How is PBWF different than “vegetarian,” “vegan,” etc.?
First, I admire you for taking the plunge and trying it! It was very foreign to me when I started. I had my doubts about cooking (I don't like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen) and I had spent my life eating comfort foods like macaroni & cheese. They were easy to prepare and my children loved them.
To answer your question, vegan only means it doesn't come from an animal. It doesn't mean it's healthy. Cotton candy is vegan. Vegetarian usually means no meat or fish but could include dairy and eggs.
Plant-based whole foods (PBWF) means part of the plant hasn't been removed (usually the fiber) and no partial plant material has been added (usually sugar). It makes it very simple. Virtually all plant-based whole foods are very healthy.
Dr. Greger is my favorite doctor and he does a good job of explaining it all quickly: