The careless way that we’ve eaten for decades has come under fire due to concerns about the environment and a shift in the scientific understanding of many health issues.
All these issues have directly led to the rise of a vegan lifestyle. Veganism started off as a somewhat niche form of vegetarianism. Today, millions of people around the world are trying to switch to plant-based vegan diets and lifestyles, and a star-studded array of celebrities are leading the charge with their very public support of veganism.
What Is Veganism?
Veganism is a lifestyle and philosophy that involves a complete rejection of animal products. This can be a response to the environmental impact of animal agriculture, or it might be a way to get healthy and achieve weight loss goals, or it might stem from the belief that animals don’t deserve to be farmed and slaughtered.
You can think of veganism as a more extreme form of vegetarianism, in that milk, eggs, honey, leather, and other animal products are rejected completely, on top of having a plant-based diet.
Veganism began in 1944 when Donald Watson founded the Vegan Society, an offshoot of the Vegetarian Society which started off as vegetarianism without dairy products, but evolved into a full-fledged animal-free philosophy over time.
Animal agriculture is one major contributor to two primary environmental issues that affect the planet: access to clean water, and global warming.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, cattle farms around the world annually contribute as much as 7.1 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to animal feed production, manure decomposition, and cattle emissions. All this amounts to 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions!
Veganism also has plenty of health benefits. The Vegan Society states that “research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.”
Of course, while plant-based diets contain healthy alternatives to modern, heavily-processed foods, they may cause deficiencies in some nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Athletes may want to consider taking supplements if they decide to go vegan.
Veganism Today, And The Celebrities Behind It
In the 2010s, veganism shot up in popularity, mainly because of the previous decade’s organic and artisan food movements. In fact, The Economist decided to call 2019, ‘The Year of the Vegan.’
Today, you can find a vegan restaurant in almost every city in the world. Vegan diet plan deliveries are at an all-time high, and even vegan dessert is selling like hotcakes—without the eggs, of course.
Veganism is perhaps most visible in the actors, actresses, pop stars, and other celebs who support it.
These famous vegans promote their lifestyle to millions of fans to help spread the plant-based gospel. Here’s a list of some of the biggest vegan celebrities, and how they got started with veganism.
8. Venus Williams
Legendary tennis player, Venus Williams has been on a raw vegan since her diagnosis with an autoimmune disease. She’s one of the growing ranks of raw vegan celebrities who are even rejecting cooking their food.
7. Ruby Rose
Best known for her work on Orange is the New Black and John Wick, Ruby Rose is one of the most outspoken vegans on this list. She suggests veganism to people who want to help in the fight against climate change, and really, really hates rodeos. She was even voted one of PETA’s Sexiest Vegans of 2017.
Ruby revealed during an appearance on Shark Week that she first considered veganism as a child because of an encounter with shark’s fin soup. “I thought that it was even worse that they just cut the fins off and the sharks were out there not able to move. That really scared me and I used to have nightmares that they were finless in the ocean and I couldn’t eat any fish ever again,” she said.
6. Evanna Lynch
Just like her character, Luna Lovegood, whom she plays on Harry Potter, Evanna Lynch loves animals. While she might not be a wizarding naturalist or ‘Magizoologist’ like Luna, Evanna defends real-life animals through her vegan activism.
Evanna has been a vegan since 2015, and had been a vegetarian since she was 11 years old. Today, she runs a pro-veganism podcast called The ChickPeeps, and has participated in some serious vegan activism, such as undergoing animal testing herself!
5. Ariana Grande
With an entire Wikipedia page devoted to the awards she’s received, there’s no denying that Ariana Grande is one of the biggest names in pop.
So it’s all the more important that she promotes veganism to her fans. She became a vegan in 2013, in an interview with Mirror she said: "I love animals more than I love most people, not kidding,”.
4. Ellen Page
Ellen Page’s filmography definitely makes her out as one of the most uniquely flexible actresses in Hollywood.
As a lesbian, feminist, and vegan, her life choices are similarly admirable. Her vegan lifestyle and public stance against factory farming earned her the female award for PETA awards for Sexiest Vegetarians of 2014, with the male win going to Jared Leto.
3. Kate Winslet
With her legendary role as Rose in Titanic, as well as the rare achievement of nabbing the triple threat of Academy, Emmy, and Grammy Awards, Kate Winslet is one of the biggest stars ever. She was even nominated one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2009.
But if that wasn’t enough to make you love her—Kate Winslet’s a vegan too, along with her husband Ned Rocknroll. She even narrated a vegan documentary called Eating Our Way To Extinction.
From Leon: The Professional to Star Wars and Thor, Natalie Portman has been a household name for longer than many younger actresses’ have been alive! Oh, and she’s a Harvard grad with a neuroscience paper credit to her name.
She also lives a partial vegan lifestyle, which she credited to the documentary Eating Animals, and now rejects the use of animal products. She even had her own line of shoes made with vegan products. Although in terms of diet, she’s an ex-vegan. Natalie had to go back to dairy and egg products after major pregnancy cravings.
1. Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde is well-known for her roles in both film (Tron: Legacy, Alpha Dog) and television (House), but just as notable is her activist work. Her political, feminist, and charitable work have earned her praise, and her vegetarian lifestyle was enough to earn her a spot as yet another PETA award winner on this list, this time as 2010’s Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity.
In 2012, she told Huffington Post that she’s a vegan, saying that it’s “...not always easy and accessible, but it's a way of life and makes me as a person feel really good and physically look better.” She went on to say that her skin and energy improved a lot! The ‘before and after’ was apparently remarkable.