry associations, please read Unsavory Truth by Dr. Marion Nestle (no relation to the food company). She has made it her life’s work to uncover corruption in the food industry, and it’s far more insidious than we ever thought.

Unsavory Truth Nestle

Studies funded by any industry, including beef, diary, egg, nut, avocado, olive oil, pomegranate, cereal, blueberry, etc. cannot be trusted. Whether plant or animal, food studies funded by industry are setup to sell more products; not discover scientific truth.

Other Useful “Ex-Vegan” Response Videos

GojiMan

Mic the Vegan

Plant Based News

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Yoga in the Park + 3 Year Veganversary (Episode 78)

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We celebrated our 3-Year Veganversary over the weekend! We went vegan on March 8th, 2016 and haven’t looked back! We did several fun things to celebrate our compassionate, environmentally friendly and healthy lifestyle, and we share a couple of them with you in this video.

We also just passed 500 subscribers on our Vegans Abroad YouTube Channel! Thank you all for subscribing and continuing to watch our videos! They’re quite the labor of love so knowing so many people enjoy them makes it all worthwhile!

Yoga in the Park with Olesya

You may recognize Olesya from this Food With Friends video or the 2nd Food With Friends video, but she’s also an amazing yoga instructor. In fact, Amelia says she’s the best she’s ever had!

Olesya Amelia

The yoga style in this video was relaxing and restorative, but she also teaches much more difficult yoga that gets the heart pumping and the sweat rolling. It all depends on which class you attend.

You can visit her facebook page at Yoga con Olesya en Cuenca for her schedule or to contact her about her upcoming classes or private training.

3-Year Veganversary Dinner at Fratello Vegan

We thought celebrating our 3-Year Veganversary at Fratello with our good vegan friend, Rosy, was apropos.

Fratello Sign

Amelia Rosy

Rosy was our very first vegan friend in Ecuador, and our VERY FIRST subscriber on our Vegans Abroad YouTube Channel! She subscribed before we even launched our channel and now we just passed 500 subscribers! It’s really hard to believe!

Our dinner at Fratello Vegan was delicious as usual. We hung out with Rosy and ate her brother’s amazing vegan food for almost 3 hours! I messaged Rene on Facebook the day before to order a small vegan chocolate cake for our Veganversary.

Fratello normally has a cake on-hand, but Amelia really wanted our own oil-free chocolate cake. If you want something special, it’s best to message Rene a day in advance. This cake was moist, decacadent and utterly delicious!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

The Impact of Veganism on Our Lives

We didn’t go vegan on a whim. We spent several months researching the diet aspects because we were raised to believe humans would die without eating meat, dairy and eggs. It took a lot of documentaries and reading to reverse a lifetime of brainwashing from animal ag marketing messages. Sometimes, I’m still shocked that we haven’t died of some nutrient deficiency yet!

Here are the Best Food Documentaries and Other Mind Altering Films that we recommend. And here are the Best Plant-Based Books for a Longer, More Vibrant Life that we recommend.

While veganism isn’t a diet, food is a really big part of being vegan. We don’t buy shoes or coats or cosmetics every day, but we do buy food every day so it’s always on the top of our mind.

We choose to eat a vegan Whole-Foods Plant-Based (WFPB) Diet, a term coined by Dr. T. Colin Campbell back in the early 1980’s. We eat NO animal products of any kind, and we avoid all processed foods, including oil, which is a processed, refined fat just like sugar is a processed refined carb. This way of eating has dramatically improved our health while leading to significant weight loss.

JP’s Weight Loss as a Vegan & WFPB

Before we went vegan, I weighed in at 197 pounds! At 5’10”, that’s borderline obese.

JP Before Vegan

After 3 years of being vegan, I’m down to 164 pounds and a size 30 jeans! I haven’t been this thin since before I graduated college in my early 20’s! Taking all that weight off my spine has also enabled me to be more mobile while reducing the level of pain I feel on a daily basis.

JP 3 Years Vegan

Amelia’s Weight Loss as a Vegan & WFPB

Amelia has seen a similar transformation. She weighed 130 pounds before we went vegan and WFPB. At 5 feet tall, that’s considered overweight.

Amelia Before Vegan

After 3 years of being vegan, Amelia has lost 25 pounds and now weighs only 105 pounds! She hasn’t been this thin since her early twenties, as well!

Amelia 3 Years Vegan

We’ve lost the weight slowly over the last 3 years, and we’ve kept it off because our diet is ideal for both losing weight and keeping it off. Combined with our “big why” to reduce animal suffering and protect our planet from environmental destruction, it has been very easy to stick with it.

Like I said before, veganism isn’t a diet (even though food is a big part of it). Rather, veganism is an ethical stance to cause the least amount of harm, as is practicable and possible, to innocent animals and our environment. Therefore, we don’t have “cheat days” because that would mean we would be violating our own ethical and moral standards.

By not having cheat days on our ethics, we also don’t have cheat days on our diet. The worst things we consume are oil (sometimes when we eat out) and beer/wine. Those are the only two things we consume that are unhealthy, and we try to avoid them as much as possible.

Improved Cholesterol Numbers

It’s not just about the weight loss, though. Our total cholesterol levels are under 200 without a statin. I have a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol and have been battling it most of my adult life. The only time it went below 200 before going vegan was thanks to a high dose of Simvastatin, a drug that I NEVER want to take again! The side effects were horrible!

Despite what the dairy, beef and egg industries would have you believe, we’ve known for 80 years that high blood serum cholesterol leads to cardiovascular disease. And since the 1960’s, we’ve known that dietary cholesterol, and especially saturated fat, increases blood serum cholesterol.

The blockages present in the vast majority of Americans is literally made of oxidized cholesterol, which can be cleaned out by eating a WFPB diet that’s free of cholesterol laden animal foods and low in saturated fat.

Heart disease kills over 600,000 Americans each year, but you don’t have to be one of them. We recommend reading Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book, Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease for details about how to prevent, arrest and reverse the number one killer of people eating the Standard American Diet.

The Impact of Our Veganism on Our Planet

During our 3 years of being vegan, we have dramatically reduced our environmental footprint on this tiny blue and green planet. In 3 years, Amelia and I have saved:

3 Year Vegan Stats

These numbers come from The Vegan Calculator, which is based on stats from the documentary, Cowspiracy. If you’re skeptical about these numbers, great! We encourage you to do some independent, unbiased research. These numbers are corroborated by countless scientists and international organizations much to the chagrin of animal ag, which has paid for their own biased research.

When doing your research, please consider the source. Industry funded research is seldom reliable, whether it relates to plants or animals. We recommend reading Unsavory Truth by Marion Nestle to better understand how insidious corporate junk science has become. You simply can’t trust anything until you understand the study methodology and conclusions.

Vegans for Life

After 3 years of being vegan, our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner. Both Amelia and I considered going vegan many years ago, but never pulled the trigger. We were too afraid of the unknown. But once we realized how horribly the animals suffer, how destructive animal ag is to our environment, and how unhealthy animal products are for human health, adopting a vegan lifestyle became unavoidable. We just couldn’t continue living as hypocrites once we knew better.

This brings us to a quote by Maya Angelou that I mentioned at the end of the video, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We try to live our lives by this guiding principal. We’re far from perfect, but we’re doing the best we can. And each day, we try to do a little better. That’s all any of us can hope to do.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Is It Easy to Be Vegan in Cuenca Ecuador? (Episode 76)

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A few of our viewers have asked us, “Is it easy to be vegan in Cuenca Ecuador?” So we thought we’d record a video discussing this topic. We think it’s VERY easy to be vegan in Cuenca, and here are our top 7 reasons why: 😎

#1 Colorful Mercados

Mercado 27 de Febrero Organic Market Cuenca Ecuador

The mercados in Cuenca and throughout Ecuador are like vegan candy stores. They’re loaded with all the colorful fruits and veggies that we love to eat, and they’re extremely affordable. We spend about $20/week on produce at the mercados, which used to cost us around $100/week back in the states for lower quality, less flavorful fruits and veggies.

#2 Vegan & Vegan-friendly Restaurants

Zatua Miski Smoothie Bowl

When we first arrived in Cuenca, Fratello Vegan was the only fully vegan restaurant. Now we also have Café Libre and Zatua Miski, plus several vegetarian restaurants. Plus, nearly every non-vegan restaurant has a vegan and/or vegetarian section on the menu. It’s SUPER easy to eat out as vegans in Cuenca.

Here’s our list of the best vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Cuenca Ecuador:

The best vegan-friendly restaurants in Cuenca Ecuador:

Plus the vegetarian restaurants we haven’t tried yet:

#3 No Negative Vegan Stigma

Unlike in the states, people here haven’t been brainwashed by animal ag for the past 100 years to think that animal products are healthy. No Ecuadorian has asked us where we get our protein or if we get enough to eat. The attitude here is that a vegan diet is healthy. A common response we hear when we say we’re vegan is, “That’s great. I need to eat healthier, too.”

All of our doctors (GP, neurosurgeon, physical therapist, OBGYN) know that a plant-based diet is healthy. My GP asked if I’m taking B12, which should be recommended for everyone, not just vegans. And he tested my calcium levels, which are in the normal range. Our doctors didn’t say anything negative or derogatory about the vegan plant-based diet and they weren’t at all concerned about our health from eating it.

The traditional Ecuadorian diet is a starch-based diet. They eat lots of fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, rice and potatoes, while meat, dairy and eggs are used as a garnish. Animal products have not traditionally been the central component of meals, although that has been changing over the past 10 years as the country becomes wealthier.

And guess what… Along with the increase in consumption of animal products and processed foods, we’re also seeing an increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and all the other preventable western diseases of affluence. It’s a very sad development here.

#4 Vegan Skin Care in Cuenca Ecuador

Vegan Skin Care Cuenca

You may have seen our earlier video on Vegan Skin Care here in Cuenca, featuring our fellow vegan friend, Dr. Rosy. In addition to Rosy’s skin care treatments, there are also several stores that sell vegan and cruelty free beauty products. One that’s very close to our house is called Annoa. The husband designs and makes the products, and his wife runs the store.

#5 Volunteer at Dog Rescues

Dog Rescue Cuenca

We featured Los Amigos de Manolo in another video, but there are at least two other dog rescues in Cuenca Ecuador and they all welcome volunteers and donations. If you’re really ambitious, we could use a farm animal rescue here!

#6 Growing Vegan Community

Group End 1 Cube of Truth Cuenca Ecuador

When we first moved here, Rosy was the only vegan we knew. Since then, we’ve met more long-term vegans from Ecuador, as well as new vegans and vegans from other parts of the world. We’re excited to see the vegan community growing here, and we’re hoping to grow it even more.

#7 Vegan Activism

Cube of Truth 3 Cuenca Ecuador

We conduct Anonymous for the Voiceless Cube of Truth peaceful street activism events on a semi-regular basis so if you’re interested in activism, Cuenca has those opportunities for you, as well. There are also slaughterhouse vigils and movie showings. Rosy showed Okja at Fratello and she’s planning a showing of Dominion en La Universidad de Cuenca.

If you have any questions about vegan products or services here in Cuenca, or anything relating to living as vegans in Cuenca, please let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Vegan Skin Care in Cuenca Ecuador with Dr. Rosy (Episode 67)

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What has Amelia talked me into now?!!! 😄😂🤣

Our good friend and vegan doctor, Rosy, gave us both facials in this video. The treatments that Rosy has given Amelia have removed lots of skin damage. Amelia may not look it, but she’s 50 years old! Our whole-food plant-based diet combined with Rosy’s vegan chemical peels have literally taken years off of Amelia’s appearance.

Vegan Skin Care Cuenca Rosy & Amelia

With my fair skin, I’ve had a lifelong battle with the sun. Several years ago, I did a multi-week chemical peel prescribed by a dermatologist back in the States to remove the pre-cancer cells covering my entire face. It was a long and very painful process. It left my face a bright shade of red for months. It did work, though. All those pesky pre-cancer cells were destroyed.

Vegan Skin Care Cuenca Rosy & JP

However, I prefer Rosy’s approach. It’s much less painful and didn’t leave my skin discolored. Hopefully I can avoid the need for the harsher treatments in the future by staying on top of my skin damage now.

Coconut oil only blocks about 20% of UV rays making it about an SPF 5 so it’s not the most effective option for blocking the harmful effects of the sun. However, if you dislike using chemical sunscreens that have been tested on animals, it’s better than nothing, especially combined with a physical screen such as a hat and umbrella.

If you’d like to contact Rosy for a facial or a plant-based nutrition assessment, you can reach her through her Facebook page: Vegan Health Cuenca – Plant Based Nutrition, Aesthetics & Health. Please tell her Amelia and JP sent you!

We showed you the vegan tattoos that both Rosy and Amelia got at Topo Tattoo here in Cuenca, Ecuador. You can view that video here: Amelia’s Hummingbird Tattoo from Topo Tattoo in Cuenca Ecuador.

Rosy's Vegan Tattoo

Amelia's Hummingbird Tattoo

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Why We’re Still Vegan // Our “No Longer Vegan” Response (Episode 65)

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In response to a handful of YouTubers who have said they’re no longer vegan, we felt it was necessary to post a video saying why we’re still vegan and always will be.

We don’t talk about veganism a lot on our YouTube channel because we prefer to live by example rather than potentially alienate pre-vegans with militant messaging. We avoided veganism for many years due to the negative stigma created by well-meaning people who think the best way to wake people up is by force. That didn’t work for us so we’re taking a more positive, inspirational and educational approach.

We have Netflix to thank for our awakening. We watched more than a dozen food, environment and vegan related documentaries, which made us aware of the atrocities being hidden from us so people continue to buy profitable products. Education and awareness is what convinced us to go vegan; not angry vegans yelling at us.

So if you’re like us and prefer to change your opinions and beliefs based on verifiable information and rational thought, here are some resources we recommend:

Recommended Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet Books

We have a long list of recommended books and reviews on our sister website, LottaVeg.com: Best Plant-Based Books for a Longer, More Vibrant Life.

Recommended Food, Environment and Vegan Documentaries

We have a long list of other recommended documentaries on our sister website, LottaVeg.com: Best Food Documentaries & Other Mind Altering Films.

We also referenced That Vegan Couple in our video. You can find their YouTube Channel here…

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!