This just in: being healthy is now (finally) in-style! 2014 appears to be a big year for vegans, with many people switching to the veggie-based lifestyle (according to PETA, veganism has doubled in the past few years). Celebrities are in the news ever more frequently announcing their change of diet. While everyone’s opinions differ on those in the limelight, there is no doubt that famous folk are helping to get the word out there on healthy, plant-based diets. Here’s a brief list of some of the most famous vegans.
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
Ellen and her wife, Portia, both went vegan back in 2008, because they are animal lovers. Ellen says that after watching several documentaries and reading a few educational books, that she couldn’t continue eating meat. According to the Associated Press (as reported by Ecorazzi), the treatment of chickens in mass food production was a huge sticking point for her. She has since added a section to her website focusing on vegan recipes and tips for sticking to the lifestyle.
Ellen has recently come under fire for admitting to using eggs on rare occasions, saying on one episode of her show that her neighbor raises chickens and sometimes will give some eggs to her and Portia. This caused a small uproar in the vegan community, since this technically means she’s not ‘totally’ vegan. However, as it’s such an infrequent occurrence and she is strongly promoting the vegan cause and animal rights, I’m more than willing to give her a pass. What do you think? Does this make Ellen less of a vegan in your mind?
Regardless of any controversy, both Ellen and Portia have undoubtedly become influential figures in the fight against animal cruelty, one veggie-filled meal at a time.
A few years ago, former President Clinton switched over to a vegan lifestyle due to health issues: he suffers from heart problems that run in his family and underwent a quadruple bypass surgery (wow!) in 2004, according to CNN. He reportedly lost over 20 pounds and is now happier and healthier than ever, and all his blood tests confirm that. He’s living proof of the health benefits of becoming an herbivore.
He’s a great example of the fact that veganism isn’t just a way to drop a few pounds – it’s a lifestyle that leads to better overall health. It’s not enough to go meat-free just for a movie role to slim down; it takes commitment and time. Though Clinton arguably didn’t have much of an option (unless he chose heart disease), he seems to be thoroughly enjoying his new menu and isn’t missing his omnivoric ways. I applaud him for putting in the effort and making a positive, though difficult, change for the better!
While former Vice President Al Gore has remained mostly silent on his switch to veganism, it shouldn’t come as a shock to those who have followed the Democrat’s politics. He’s always been extremely devoted to environmental issues, and has gone on the record saying that the meat industry and its part in producing excess CO2 gas plays a role in the worsening of global warming, according to NPR. He believes this is the biggest issue facing us, as a nation, right now. He’s taken gradual steps over the years to decrease his meat consumption as an effort to decrease his role in furthering the meat industry. Really, it’s surprising he didn’t do it sooner, but some people have better luck easing themselves into big changes, while some do better going cold turkey. It’s like getting into a cold pool – personally, I always have to jump in or else I’ll never be able to do it. What do you think? Leave me a note below.
Actress and Harvard graduate Natalie Portman is also a firm vegan. According to Ecorazzi, Portman says she’s been vegan or vegetarian since she was nine years old. She is a big animal lover and says that the highly-documented torture and murder of animals in the food industry is unacceptable. She was extremely influenced by Jonathan Safran Foer’s book “Eating Animals.” Portman also had a strictly vegan wedding in 2012 in keeping with her strong beliefs on the subject.
Though she’s been totally meat-free for 20 years, Natalie said she craved dairy while she was pregnant, and reverted back to vegetarianism until she gave birth, when she promptly resumed cutting out dairy as well. This was another area of contention in the community, but really, who can really blame a pregnant woman for her cravings? I know I can’t! The fact that she’s so outspoken about her beliefs makes her a great role model, despite any 9-month slip-ups.
Actress Alicia Silverstone is also an animal-lover who has been a vegan for over 10 years. In an interview with Oprah, she says that the change wasn’t easy at first, but she feels better about what she eats now. In addition, she’s healthier as a result: her plant-based diet has helped her maintain her weight, cure her acne, strengthen her nails, and made her stronger overall. She is the author of The Kind Diet, where she shares ethical vegan recipes that are kind to animals, the environment, and your own health.
It’s interesting that she notes that she became vegan for animal rights, but gushes over the health benefits she’s noticed since. Have you noticed any of these welcome side-effects like Alicia Silverstone? Please comment!
Woody Harrelson is also a proponent of a plant-based lifestyle – he even attempts to eat plenty of raw fruits and veggies to get the most nutrients. According to VeganPeace, he says he got started with his veganism in his twenties when a stranger on a bus told him that if he gave up dairy, his acne and congestion would clear up. Sure enough, it did, and he gradually removed meat and other animal products from his diet as well, for both health and moral reasons. He currently lives on a eco-farm in Hawaii.
He also works to stop animal testing, as he says that it’s an ‘unconscious’ choice for consumers to harm animals. He raises a great point here – most people probably don’t even think about the animals who are tested on when they put on their makeup. Personally, I use LUSH for a lot of soaps and cosmetics, because it makes me feel better knowing they don’t test on animals and package all of their products in reused bottles. Do you seek out companies that you know don’t test on animals, like Woody suggests?
These are only a few of the many celebrities who are currently meat- and dairy-free – for life. These aren’t the folks who are just doing it for a fad diet or to quickly drop a few pounds (ahem, Beyonce); they have totally committed to a life change because of either strong moral or health reasons. Because of that, they’re great role models. They have their differences, of course, whether their reason for going vegan is for health reasons, animal rights, or the environment. Some even started for health reasons and became advocates for animal rights (or the other way around). Despite their differing motivations, they all have made a great choice for their health and for the benefit of the world and are happier and healthier than ever. Their outspoken ways about the impact of their diet and lifestyle can only help promote the popularity of veganism. They really show what can be accomplished when you stick to your beliefs. Good job, guys!
*Photos in featured image used with permission (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike). Woody Harrelson photo by Steve Rodgers. Ellen Degeneres photo by Angela George. Photos edited only to crop and resize.