Hazel Needham

Hazel Needham

Venus and Serena Williams

Plant-based celebrity: Here are five stars leading the way!

Industrial cattle farming is the biggest factor of deforestation in almost every Amazon country, and famous environmentalists like David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg have been urging people for some time to reduce their meat and dairy consumption in an effort to help save the planet. 

And for good reason, as we’ll explore in this tour of the great and good of the plant-based celebrity world.


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A Vegan History

Veganism still receives a lot of stigmas. Don’t vegans only eat grass? Isn’t the plant-based diet exclusively for the middle-classes? Where does anyone even get their protein?

But plant-based diets are not a Gen Z revelation. Time for a quick vegan history lesson, where we take a look at 5 plant-based celebrities from different backgrounds, sectors – and ages!

Ghandi, a plant-based celebrity

Plant-based Celebrity 1: Mahatma Gandhi

Vegetarianism has been a huge part of Indian culture for a long time, with a massive 82% of the population reporting to have some form of restrictions on their meat consumption. 

Arguably the most prominent plant-based celebrity from India is the political activist and peacemaker Mahatma Gandhi.

Like many eco-warriors strolling the supermarkets today, Gandhi was a label-checker who opted for raw and unprocessed foods. According to his book Diet and Diet Reform Gandhi avoided the iconic Indian ingredient, ghee (clarified butter) on the basis that: “In reality, ghee is pure animal product… It not only lacks absorption by the human system but has no vitamin potency.”

Among other things, according to Nico Slate’s book, ‘Gandhi’s Search for the Perfect Diet: Eating with the World in Mind,’ vegetarianism became was the main pillar of Gandhi’s diet.

For Gandhi, being a plant-based celebrity was about promoting healthier and more equitable global food systems and individual health.

Rosa parks the vegetarian

Plant-based Celebrity 2: Rosa Parks

Civil rights leader Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger, paving the way to the abolishment of segregation in public places.

According to Peta, Parks credited vegetarianism to her health and stamina. Considering she lived until the age of 92, we’d say Rosa is a promising plant-based celebrity case study for how plant-based diets are beneficial not only to the environment but to personal health and prosperity as well!

Sir Isaac Newton

Plant-based Celebrity 3: Sir Isaac Newton

Vegan history is not limited to peacemakers and activists but sees plant-based celebrities across a range of professions.

Take Isaac Newton, the pretty impressive physics guy who discovered gravity when an apple fell on his head.

We’d love to angle the apple set up as some excellent vegetarian propaganda, but unfortunately, Isaac Newton, unlike Gandhi, was far from an eco-warrior.

He was not a famous environmentalist, but he was believed to be a vegetarian, especially in the last years of his life. So for anyone who is concerned that veganism may stunt their academic performance, try telling that to the guy who not only didn’t eat meat but made a piece of falling fruit the highlight of his career.

Plant-based Celebrity 4: Leonardo DiCaprio

If Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2016 climate change documentary Before the Flood, aired by the National Geographic, was not enough proof that this famous actor is becoming more of a famous environmentalist, Leo also deserves a place on our plant-based celebrity list.

In 2017, he put his money where his mouth is (literally) and invested in plant-based snack company Hippeas and plant-based meat company Beyond Meat. The company has attracted a list of green celebrity investors, including the co-founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, and the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates.

But how is this plant-based celebrity gossip saving the rainforest?

According to The University of Michigan’s 2018 LCA, compared to the production of a ¼ lb. standard 80/20 beef burger, the Beyond Burger:

  • Uses 46% less energy
  • Has 93% less impact on land use
  • Has 99% less impact on water scarcity
Leo Dicaprio

Plant-based Celebrity 5: Venus and Serena Williams

Professional tennis players and sisters Venus and Serena Williams are a plant-based celebrity duo. Wimbledon-winner Venus has been vegan for ten years, initially trialling a plant-based diet after being diagnosed with Sjorgen’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain and fatigue.

Not ideal for a professional athlete. But Venus is proud to attribute the transformation of her skin, health and tennis performance to her plant-based diet.

Serena had also never intended to be one of those green celebrities, but after witnessing the benefits of veganism first-hand with Venus’ experience, she has officially been a plant-based celebrity since 2017.

These two famous vegans are a prime example of how it is possible to be a world-class athlete without consuming meat and dairy – ensuring optimal care for the body and the planet at the same time.

Venus and Serena Williams

That’s a wrap!

There we have it. Our plant-based celebrities aren’t necessarily your stereotypical eco-warrior or famous environmentalist, but evidence how people with a range of interests, backgrounds and talents can still do remarkable things, all whilst advocating a plant-based diet and helping to save the rainforest!

For more nutritional tips on how to protect the rainforest through a sustainable diet, take a look at our brilliant brand partners.

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