In honour of World Vegetarian Day, which marks the beginning of International Vegetarian Week and Vegetarian Awareness Month, here is a list of celebrities that you might not have known are vegetarian. Is a plant-based diet the secret to their monumental success stories? You be the judge.
Ariana Grande has gained at least one thing as a result of a plant-based diet - better health.
The popular American singer says it wasn't that difficult to give up meat and cheese, because she had consumed enough of it during her childhood.
"I love animals more than I love most people, not kidding. 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-around happier person." she said in an interview with UK newspaper The Mirror.
You may recognise her as Dory from Finding Nemo, and probably follow her talk show shenanigans, but you may not have been aware that DeGeneres has long been an advocate of veganism.
DeGeneres switched to the vegan diet for ethical reasons in 2008. According to an article by Huffington Post, she had an epiphany that led to her decision.
"Someone mentioned 'If you knew what chicken looked like or you knew how chicken was made, you'd never eat it again,'" said DeGeneres in the interview. "Something snapped."
Since then, both DeGeneres and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, have committed themselves to vegan diets. DeGeneres also promotes veganism on her talk show and through various outreach activities in her free time.
American pop rocker Jason Mraz is a vegan, too. In fact, he’s known for having tried many healthy diets over the years, always searching for one that maximises his health and performance.
Mraz recently blogged about the changes he felt after going vegan. "I ride longer distances on my bike, can do more pull-ups than ever, and my brain seems to have a larger capacity for new projects, problem-solving, songwriting and fielding random questions.
"My health and strength make me a better performer and all that combined gives me more confidence to go out in the world and shine my light.”
The Williams Sisters
If you think athletes can't get the nutrients they need from meat-free diets, the success of tennis legends (and siblings) Serena and Venus proves otherwise.
The Williams sisters are both vegan for health reasons. However, they have also noticed the diets give them a competitive edge.
In 2011, Venus was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an incurable autoimmune disease that causes excessive fatigue. Her doctors recommendeded she adopt a raw vegan diet, and her health improved.
While apparently less strict, Serena also follows the diet after noticing improvements in her sister's performance once she gave up meat.
According to an article by Irish Examiner, bodybuilder and doctor at Medichecks, Emil Hodzovic, believes the raw vegan diet gives athletes a competitive edge because they consume a variety of less calorie-dense nutrient-rich food. “You can’t afford to carry additional weight especially around the abdomen, as this impacts performance and strength.”
According to environmental news website Mother Nature Network, British comedian Russell Brand has been a vegetarian since he was 14.
Over the years, he’s switched back and forth from the vegetarian diet to veganism, but he would convince anyone to become vegetarian by simply saying: “You shouldn’t eat animals, it’s mean to them”.
In 2011, Brand finally made the decision to go vegan after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, a film that advocates low-fat, plant-based diets as the solution to obesity and many chronic diseases.