There are many reasons you might choose to go vegan. For many, it is simply based on an aversion to eating animals. The meat industry has been known for its cruelty, and the subject of eating meating remains a contentious moral debate. To those for whom animal welfare is a concern, cutting out animal products is an obvious lifestyle which doesn’t stop at food choices.
For others, it is the improved physical health and mental clarity of eating vegan that appeals to them. Red meat has been proven to increase the risk of heart disease, while processed meats are widely believed to be carcinogenic. But does cutting out all milk, eggs, cheese, gelatin, butter and meats really make you healthier, fitter and happier? Below are some famous vegans who swear that is the case.
The Zombieworld and True Detective actor may seem like a total tough guy – but he’s got a soft spot for animals. Initially, however, Harrelson’s transition to veganism was not brought on by a compassion for his fellow living creature. While riding the bus back from an audition in the early days of his career, a woman sitting next to him claimed she knew the cause of his runny nose and eczema. “You’re lactose-intolerant,” she told him.
Harrelson brushed off the comment at first, but became curious as to whether the woman on the bus could have been correct. He cut out milk products for three days and immediately saw his eczema and congestion clear up. This made the actor consider how cutting out other animal products might improve his health too.
Today, however, Harrelson highlight how veganism helps animals above all else. The actor owns his own vegetarian restaurant and brewery, and regularly appears in vegan campaign ads to further the message. He says, “in this world that is spinning madly out of control, we have to realize that we’re all related.”
One of the world’s most adored talk show hosts is an avid vegan and passionate about helping others make the transition. “I personally chose to go vegan because I educated myself on factory farming and cruelty to animals, and I suddenly realized that what was on my plate were living things, with feelings. And I just couldn’t disconnect myself from it any longer,” she said. The TV personality claims she is both happier and healthier after the lifestyle change.
The former president was put on a vegan diet by his personal doctor and nutritionist after a serious heart attack in 2010. Realizing that big lifestyle changes were needed if he was to prolong his life, Bill Clinton cut out all animal food products and combined this with exercising more. He quickly lost 30lbs and started feeling better.
His typical daily diet includes a large, berry and oat milk smoothie with protein powder in the morning. Lunch usually consists of green salad and beans. Dinner tends to be something centered around quinoa and veggie burgers. For snacking during the day, Clinton relies on nuts.
Anyone who puts Pamela down as a ‘dumb blonde’ clearly hasn’t heard about her passionate and informed campaigning for animal rights. She modelled for PETA’s “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign, frequently blogs about the benefits of veganism, and is currently planning to open a vegan fine dining restaurant in the south of France.
Famous for being the world’s most successful professional poker player, Negreanu is admired by many who like to think they could one day also make a living by frequenting the card tables. He was the youngest ever WSOP bracelet winner – a feat which earned him the nickname ‘Kid Poker’. But as Negreanu grew older, he found that his typical diet of beer, steak and pizza didn’t agree with him as much as it used to when he was younger.
Poker is a demanding game which requires great amounts of concentration and mental stamina. It is furthermore dangerous to be seated for several hours at a time (as one often does during poker tournaments) without a healthy blood flow. Negreanu knew that, if he was to remain at the top of his game, he needed to make some lifestyle changes.
First, the poker player went vegetarian, but found that he still felt sluggish after consuming cheese and other dairy products. After consulting a nutritionist and conducting a good deal of research, Negreanu embarked on a vegan lifestyle and has never looked back. He swears by the incredible health benefits of veganism, and describes the meat industry as ‘genocide’. He certainly seems to have an inspiring effect on other health-conscious poker players who are following suit (pun intended).
The parody artist and musician known as Weird Al may well be strange, but his reasons for going vegan aren’t. Al was given a book about vegetarianism by his now ex-girlfriend, which opened his eyes toward animal abuse and unsustainable farming. The singer strongly believes in veganism for health and environmental reasons, however does not advocate it as strongly as some because he believes it is a highly personal choice. He also admits to sometimes sneaking a slice of cheese pizza…
The Game of Thrones actor is a huge animal lover who is regularly spotted outdoors with his own beloved shelter dogs. Dinklage is also a devout vegan, and had joined forces with PETA for vegan adverts and documentaries. In any Game of Thrones scene where he appears to be eating meat, Dinklage is in fact enjoying a tofu-based lookalike.
Shattering the myth that vegans are frail and weak, the Olympic Gold winner Carl Lewis shows that you can be a superstar athlete and not eat meat. The sprinter made the lifestyle transition primarily for health reasons. He claims his best year of track competition was the same year he started eating vegan. “Moreover, by continuing to eat a vegan diet, my weight is under control, I like the way I look…I enjoy eating more, and I feel great,” Lewis says.
The biggest vegan celebrities certainly have some compelling arguments for switching to the diet – whether it be due to health, environmental or moral concerns. Though going vegan is not practical or even affordable for everyone, it’s worth considering the health benefits and clear conscience one might enjoy from cutting out at least some animal foods from their diet.