What Do Jay Z, Beyonce, Natalie Portman, Lea Michele, and Mike Tyson Have In Common?

What Do Jay Z, Beyonce, Natalie Portman, Lea Michele, and Mike Tyson Have In Common?
(Source:- Source: Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America, Beyonce Knowles Social Media Picture, Jj/ Bauer Griffin, Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe)

What do Natalie Portman, Carrie Underwood, Lea Michele, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson, Alicia Silverstone, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and now, Jay Z and Beyonce have in common? They're all vegan. (As we recently reported, Jay and Bey just embarked on a 22-day vegan challenge.) 

Guess what? So am I – well, almost. I've been a strict vegetarian since age 12. While I can't call myself a true vegan since I eat honey, and traces of dairy do occasionally creep into my foods (especially while traveling) I strongly avoid animal products, and never consume (to my knowledge) anything that has walked the earth, or swam the seas.

So let's call it "semi-vegan", or perhaps, soft vegan. While vegan––soft or otherwise––may not be for everyone, to those who diss the choice I say, just look at these trendsetters. Proud, stylish celeb vegans include not only actors, but also pro-athletes who need to eat right to perform. They look pretty good, and they claim they feel awesome. While I'm no lab rat, I gotta say that eating this way works great for me. Especially when I really make the effort to sleep well, exercise outdoors, and eat fresh, whole, 100 percent vegan––i.e. no small bite of that chocolate cupcake once in awhile. That's when I notice how much better I feel: sharper mental focus, steadier moods and emotion, deeper sleep, clearer skin, improved digestion, and increased energy. Boom.

As wih any commitment, doing it right does takes effort. So if you're thinking of joining Jay Z and Beyoncé on the celeb vegan brigade, here's some friendly, non-experty advice from someone who has been there and bought the T-shirt.

The first step is to not look at a vegan diet as an act of deprivation. On the contrary. You're not saying no to meat, but YES to a healthy lifestyle based on plant-based nutrition, which, incidentally, includes hearty grub like lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, grains, tempeh, soy (if that's your thing) and so much more.

Next, rest assured that vegan cuisine isn't about bowls of lettuce and jam sandwiches. For culinary inspiration––note to self: must learn to cook, eventually––I look at Eastern cultures that have traditionally not relied on meat as the main course, like Indian, Lebanese, Asian. Pass the babaganoush, please.

Finally, going vegan does not an ascetic make. Vegans have fun, too. Vegans are sexy. And P.S. vodka isn't made from animals.

Since I'm no nutritionist, I don't feel authorized to dole out advice on supplements, but FYI, among my daily vegan vitamins is a B complex, extra B12, calcium, and a good probiotic. (Certainly, if we lived in a world where food wasn't processed, we might not need them, but in the big city our food can be nutrient-depleted. Which is another story.) As for protein, without delving into the world of protein cycling and the different kinds of amino acids it takes to make a complete protein our bodies can absorb (again, not an expert), let's just say that with food, as with fashion, you have to mix it up! Contrary to popular belief, many great sources of plant-based protein can fuel even an athlete if you do it right. Plants are beautiful sources of nutrition. Vegetables have protein, as do grains (quinoa is amazing), soy (if that's your jam) tempeh, lentils, and so much more.

Now that you've got my amateur two cents, it might be worthwhile to seek out proper tips and expert advice. What do you think of celebs going vegan?

What Do Jay Z, Beyonce, Natalie Portman, Lea Michele, and Mike Tyson Have In Common?Source: Beyonce Knowles Social Media Pics/ Jj/Bauer Griffin)