Ten vegan celebrities for 2012
**Astronauts on the 2030 mission to Mars will grow and eat a vegan diet.*
Over the summer, NASA made headlines when it announced that it was
planning a vegan menu for astronauts headed to Mars in 2030. Because of
the distance to the red planet, and the travel time involved, NASA has
had to completely rethink the food supply. "Mars is different just
because it's so far away. We don't have the option to send a vehicle
every six months and send more food as we do for International Space
Station," said Maya Cooper, senior research scientist for Lockheed
Martin. Their solution? A vegan diet that would include plant-based
pizza and sushi. "That menu is favorable because it allows the
astronauts to actually have live plants that are growing. You have
optimum nutrient delivery with fresh fruits and vegetables, and it
actually allows them to have freedom of choice when they're actually
cooking the menus because the food isn't already pre-prepared into a
particular recipe," said Cooper.
NASA also delved into the space farming arena so that the astronauts on
the mission to grow their own food. To do so, NASA has created the
VEGGIE system, which should allow for quick and easy vegetable farming
--- in space. The system is about the size of a microwave and uses
minimal power. "VEGGIE could be used to produce faster-growing species
of plants, such as lettuce or radishes, bok choy or Chinese cabbage, or
even bitter leafy greens," said a NASA spokesperson. Now if only NASA
would produce an at-home version for consumers, that would be perfect.
*James Cameron Jumps on the Vegan Bandwagon*
James Cameron lives a big life. Not only is he known for directing
blockbuster movies like "Avatar" and "Titanic," but the avid
environmentalist also enjoys major "leisure" activities, like checking
out the bottom of the Mariana Trench. In 2012, he announced even more
activism: He's directing a climate change film (and snagged big stars
Matt Damon, Alex Baldwin, and Don Cheadle to star), he installed a solar
array at his movie studio, and he converted a massive dairy farm into a
Cameron also embraced a vegan diet this year, saying "It's not a
requirement to eat animals, we just choose to do it, so it becomes a
moral choice and one that is having a huge impact on the planet, using
up resources and destroying the biosphere." Additionally, he challenged
other environmentalists out there to go animal-free, stating, "You can't
be an environmentalist, you can't be an ocean steward without truly
walking the walk and you can't walk the walk in the world of the future,
the world ahead of us, the world of our children, not eating a plant
based diet." Indeed.
*Vegan Food Goes More Mainstream*
Philadelphia restaurant VEDGE won a restaurant of the year award.Vegan
food is no longer considered weird or fringe and 2012 proved it! In
April, ratings and reviews website Yelp! launched a new filter for vegan
and vegetarian restaurants, making it easier than ever for those on a
plant-based diet to find food. Then in June, PBS announced it was a
launching a vegan cooking show, and four days later, sandwich chain
Subway unveiled three vegan menu items: the Sweet Riblet, Malibu Greek
sandwich and Italian Black Bean sandwich.
Then, to cap off a truly great year in vegan eating, Philly restaurant
VEDGE scored the Eater Award for Philadelphia Restaurant of the Year.
The restaurant's phenomenal food is loved by herbivores and carnivores
alike, something that pleases VEDGE co-owner Kate Jacoby. "We're
positioned as a plant-based restaurant, and that is great for the
'foodie types' and not just the veggies, since it's about having good
product," she said. "We didn't expect that, but it's a nice bonus."
Fingers crossed that VEDGE opens shop in more cities.
*Chaka Khan Goes Vegan, Beats Diabetes*
Back in June, Chaka Khan appeared on "American Idol" in a skintight
catsuit --- and she looked great. Fans across the world wondered about
her weight loss secret, and Khan was happy to spill that she'd gone
vegan. Not only did adopting a plant-based diet help her shed 60 pounds,
but it also helped improve her medical conditions. "My weight loss had
to occur, because I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes and I also had
high blood pressure. What I did was stopped eating and went on a strict
unconditional [juice] fast for a couple of months. And went off meat,
became vegan, stopped all the dairy, stopped all the meat," Khan said.
By November, her health had improved so much that she was able to go off
her diabetes medication. Although intense, her method certainly seems to
have worked. She said, "I went on a radical change of lifestyle. I was
on liquids for a year, and that gave me a good jump-start. It sort of
changed my whole way of thinking. You have to get the mindset first."
*Celebs Sign Vegan Book Deals*
We love when celebs spread the word about veganism, so we were thrilled
this year when two of our faves, Alicia Silverstone and Mayim Bialik,
announced new book deals. Silverstone, author of "The Kind Diet," is
releasing two new books on veganism: "The Kind Diet Cookbook" and "The
Kind Mama." The cookbook will be a companion to her first book, and "The
Kind Mama," which will be published in 2014, is for women who hope to
have (and who have had) vegan pregnancies. She said of the book, "I want
to give women an easy-to-follow resource that's as inspiring as it is
informative. I want women to know that they have the power to not only
have an amazing pregnancy without anxiety and discomfort, but also to
feel beautiful while doing it."
Bialik also wrote a book about parenting, and now she's tackling the
cookbook realm. She said, "My next book will be a plant-based (vegan!)
family cookbook. It's meant for vegan and non-vegan alike! I intend to
include all of the Jewish recipes I've veganized as well as all of our
family's standard beloved recipes." Look for that to hit shelves in the
*Olivia Wilde Tells It Like It Is*
Olivia Wilde is one of the hottest actresses around, and she credits her
plant-based diet for it. At the beginning of the year, she explained
that vegetarianism was the secret behind her fit figure, saying that
meat was a big calorie packer. Wilde also says that she follows a mostly
vegan diet, although she was open about the fact that she finds it
challenging at times. "I have been a vegetarian since I was like... 12,"
she said. "But [being vegan] has been something that, for the past four
years, has at times been consistent, other times less so. It helps if
you have the right support system."
For her, that support came from fellow actress Alicia Silverstone, whose
"kind" recipes helped keep Wilde on track. Another useful tool for the
actress is the documentary "Forks Over Knives," which has converted many
meat eaters to the plant-based diet. Over the summer, Wilde tweeted,
"Watching Forks Over Knives and remembering why veganism is pretty damn
health-savvy." Well said, Olivia.
*After suffering a heart attack, Rosie O'Donnell turned her health
around with a plant-based diet.*
When President Clinton went vegan, the whole world took notice. In an
effort to improve his health, Clinton embraced a plant-based diet ---
then he dropped 20 pounds and lowered his cholesterol. He now weighs
less than he did in high school and says that going vegan helped improve
his heart health. So when Rosie O'Donnell suffered a serious heart
attack in August, she remembered the president's advice and immediately
contacted the docs behind "Forks Over Knives" and switched to a
plant-based diet. Following in Clinton's footsteps, she quickly began
dropping weight, and started feeling "full, but lighter, and I have more
Unfortunately, O'Donnell found veganism too challenging. On "The Dr. Oz
Show," she said that the "FOK" diet was too limiting for her, and that
she now follows a pescatarian lifestyle. Nevertheless, by talking about
it publicly and explaining how it saved her life, O'Donnell became a
vegan advocate, however briefly. It's amazing that so many more people
are recognizing the benefits of plant-based eating, and the more celebs
who advocate for the diet --- even temporarily --- the more widespread
it will become. That's something to raise our forks to.
*Anne Hathaway and Natalie Portman both celebrated their nuptials with
Vegans Anne Hathaway and Natalie Portman both tied the knot this year,
and they did it in plant-based style. In August, Portman and fiance
Benjamin Millepied got hitched in Big Sur. The couple's green lifestyle
was present throughout the ceremony; they wed under a chuppah made of
twigs and their decorations were indigenous flowers. Guests were served
a 100% vegan menu, complete with French macarons.
Hathaway followed suit a little more than a month later, also
celebrating on the California coast. She even recruited Portman's event
planner, Yifat Oren, to ensure day went off without a hitch (except for
the main one!), and served a vegan feast similar to the one at her
engagement party, which included veggie burgers. Here's hoping this
environmentally-friendly celeb trend continues into the new year!
**Arian Foster's mostly vegan diet helped him score big this season.*
NFL stud Arian Foster raised eyebrows around the country when he
revealed that he fueled his body with a vegan diet. The Houston Texans
running back announced his diet decision in June via Twitter, writing,
"Officially a vegan now. We'll see how this goes. But week one down. So
far, so good. Feels wonderful." Although some questioned whether Foster
could get adequate protein on a vegan diet, Foster continued to play
well, stating that he was only concerned with nutrition and avoiding the
"bad stuff." "I said a while ago that when I quit playing football, I
would probably become a vegetarian and I thought I needed the protein.
Then I did some research with doctors who in their world are considered
kind of radical. To me, it's radical we have heart disease and
12-year-old kids with diabetes," he said.
Foster managed to stay near the top the NFL in rushing yards while
eating a diet primarily composed of kale, quinoa, oatmeal, fruit,
veggies and more. If all that sounds too good to be true, it is --- kind
of. While Foster is still concerned about nutrition and mostly sticks to
a meat-free diet, he did recently admit that he's not 100% vegan. He
told the Houston Chronicle, "I've been dabbling back and forth. I just
like to eat healthy. The whole vegan thing, a lot of people are really
interested in my food. ... I've had meat since I said I don't eat meat
anymore, but I like to stay with the plant-based foods, but every now
and then, I'll eat something." He may not be an example of perfect
veganism, but he still proved that professional football players can
succeed on a vegan diet --- here's hoping he eventually makes that 100%
commitment, and other athletes follow suit.
*Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard went vegan and are expecting a baby!*
Everyone's favorite sloth lover, Kristen Bell, headed into 2012 as a
longtime vegetarian. But after watching the documentary "Forks Over
Knives," Bell and fiance Dax Shepard made the leap to veganism. When
they first made the switch, Bell said, "It's more about the health
benefits than the ethics. But it's compounded by the fact that I love
animals and feel better not eating them."
However, she seems to have developed a love for the diet. She told Shape
magazine, "The first month or so I really missed cheese. But then I
discovered Daiya, which melts just like regular cheese. It certainly
doesn't taste exactly like real cheese, but it's really, really good.
When I order vegan pizza now, I am glad that the Daiya is so yummy but
lacks that heavy feeling a lot of cheeses can give you. And honestly,
there are so many good substitutes available now that I really don't
miss anything!" Shepard also seems to be thriving and credits the new
diet for making him feel "damn good" and improving his sleep, skin and
allergies. Now the pair are expecting their first child together ---
perhaps a vegan baby is in their future?
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