World Vegetarian Day: Meet the celebrities who have made vegetarianism a way of life
From Anushka Sharma and Kangana Ranaut to Christina Applegate and Shania Twain, these celebrities are espousing the cause of vegetarianism and veganism.
All over the world, a large number of people are turning vegetarian. And it is simply not a fad! Apart from the cruelty-to-animals angle, the health benefits of adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle cannot be ignored.
HerStory presents a few celebrity vegetarians who have chosen a meat-free way of life, and are walking the talk when it comes to vegetarianism.
Actor Anushka Sharma became a vegetarian four years ago when she declared, “I am Anushka Sharma, and I’m a vegetarian,” in a campaign she shot for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. In an interview, she also said since her pet Dude hated the smell of meat, the switch to vegetarianism was also a change in lifestyle. Her enthusiasm also seems to have rubbed off husband and cricketer Virat Kohli, who turned vegan recently to improve his fitness levels.
"Going vegetarian was one of the best decisions I ever made. I have more energy, I feel healthier, and I'm so happy that no animals had to suffer for my meals.”
Once a hardcore meat-eater, Kangana Ranaut turned vegetarian and then a dietary vegan a few years ago. She believes veganism is deeply rooted in Indian tradition, and it’s not difficult to source ingredients for a vegan diet. She says that she wants to be an ethical vegan at some point in time, but her work, lifestyle, and travels do not allow her to be one in the present. She advocates lots of fruits and nuts in the daily diet.
“Veganism as a way of life is deeply rooted in the Indian ethos. I switched to being a vegan and this has made a lot of difference in my life. I am very happy now.”
Heroes star Hayden Panettiere is a hero in other ways, too! She is one of the favourite vegetarians the public roots for. Hayden, together with her former boyfriend Milo Ventimiglia, earned the respect and praise of PETA for their vegetarian lifestyle. However, she has been lately criticised for signing a contract with the brand Dooney and Bourke. Let’s see how she makes up with her vegetarian fans!
“A lot of people in this world will say they are involved in causes and organisations, but they don't actually do something. It was a great feeling to be there physically (for the dolphins), making a difference.”
A well-known PETA activist, Alicia Silverstone is a nature and animal lover, and has featured in many of their campaigns. She is a hardcore animal rights activist and vegan. The fitness freak also claims that her vegetarian diet has made her feel healthier than ever before and has given her a lot of self-control. She prefers tofutti (fake cream cheese), soy products, rice milk, tofu, vegetables, salads, and fruits in her regular diet. She was also one of the first celebrities to go public about her vegan diet long before it became a trend.
“Being vegan truly is the secret to my life’s joy and peace. I feel physically and spiritually better than I could have ever imagined knowing that I am doing everything I can to reduce animal suffering with simple lifestyle choices like being vegan, never wearing any products made from animals (like wool and leather), and buying only from companies that never test their products or ingredients on animals.”
Do you remember country crooner and American Idol winner Carrie Underwood wearing a ‘V is for Vegetarian’ T-shirt on American Idol? She became an instant hit with vegetarians worldwide. Though she grew up on a farm in Oklahoma, she was never a big meat-eater, saying rather jocularly that she would rather sing to cows than eat them.
“Ever since I was little, I loved animals. They depend on people to take care of them. If you told me I could never sing again, I'd say that was horrible, but it's not my life. If you told me I could never be around animals again, I would just die.”
Here’s a vegetarian who’s almost vegan… and the good thing is that actress Natalie Portman has her own vegan shoe line. She has been a strict vegetarian since the age of eight, “reformed” after seeing a demonstration of laser surgery on a chicken at a medical conference with her father. She does not eat meat of any kind, avoids all animal products, and has been trying to phase out eggs. She refuses to wear leather but prefers wool. Her stylish vegan shoe line is dazzling, playful, elegant, and free of animal products, each pair exuding the actress’s own personal style.
“I am a very strict vegetarian. … I just really, really love animals, and I act on my values”.
The crooner was the first star to be named the Sexiest Vegetarian Alive by PETA voters. She wasn’t a born vegetarian but hasn’t eaten an animal since she married long-time vegetarian Mutt Lunge. She likes her veggies and a lot of pasta too. Though she has been generally described as a vegetarian, she has herself called herself a vegan in many magazines.
“I eat a lot of tofu, and I drink soy shakes with fruit every morning. I always have soybeans, black beans, or chickpeas for lunch or dinner.”
She is the spokesperson for PETA’s campaign against fur titled, “Fur: Get Me Not.” The turning point (when she became vegetarian) came when she saw blood on a plate on the sets of Married with Children and was repelled by the whole idea of eating meat. PETA does a lot of provocative things to grab attention, but Christina does not think so. She feels that with causes like this, one has to shout to get heard.
“I looked down and there was blood on my plate, and it was that realisation, that I can’t eat something that has been alive, I just can’t do it. So I stopped, and that was it. That was the last time.”
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)