I remember watching a popular television talk show where the host had a slew of top-level Hollywood stars on as guests. These were real A-lister types, extremely well-known superstars. Anyway, the host of the show brought on pizza for them to eat, as kind of a funny gag. What happened next amazed me. The actors were suddenly extremely reluctant to eat the pizza, but they didn't want to seem "too good" for pizza on live TV, so they were caught in a kind of dilemma. One extremely well-known actor decided to manually scrape off the cheese before eating his slice. Others simply refused to eat it altogether. After seeing this I started to wonder, are these real people, or are they robots? Do they even require sustenance?
The truth is that actors take their diets extremely seriously, and for good reason. Their health is very important to them, because their body is their career. If they start to look old too quickly, they lose out on many potential roles. The entertainment industry is incredibly harsh, and expects all people on the big screen to look like picture-perfect super humans. So these actors who were presented with a pizza on the talk show were not being snobbish, they simply cared about their health.
As it turns out, many actors have made the choice to become Vegan for this very reason- they are trying to take care of their bodies. Many studies suggest that this type of diet can reduce the risk of cancer and a huge variety of other illnesses, as well as actually prolonging one's lifespan. So is it any wonder why so many actors are Vegan?
10 Brad Pitt
One of the most well-known actors in Hollywood, Brad Pitt, has been a staunch Vegan for quite some time now. His reasons for becoming Vegan are in part due to the health benefits of such a diet, but that is not the only reason for his lifestyle choice. He is also a supporter of a Vegan way of life because of the negative environmental effects of raising livestock.
Many people support environmentalist movements and are against carbon emissions, but did you know that agriculture is the number one cause of carbon and methane emissions into our atmosphere? Raising animals produces a huge amount of organic waste that releases huge amounts of methane, which environmentalist experts say is a leading cause of climate change. This is reportedly a source of conflict in his family, because Angelina Jolie is not Vegan and neither are their children.
9 9. Joaquin Phoenix
Out of all the big names in Hollywood, Joaquin Phoenix probably holds the record for being Vegan the longest. That's because this high-achieving actor began his Vegan lifestyle at the age of three. He can even remember the exact moment when he made the choice to change his lifestyle forever to better serve animals. According to Joaquin, he was on a fishing trip with his father and three siblings, when he saw the cruelty involved in seeing a fish his father had caught squirm and struggle as it was dying. He and his siblings vowed never to eat meat again, and were adamant in asking their parents why they would do such a thing. In his words, "...we said, ‘Why didn’t you tell us that’s where meat came from?’ And [my mother] didn’t know what to say. I feel like I have this memory of seeing her crying.”
As well as following a Vegan lifestyle, Joaquin is also an incredibly involved activist for animal rights. He has been involved in several short films and documentaries that highlight animal abuse, such as the well-known documentary Earthlings, which he narrated.
8 Woody Harrelson
This actor is perhaps best known for his role on the hit TV show Cheers, but he has been a Vegan for many years now. He was recently listed as The Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity by animal rights group PETA. He gave up eating dairy products when he was walking along the streets of New York as a young actor. Suddenly, a passerby stopped him. She told him that his runny nose and acne was due to lactose intolerance, and that was the end of dairy products for Woody Harrelson. Days later, his acne and runny nose were gone. He later gave up meat, complaining that burgers and steaks would leave him feeling drained of energy. He actually goes further than most Vegans in terms of his dietary restrictions, refusing to eat either sugar or flour.
In the popular movie Zombieland, Woody plays a character obsessed with Twinkies. However, a little known fact is that Woody did not actually eat a single Twinkie during shooting, as he had them all replaced with Vegan "faux Twinkies," made entirely of corn starch. He has been involved with countless projects in partnership with PETA, including programs that fight to secure the release of research chimpanzees.
7 Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone, the star of the 1995 classic film Clueless, appeared recently on Oprah to discuss her choice to become a Vegan. Since her teens, Alicia had been struggling with a variety of health problems, including acne, asthma, insomnia and constipation. Since her choice to become Vegan, she has noticed a ton of amazing changes to her overall health. She is now 33, and she claims to have boundless amounts of energy. Many Vegans experience this, contrary to the popular belief that eating a Vegan diet drains your energy. She says one thing that really stands out to her is the fact that all the white marks on her nails are gone, and her eyes are much less bloodshot, something that obviously is extremely helpful with her acting career.
Like Gwyneth Paltrow, Alicia Silverstone has also written her own Vegan cookbook, entitled "The Kind Diet." Alicia says that she became Vegan when she saw how animals were slaughtered at the age of 8. She then looked at her dog and thought, "If I'm not willing to eat you, then how can I eat animals that are just as cute and as awesome as you?"
6 Tobey Maguire
Tobey Maguire is an extremely strict Vegan, and has been for many years. He is famous for an incident that occurred during the filming of The Great Gatsby. Each of the main cast was given a top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz to drive around town in, but whoever organized these gifts was clearly unaware of Toby's Vegan lifestyle, as the car was outfitted with leather seats. He rejected the new car because he does not use leather products.
Many people think being Vegan means simply changing your diet, but that's just not the case. Following a Vegan way of life means rejecting animal products altogether - anything that comes from an animal is not allowed, including leather. Leather is taken from cows in India, and they are marched for days without food or water out of India to be slaughtered, as killing cows in India is illegal. When you think about it, wearing leather really is no different than wearing fur. Like Harrelson, Toby has also won PETA's "World's Sexiest Vegan" award. Toby Maguire was the one who first convinced our next entry to become a Vegan as well ...
5 Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman has established herself as one of the greatest actors today, and she has featured in some truly amazing projects. She is now in her thirties and still looking as beautiful as ever. Her secret? A Vegan diet. When questioned about her great skin, she said her secret weapon was being Vegan, and claims that as soon as she eats any dairy products whatsoever, she breaks out in acne and zits.
She first became a Vegan in 2009 after reading a book by Jonathan Safran Foer called "Eating Animals." Like Maguire, in addition to not eating animal products she does not wear or use them either. She even had her own brand of Vegan footwear, which sadly went out of business. The problem with buying clothing from "Vegan" designers is the fact that it's usually extremely expensive (they're seen as a kind of specialty item). This means that many Vegans (Portman included) tend to buy shoes and apparel from cheap stores like target or Wal-Mart, because a lot of their stuff is made from plastic or canvas. Vegans constantly have to check the ingredients of not just the food they buy at the supermarket, but the clothing they buy. As you might guess, Vegans tend to wear a lot of cotton.
4 Demi Moore
At 55, Demi Moore still looks gorgeous. She has retained that glowing effect that served her so well during her film career, and many people have been left wondering whether she's even human. Does she feed on human blood at night? Is she really an alien in human disguise? No, the truth is much more innocent. She has switched to a Vegan lifestyle. Not only Vegan, she only eats raw food, which makes her a "raw Vegan."
The philosophy behind a raw food diet is the belief that minerals and vitamins are lost once food is heated to a certain temperature. Moore also claims that she is in such good shape because she eats so many fruits and vegetables, which contain a wide range of anti-oxidants that specialize in fighting the ageing process.
Now, some people might argue that Moore is pursuing a Vegan diet for the health benefits rather than the moral reasons of saving animals, but in the end she is playing a huge role in protecting animals, even if that was not her initial goal. It's true that when one person does something as simple as changing the way they eat, it has massive positive effects on the environment.
3 Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin is undoubtedly one of the most appreciated actors in modern times, and he is just one of many that has decided to switch to a Vegan diet. But his reason for making this choice may surprise you. It all started in 2011, when Baldwin was diagnosed with prediabetes. He was alarmed by this diagnosis, so he immediately tried to figure out a way to reverse the course of the illness while there was still time. He decided he would start eating a Vegan diet, and the result has been a huge success for Baldwin.
But before that, Baldwin was a long-time vegetarian. He grew up with cows and other livestock, and according to him, "They were like my pets. I had an incident one day that made me refuse to eat beef ever, ever again." Like many other Vegan actors, Alec Baldwin is very involved with PETA, the organization that promotes animal rights. He narrated a film by PETA called, "Meet Your Meat," which shows viewers what really goes on in factory farms.
2 Olivia Wilde
Everyone knows Olivia Wilde by her striking, beautiful features, and she has appeared in countless films that have won her praise by audiences and critics alike. She is also an outspoken activist on a number of issues, including animal rights. She has been a Vegan for about five years now, and before that she had been a vegetarian since the age of 12. Like Natalie Portman, Olivia stopped being a Vegan while she was pregnant, to assure that her baby was getting the necessary nutrients and vitamins. She has taken to the web to create a website dedicated to the Vegan lifestyle, called "Wilde Things." This site posts Vegan recipes, stories about her experiences with being Vegan, and interesting information for those who are thinking about becoming Vegan themselves.
So why is it that so many actors become Vegan? One theory deals with the very nature of acting. Actors, as a part of their trade, have to be empathetic. In other words, they have to be able to put themselves in other people's shoes. But after years of developing this skill, many begin to extend these empathetic feelings towards living creatures in general, not just other people. Actors like Olivia Wilde have the ability to feel, in a very real sense, what it must feel like to be raised from birth in terrible living conditions, beaten and abused, just to be inhumanely slaughtered for consumption.
1 Daryl Hannah
Famous for her role as the katana-wielding Elle Driver in the Quentin Tarantino film, Kill Bill, Daryl Hannah is another immensely successful actor who became Vegan. When she was a young girl, she remembers seeing calves in a farm and thinking about how they were wonderful creatures. Someone then informed her that they would be veal by tomorrow. Since that day, Daryl Hannah has been a strict vegetarian ever since, and eventually switched to a fully Vegan lifestyle. In her opinion, this decision was solely based on her emotions, but the decision has environmental, health, and ethical impacts as well.
Daryl Hannah, like many other actors, has taken to the web to talk about her Vegan ways, creating an online show and vlogging about all things Vegan. She explains how making the decision to switch to a Vegan lifestyle can have a massive positive impact on the environment, even if it's just one person. Did you know that if we stopped raising livestock for food, milk, and other animal products, then we would solve world hunger overnight? Think about how much food and water it takes to raise an animal before it has to be slaughtered for food. Farms that raise livestock use five times as much land to create the same amount of food as farms that only grow plant crops!