When you tell someone you’re vegan for the first time, you’re often met with blank stares and slightly disbelieving queries like, “But what do you eat?” or “Why would you do that to yourself?” And fair enough — giving up cheese (and all other animal-based products) can be a pretty hard endeavor.
But if you do choose to go down the vegan path, you’ll be far from alone. In fact, the following celebrities are totally reaping the benefits of veganism already, and they all have myriad reasons for choosing the plant-based lifestyle.
You might be inclined to credit wife Miley Cyrus — an outspoken animal rights activist — with Liam Hemsworth’s decision to go vegan. But as it turns out, he was inspired by long-standing vegan friends like Woody Harrelson.
“After all the information I gathered about the mistreatment of animals, I couldn’t continue to eat meat,” Hemsworth told Men’s Fitness in 2015. “The more I was aware of, the harder and harder it was to do. About six months ago I went and saw a nutritionist to do a blood-diet analysis. He basically told me, based on my blood type and all the other different little tests they do, that red meat was good for me, and I should eat a lot more red meat and various other foods. So I started doing that, and the more red meat I ate, the worse I felt.”
He also told the magazine he’d seen nothing but positive changes since going vegan. “There are no negatives to eating like this,” Hemsworth said. “I feel nothing but positive, mentally and physically. I love it. I feel like it also has a kind of a domino effect on the rest of my life.”
Miley Cyrus’ love of animals is well-known. (She even wrote a song dedicated to the memory of her dead blowfish in 2015.) And it was the same blowfish, as well as her pet pig, that convinced the singer to become a vegan.
“The reason I started this was because I had a fish that was highly intelligent,” she said in an interview with Jimmy Fallon. “When I would come through the door, and this blowfish would go to the side and get excited … And one day I went to a sushi restaurant with a few of my friends and they were serving blowfish and I thought, ‘You know, this is an intelligent animal.”
As if Ellen Page weren’t lovable enough, she’s also a vegan who’s not afraid to speak her mind.
“Why are vegans made fun of while the inhumane factory farming process regards animals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit?” she asked on Twitter in 2011.
Who knew the “Side to Side” songstress was vegan? Personally, I had no idea — but it turns out Grande went vegan back in 2013.
“I love animals more than I love most people, not kidding,” she told the Mirror in 2014. “But I am a firm believer in eating a full plant-based, whole food diet that can expand your life length and make you an all-round happier person. It is tricky dining out, but I just stick to what I know — veggies, fruit and salad— then when I get home I’ll have something else.”
“I’ve been a vegan for two years, so that’s helped my already good-looking self,” Stevie Wonder told AOL in 2016.
He said he went vegan for both his health and the well-being of the planet. Preach, Stevie!
Sia’s got thick skin, an elastic heart — and a totally vegan diet. The Australian singer has been 100 percent vegan since 2014, according to a Twitter post of hers.
Portia de Rossi
Portia de Rossi is a long-time vegan. In 2012, de Rossi wrote for Oprah: “I always thought going vegan would be difficult, but I genuinely don’t crave meat or cheese. And I feel happier, like I’m contributing to making the world a less violent place.”
The “Bones” actress has been a vegan since she was a child and, along with her husband David Hornsby, is raising her two sons to eat a plant-based diet as well.
“From birth, they’ve been vegetarian,” Deschanel told Us Magazine. “We talk to them about why we eat the way we do.”
Her eldest son, Henry, has even decided to become a vegan like his mom.
Alicia Silverstone is not just an actress and vegan activist; she’s also a vegan author. Silverstone outlined her beliefs in her 2011 book, “The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet.” She revealed that her son Bear Blu is vegan as well.
Although she’s been a vegetarian for most of her life, Oscar-winner Natalie Portman didn’t become a vegan until she read the 2009 book, “Eating Animals.” After that, she became so passionate about veganism that she even produced and narrated the “Eating Animals” documentary. Based on the book, the film explores the effects that factory farming has had on the planet.
Woody Harrelson doesn’t just avoid meat, he also shuns dairy, sugar and cooking as well. When his character in “Zombieland” ate Twinkies on-screen, Harrelson requested the film’s crew make vegan Twinkies to comply with his diet.
The actor has reportedly been a vegan for over 30 years.
“Diet is crucial…I eat vegan, but I eat mostly raw,” he told Instyle. “If I have a cooked meal, I feel my energy drop. So when I first started shifting my diet, it wasn’t as much a moral or an ethical pursuit but an energetic pursuit.”
Musician and animal rights activist Moby has been a vegan for much of his life and even owns a vegan restaurant called Little Pine in Los Angeles. He explained his process of becoming a vegan in Rolling Stone:
“I loved (and love) animals and I don’t want to be involved in anything that leads to or contributes to their suffering. At first this led me to give up beef and chicken. Then fish (if you’ve ever spent time with fish you realize pretty quickly that they feel pain and are much happier not being hooked or speared or netted). Then I thought, ‘I don’t want to contribute to animal suffering. But the cows and chickens in commercial dairy and egg farms are pretty miserable, so why am I still eating milk and eggs?’ So in 1987 I gave up all animal products and became a vegan.”
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons is a self-described “happy” vegan. In fact, that’s the name of the book, “The Happy Vegan: A Guide to Living a Long, Healthy, and Successful Life,” that he co-wrote in 2015. Simmons reportedly became a vegan in 1997 and subsequently lost 20 pounds and disconnected “from a lifestyle that was making [him] sick.”
Growing up on a farm in Oklahoma, Carrie Underwood has said that it was “almost impossible to be vegetarian, so when I moved away — I was about 21 — I became a vegetarian.”
In 2011, the country singer revealed on an Australian talk show that she switched to veganism after discovering that she was lactose intolerant. However, she admits it can be hard to stick to a vegan diet while on the road.
“I want to be vegan so badly, all the way, 1,000 percent,” she said to Self. “But traveling and stuff, it just kind of gets hard. Sometimes I may have to do some egg whites or something for breakfast.”
For actress Kate Mara, following a vegan diet was a choice she made for her health.
“I’ve been a vegan for five years,” she told Shape in 2018. “I found it hard to give up cheese at first because I love it so much. But I haven’t missed meat at all. I decided to go vegan after reading a book called ‘The Beauty Detox Solution’ by Kimberly Snyder. It’s about how our bodies are not meant to digest animal products and what we should be eating instead.”
Eating a plant-based diet is just one part of an eco-friendly lifestyle that British actor Benedict Cumberbatch enjoys.
“I’m quite green, so I’m vegan, drive an electric car and share transport, and avoid buying items with too much packaging,” the “Sherlock” star shared in an interview.
He reportedly switched to a vegan diet in early 2018 and was named one of PETA’s “Most Beautiful Vegans” for the year.
“Big Bang Theory” actress Mayim Bialik is a big believer in a vegan lifestyle. She has authored a vegan cookbook, “Mayim’s Vegan Table: More than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours,” as well as participated in an anti-meat PETA campaign.
“I’d been vegetarian for 20 years, then over time it grew into veganism because of ethical and health issues,” she revealed in 2014.
Working with animals and caring about their welfare on the set of the 1995 movie “Babe” was what convinced James Cromwell to switch to veganism after a long time as a vegetarian. Since then, the actor has become an outspoken activist, teaming up with PETA and other organizations to advocate for animal rights. He also narrated the vegan documentary, “Farm to Fridge.”
Like her sister Kate Mara, actress Rooney Mara has been a strict vegan for several years. However, she doesn’t just limit animal products in her diet; she also tries to avoid them in the clothes and accessories she wears. That’s what led her to start her own all-vegan clothing line.
Actress Jessica Chastain has been a vegan for over 12 years and credits her plant-based diet for improving her health.
“I found myself going to veganism because a friend of mine had a two-week vegan food delivery program she wasn’t going to use so I used it, and immediately I just had more energy than I’ve ever had in my life,” she explained to W Magazine. “Then when I finished it, it wasn’t like I’m going to be vegan … Being vegan was not anything I ever wanted to be. I just really was listening to what my body was telling me.”
Joaquin Phoenix reportedly became a vegan at a very young age. The actor shared a story of how he and his siblings saw fish being killed in a violent manner while on a boat and how that experience made them never want to eat animals again.
“I just had a profound strong reaction. It felt like a real injustice … I think that during that moment we knew that we were not going to eat meat anymore,” he said in an interview with Collider.
In 2018, Phoenix co-narrated the vegan documentary “Dominion” alongside fellow vegan Rooney Mara.
As a 10-year-old growing up in Texas, Jenna Dewan watched a documentary about animal slaughterhouses that had a profound effect on her and made her want to become a vegan.
“I just remember being blown away, utterly traumatized,” she told the LA Times. “And I declared the next day that I was never eating meat again. And I didn’t — it started then.”
Although she doesn’t like the label, singer Erykah Badu has eaten a vegan diet for several decades.
“I’ve been a vegetarian since my senior year of high school, that was 1989, and I’ve eaten like a vegan since 1997, so it’ll be 20 years next year,” she told People. “I wouldn’t call myself a vegan because I don’t subscribe to any type of organizations. It’s just what’s best for my body. If I was a Lamborghini I would want to put the best gas in it.”
Former “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson has long touted the benefits of a vegan diet and has even proclaimed that being a vegan has boosted her sex life.
She told The Sun: “Being vegan is an aphrodisiac diet. It’s a win-win. Meat makes you impotent and unhealthy.”
The actress currently lives in France where she runs her own vegan bakery.
After being diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome in 2011, tennis player Venus Williams adopted a raw, vegan diet to help her better cope with the illness. However, describing herself as a “chegan,” Williams has admitted that she sometimes cheats and eats non-vegan foods in moments of weakness.
So there you have it! If you needed some celebrity inspiration to lead you down a plant-based path, you can look to the words of those above, who have only good things to say about veganism’s effects on their health and happiness.