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Ask Health Coach Maria: Why did Jay-Z and Beyonce Go Vegan?

December 13, 2013

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Hi, I’m Maria Marlowe, a Certified Health Coach and author of Detox without the Deprivation. I love to explain why you are what you eat and have made it my mission to help the world get healthy through better nutrition. I’m excited to launch the new “Ask Health Coach Maria” series where I’ll answer frequently asked questions that relate to health and wellness.

First question: Why did Jay-Z go vegan?

Celebrities have been announcing their vegan diets left and right this year. So far, we’ve had Al Gore, Mike Tyson, and now Jay-Z and Beyonce. A vegan diet is one in which no meat, no dairy, and no animal products are consumed. Far from a publicity stunt, this decision is rooted in both science and spirituality.

The announcement from Jay-Z came via his blog, where he posted that he and his wife were going completely plant-based for three weeks for a “spiritual and physical cleanse.”

So, why become a vegan? While Jay-Z didn’t elaborate on his personal choice much more than that, there are 3 common reasons that I’ve seen people become plant-based in my health coaching practice:

 1. Health: Numerous studies link animal product consumption, whether meat or dairy ,to serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The China Study is the most comprehensive and well-known study. It took place over 20 years as a joint effort between researchers at Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine. Its conclusion is that eating a plant-based diet could help one escape, reduce, or reverse the development of many diseases.

 Besides disease prevention, plant-based diets are linked to weight loss and even a longer life.

 2. The animals: Whether it’s a love of animalsor the horror of learning the truth about factory farming, many vegans cite their disapproval of the inhumane treatment and slaughtering of animals as their reason to go vegan. They find it hard to justify loving their dog and eating a cow.

 3. Spirituality: Since we’re so removed from our food system nowadays, it’s often shocking to realize that neat and tidy packages of hamburgers actually come from a slaughterhouse. The idea of participating to any extent in the killing of another sentient being violates the morals and ethics of many people, and turns them off to meat.

The decision to go vegan is a very personal one and is often based on a number of factors beyond the ones mentioned.

Personally, I switched to a plant-based diet for health reasons. About 10 years ago, I started constantly getting sick and my skin was perpetually broken out. Despite numerous doctors and prescriptions, this lasted for a couple years until I realized something had to change.

Reading the evidence of something like The China Study is certainly compelling, but to experience the difference in my own health and skin first-hand, well, that’s what ultimately sealed the deal. It’s also what got me interested in becoming a Health Coach in the first place.

Now, this doesn’t mean a 100% plant-based diet is right for everyone. It’s just what works for me and my body. Everyone has their own unique chemistry and metabolism, their own allergies and energy needs, and as such, one diet does not fit all.

Because I firmly believe in this concept of bio-individuality, I work with my clients to help them discover what their body is telling them, and figure out which foods are (and aren’t) the most beneficial for them.

While Jay admits he isn’t sure whether this challenge will turn into forever, he is in good company if he does decide to keep it up. Some famous vegans include Usher, Russell Simmons, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Ben Stiller.

I wish Jay-Z and B luck on their plant-based journey, and hope that their 22-day experiment will at least lead to a healthier lifestyle for good!

If you’re vegan, comment below with your reason for making the switch.

Maria publishes a weekly blog and newsletter filled with healthy plant-based recipes and nutrition tips. Connect with Maria on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.