Celebrities are all over the meat-reducing trend, with athletes, moguls, Academy Award winners, and even former First Ladies now in the flexitarian club.
People reduce their meat consumption for all kinds of reasons. And now, it’s got a name: flexitarianism. From the many personal health benefits to the benefits to the planet, people are swapping out meat for plants more than ever. From the meaty vegan options at fast-food restaurants to eating healthier whole foods diets, scientists say it’s a good move.
Reducing meat consumption can help to slow global warming. A recent study found one-third of all emissions come from food, with the bulk of that tied to the production of animal products. Plant-based foods are a far more sustainable option than meat, eggs, or dairy, and typically easier to grow and source locally.
And as these celebrities will certainly vouch — eating more plant-based foods can bring about a number of health benefits. From managing weight and reducing diabetes risks, to improving cardiovascular health, and boosting gut health.
These celebrities will also vouch for another reason to give more vegan food a try — the taste. Going flexitarian means more than just salad. There are all kinds of drool-worthy options for every craving. (Check out our favorite list of plant-based recipes here.)
A flexitarian diet can include fully vegan days or meals, or simply swapping animal protein with your favorite plant protein instead. Check out the favorite flexitarian tips from these flexitarian celebrities. Are your favorites on the list?
1. Snoop Dogg
Snoop’s journey to more plant-based eating famously began when he watched a video clip of how his favourite fast food snack was made. Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2016, he said, “If that’s how they make hot dogs, I don’t want one.” His friendship with vegan Ironman Rich Roll has furthered his foray into flexitarianism. Celebrity chef pal Martha Stewart also got him to move away from meat on their VH1 cooking show, “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party”. Then in 2020, Dunkin’ Donuts and Snoop came up with The Beyond D-O-Double G Sandwich, a Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty served on a sliced glazed donut. As an ambassador and investor in Beyond Meat, Snoop admits to sneaking the plant-based protein into family meals. He also invests in Outstanding Foods, which released vegan pork rinds earlier this year. “They’re a great company and I like what they’re about,” he explained in a press release. “They have great leadership, good eats, and healthy choices.”
2. Michelle Obama
The former First Lady, Michelle Obama wants everyone to eat healthier. She made that clear with her White House vegetable garden and her efforts to improve school lunches. The “Becoming” author is now the star of her own cooking show focused on helping inspire kids to eat a more colorful and balanced plant-forward diet. “This is something I’ve been working on for a while now, and I’m so excited to finally be able to tell you all about it,” Obama wrote in a Facebook post. “Allow me to introduce two new friends of mine: Their names are Waffles and Mochi. And on March 16, we’ll be launching a new children’s show on Netflix called Waffles + Mochi. It’s all about good food: discovering it, cooking it, and of course, eating it.”
3. Kevin Hart
“Being healthy is important to me because you get one life,” comedian Kevin Hart said in a People interview. “You can either take advantage of that life and maximize it, or you can increase your chances of shortening up that lifespan.” “The Secret Life of Pets” star is an ambassador for Beyond Meat. Whilst he doesn’t eat red meat, fish, or seafood, he enjoys a cheat day every now and then. “You’ve got to have a day to eat what you’re not supposed to eat,” says Hart.
4. Katy Perry
Popstar Katy Perry has been a committed flexitarian for a number of years. Although she has increased her plant-based intake, she doesn’t eat healthily 100% of the time. “Let’s be honest,” she admits in a Prevention interview, “It’s 60/40.” Growing up in a “meatloaf and milk” family, Perry credits her husband, actor Orlando Bloom, with supporting her move to a more plant and less meat. She told Entertainment Tonight in 2018, “He’s always trying to get me to go hike, or do yoga or eat vegan.” An investor in Impossible Foods, she revealed that she was “grossed out” by beef during her pregnancy, tuning to the Impossible Burger instead to satisfy her fast food cravings.
Hip hop’s first billionaire, Jay Z adopted a flexitarian diet not just for his health but for the health of the planet. “The information is hard to ignore. The benefits of a single plant-based meal a day can have such a profound impact on our health and the environment,” he said with wife Beyoncé in the introduction to personal trainer Marco Borges’ 2018 book, “Greenprint”. Whilst Jay-Z has invested in Impossible Foods, the plant-based protein brand known for its burgers that look and taste like beef, he does not follow a strict vegan diet. Instead, he prefers regular plant-based breakfasts and meat-free Mondays.
After Beyonce’s show-stopping set at Coachella in 2018, she revealed that her physical transformation and glowing health were down to a vegan diet. The “Crazy in Love” singer’s personal chef prepared six daily meals to fuel the intense training regime, which were shared with her 112 million followers encouraging them to explore plant-based meals. However, since then, a 2020 interview with personal trainer Marco Borges in The New York Times has clarified her flexitarian status, “Beyoncé eats ‘a plant-based’ — i.e. vegan — ‘breakfast daily’ and consumes no meat on Mondays.”
7. Serena Williams
Twenty-three Grand Slam tennis GOAT Serena Williams has been largely plant-based for years. She was an early supporter of the plant-based food brand Daily Harvest and is predominantly plant-based when competing. Fresh fruit and vegetables — especially leafy greens like kale — sprouted whole grain bread, coconut water, ginger, and wheatgrass are some of her performance go-to favorites.
8. Martha Stewart
American retail powerhouse, writer, and television personality Martha Stewart published her best-selling vegetarian cookbook in 2013. Called “Meatless” its versatile recipes encourage readers to embrace a plant-based diet. “Only about six percent of Americans are vegetarians, but about 30 percent of Americans are incorporating more plants into their diet,” Stewart wrote on her website. “I’ve been doing that for years.” Keen to spread the word, flexitarian Stewart joined Beyond Meat to launch its Beyond Breakfast Sausage in 2020.
9. Jamie Oliver
A confirmed flexitarian, celebrity chef attributes his three-stone weight loss to switching to plant-based proteins in the run-up to his 40th birthday. Convinced eating less meat made him sleep better, the impact of animal farming was also a factor. He told The Sun, “I think we all know that eating more vegetables is good for us and the environment.”Keen to get the message out there, the tv series “Jamie’s Meat Free Meals” broadcast in 2019. He has also released a meat-free recipe book, called “Veg.” Talking to the Daily Mail about the recipes, he said, “They’re dishes that make me feel energized, comforted, complete, and full up.”
10. Tom Brady
NFL quarterback Brady has seven Super Bowl wins under his belt. This flexitarian has clearly got his nutrition right. In spite of many misconceptions about his diet, the superstar sportsman follows a simple 80/20 principle.“When people ask if I’m a vegan or a vegetarian,” Brady explains on the TB12 website, “I tell them no, decidedly not.” Following a plant-based diet is common sense to him. Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients, fiber, and enzymes athletes need to fuel their bodies. Whilst eating some meat, he limits it to a small portion instead increasing portions of vegetables and grains. As he summarises, “I subscribe to balance.”
11. Gisele Bündchen
Brazilian model, actress, activist, and businesswoman, Bündchen’s diet is mainly plant-based with minimal amounts of meat and dairy. Alongside her husband, Super Bowl star Tom Brady, she credits former personal chef Allen Campbell for changing the power couple’s diet and lifestyles. In her 2019 book, “Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life,” the supermodel wrote that she intermittently fasts until lunchtime two days of the week, as the body takes a long time to digest foods. Plus she’s a huge fan of a morning juice of fruits, vegetables, turmeric, ginger, and coconut milk.
12. Oprah Winfrey
The renowned talk show host and entrepreneur said she swore off beef after learning about mad cow disease on her talk show in the mid-1990s. She is a big fan of healthy eating, growing fruits and vegetables at her home. She’s an investor in Dr. Andrew Weil’s True Food Kitchen, which is focused on healthy, seasonal, plant-based menu items. And she was also an early investor in vegan milk brand Oatly.
13. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Action film star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger became a world-class bodybuilder in the 1970s on a meat-heavy diet. But in recent years he’s swapped meat for plants. The “Terminator” star appeared prominently in the 2018 documentary film about meat and athleticism, “The Game Changers.” There, he debunked the myth that you need to eat meat to be “manly.” The star also shared snapshots on Twitter that showed a predominantly plant-based fridge. He also spends a good bit of his time palling around with his donkeys, who roam the house.
When award-winning singer-songwriter Adele revealed her seven-stone weight loss in 2020, everyone wanted to know her secret. The “Hello” singer followed the Sirt food diet recommended by her personal trainer, which focused on foods that are high in “sirtuin activators”. These are said to regulate the way in which our bodies process fat and sugar. Alongside regular exercise, Adele would feast on foods like kale, buckwheat, oily fish, and drink plenty of green tea. Fortunately for Adele, the flexible nature of her diet means she can still include her favourite cheese and red wine.
15. Ricky Gervais
Comedian, animal-lover and confirmed cheese-lover, Gervais has been toying with veganism since the start of lockdown. That said, he’s not been holding back on pasta with vegan meatballs, vegan lasagna, and tofu stir frys. “Basically, everything that was fattening, but with a meat substitute,” he explained. “I’ve been snacking less because I’m worried about not doing as much exercise. As it turns out, I’m probably doing slightly more exercise because I’m panicked about not doing enough exercise.” Passionate about animal rights, Gervais is using his fanbase to spread the plant-based eating ethos. “We can’t carry on exploiting animals, eating wildlife, and trashing the planet,” he told the Daily Mirror. “The wildlife trade and markets have to close. Otherwise, it will be a case of when, and not if, we have another global pandemic.”
16. Ali Riley
New Zealand footballer Riley is a Women’s World Cup champion with 129 international caps. As well as a sportswoman, Riley is a certified health coach. Studying integrative nutrition with the goal of optimising her football performance, she uses her platform as a professional athlete to inspire healthier lifestyles. “My motto is: if you eat good, you feel good and you love good,” she explained to Champions Journal. Her food blog is packed with simple vegan and vegetarian recipes showing fans how delicious and nutritious the switch to plant-based can be.
17. Chris Hemsworth
“Thor” star and new face of Hugo Boss Sustainability, Chris Hemsworth has been a big fan of going vegan to improve his health and the planet. He followed a vegan diet to get in shape for the “Thor” movies. He also launched “Centr Fit” a personal fitness app, which helps people to meet their health goals. The app boasts a range of plant-based nutritionists and experts.
18. Aly Raisman
As a legendary gymnast, Raisman’s priority has always been staying healthy. The “Fierce Five”member has six Olympic medals and numerous other awards. However, since moving on from international competition, her diet has transitioned too. After watching documentaries about animal farming, Raisman decided to switch to a more plant-based intake for both ethical and environmental reasons. Raisman’s love for fresh produce has led her to grow her own vegetables to add to salads and smoothies.
19. Gordon Ramsay
Fiery-tempered celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was famously known for his hatred of veganism. In fact, he was quoted as sarcastically saying he supported PETA, “People Eating Tasty Animals.” He even admitted to the Daily Mail in 2007, “My biggest nightmare would be if the kids ever came up to me and said, ‘Dad, I’m a vegetarian’. Then I would sit them on the fence and electrocute them.” But in 2018, after a stint on Vegan Celebrity Masterchef, the famous meat-lover decided to try a plant-based diet. Now, he credits his slimmed-down frame to eating 5 small flexitarian meals a day. He even made a scrumptious-looking “Beet Wellington” in honor of Veganuary a few years back.
The Roots drummer and entrepreneur Questlove wants his fans to eat less meat. While the Black community is embracing veganism at a record pace, diet-related illness is still prevalent. The drummer thinks changing up red meat for vegan Impossible meat could help. In 2019, he partnered with Impossible Foods to make a plant-based version of his hometown’s iconic Philly cheesesteak. Before covid lockdown, Questlove was working with sports and music venues to bring the menu item to major events.
21. Brad Pitt
Academy Award winner Brad Pitt applauded the Golden Globes in 2020 when the awards ceremony dinner went 100 percent vegan. As an avid environmentalist, he’s been known to promote the plant-based diet for its lower emissions. He even urged Californians to vote for legislation that would give more protection to farm animals.
22. Leonardo DiCaprio
Academy Award winner and activist Leonardo DiCaprio has invested in vegan companies including Beyond Meat. The star recently encouraged his 37 million followers to give up meat at least once a week for the planet. He joined Brad Pitt in 2018 calling for California voters to pass legislation that protects farm animals.
23. Simon Cowell
Music mogul Cowell ditched his favourite sausage rolls and hamburgers after bad fall made him re-evaluate his unhealthy lifestyle in 2019. Initially starting with a plant-based diet to prepare for his 60th birthday, the “X-Factor” presenter cut out meat, dairy, wheat, and sugar but continued to eat fish. Speaking to The Sun, the benefits were apparent, “Once you get into a pattern I’ve found it quite enjoyable. It has helped me sleep and I wake up feeling less tired.” As well as allowing him to keep up with his young son, the 60-year-old credited his flexitarian diet with keeping him in great shape, “If I was on a one to ten scale of being handsome, I was an eight and now I’ve gone to an 11.”
24. Venus Williams
Seven-time Grand Slam tennis star Venus Williams gave up eating meat, eggs, and dairy to save her life. The vegetarian tennis legend battles an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome, with the help of a predominantly plant-based and whole foods diet. She also recently launched her own plant-based company, Happy Viking. Its first product is a vegan protein shake inspired by her favorite post-workout recipe. Like her sister Serena, Venus will still eat the occasional animal product, but her go-to for optimal health is plant-forward.
25. Kelly Ripa
Actress, dancer, and star of Live!, Kelly Ripa is as flexible with her diet as she is in her career. Her early starts with morning show cost-host Ryan Seacrest require high and consistent energy levels. In the past, the presenter has advocated the alkaline diet, based on foods that supposedly keep your body’s pH levels low. “I eat a very clean diet. I have lots of vegetables, I eat protein, but I really don’t put a ton of thought into it.” Ripa told ABC News. “If that’s the secret, then that’s the secret!”