Motivations of celebrity vegans range from animal welfare, health reasons, environmental impact and factory farming methods.
What makes someone who has everything go vegan? Many different reasons.
Being a vegan, or at least trying a plant-based diet, is a lifestyle that’s taking off in a big way. Here some successful and famous people — from politicians and Hollywood A-listers, to athletes and pop stars — who opted for a vegan diet, and their reasons for the change.
What is a vegan or plant-based diet and is there a difference?
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the ‘commodity status’ of animals. A follower of either the diet or the philosophy is known as a vegan. They don’t eat animal products, wear animal-derived products (like leather), or use products that have been tested on animals.
Like the vegan diet, people who eat a whole food plant-based diet avoid animal-based products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. However, unlike the vegan diet, processed foods, including oil, white flour, and refined sugar is not part of the diet. This way of eating is based around unprocessed or minimally processed vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Generally speaking, people’s motivation for adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle is prompted by animal rights issues and the ethical treatment of animals. People who follow a whole food plant-based diet generally do it for their health—either to prevent chronic illness and disease or reverse chronic illness and disease; this is why processed food isn’t included in this way of eating.
Note: While they both have the word “diet” in them, neither the vegan diet nor the whole food plant-based diet are diets at all. They are both styles of eating that have nothing to do with calorie restrictions or counting things like carbs and protein.
As you will see in the case of world record-holding strongman Patrik Baboumian (main photo) he actually put on weight and gained strength after switching from a vegetarian to vegan “diet”.
Here are 11 famous and successful vegans and their motivation for the switch.
In a nutshell: 3 reasons to cut down on meat even if you can’t cut it out altogether
1. Better Health Animal foods, especially red meat, are among the largest sources of saturated fats in our diet. Eliminating meat (beef, pork, lamb, poultry) one day a week can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease and some cancers. What’s more, “cutting down on meat encourages people to eat more vegetables,” says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, in New York City. Adding a serving of produce to your diet each day (say, ½ cup of melon or broccoli) may lower your risk of heart disease by 4% and your risk of stroke by 6%.
2. More Money in Your Pocket Consuming less meat boosts your bottom line. The average cost of a pound of sirloin is $6.20 compared with 90 cents for a 15-ounce can of beans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If a family of four replaces a steak dinner ($9.30 for 1½ pounds) with a fresh bean and vegetable salad ($1.80 for two cans of beans) once a week, they will save $7.50. After a year, that’s an extra $390 in savings.
3. A Greener Planet The livestock industry creates almost a fifth of all greenhouse gases and takes up 30% of the earth’s usable land, according to a United Nations report. (Vegetables and other produce don’t even come close.) Eliminate 1½lbs/0.7kg of meat (about what a family of four eats for dinner) once a week, says Gidon Eshel, a professor of physics at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, “and you’ll get almost the same benefits as trading in a standard sedan for an ultra-efficient Prius hybrid.”
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO A PLANT-BASED DIET
Find out more about a plant-based diet (they come in many forms) and see if it’s for you.