Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vegan Celebrity Smackdown

Natalie Portman recently told the world that she is no longer vegan, sighting her pregnancy and the difficulty to curb cravings with sweets and getting proper nutrition as the reasoning. While Natalie admits that people do have successful pregnancies as a vegan, I guess she doesn’t care enough to give it a go. Getting proper nutrition, regardless of diet, can be difficult in a world of processed foods, and even more so for a pregnant woman. However, eating a vegan diet is a great way to eat a healthy diet and just a little bit of planning will allow you to get all your needed nutrients.

It appears to me that Natalie is sidelining her morals for pure laziness. Celebrities have the money and resources to be successfully vegan, no matter the circumstances. Vegan indulgences such as cake, cookies and ice cream would be easy for her to obtain as well. She has the privilege to make a conscious decision to continue following her previous decision to not contribute to animal suffering.

I think the reason this makes me so mad (besides the fact she is contributing to the suffering of animals and knows better) is that fact she is saying to the world that veganism is difficult, that having morals is not enough to be successfully vegan and that it is okay to harm animals with your choices. Maintaining a vegan diet may be hard in some circumstances, but being pregnant in Hollywood definitely does not count.

Natalie is the second celebrity within the last six months to admit to cheating or going off a vegan diet. Late last year, Al icia Silverstone admitted to cheating on a vegan diet by eating cheese while drinking at parties. Al icia has claimed herself as a spokesperson for veganism and profits from talking and writing about a vegan diet. While some people argue that she is human and her cheese-eating just shows people that mistakes can happen and that is okay, I think she is demonstrating that veganism isn’t that significant. She is downplaying the important decision of choosing a vegan diet for the animals, the planet and our own bodies.

No one is perfect. We are all human. Al l we can do is the best we are capable of. I would rather someone be mostly vegan than not vegan at all. But I do think celebrities who stamp themselves vegan have a responsibility to not give veganism a bad name. Or dismiss it by cheating when they feel like it. These individuals are turning their back on a decision to treat animals with respect by not eating them or contribute to their suffering. This gives a message that you don’t need to take veganism seriously, which is not true at all. Hopefully the public can recognize the faults in these people, not a vegan lifestyle.