I once came across a tweet from a pro-vegan organization suggesting that vegans should uncap all of the dairy milk at their nearby grocery store. Spoiling the milk would make such an effective statement against the dairy industry—or so the idea went. But the actual point this would be making is, “I’m a self-important, misdirected nincompoop who has nothing better to do than create a crisis on aisle 12 for the over-worked manager at my local Harris Teeter.” Certainly, such a stunt would not attract others to the vegan lifestyle or somehow inspire them to make healthy food choices.
It can be even more worrisome when a celebrity pulls something dubious in the name of a good cause because stars, for better or worse, have so much influence over their fans—and can really fuel up the haters.
Indeed, I think all of us in the healthy-eating community cringed big time when Ariana Grande licked a doughnut she didn’t plan on purchasing in some spontaneous protest of the unhealthy Standard American Diet. She later apologized, saying, “Food is very important to me, and I sometimes get upset by how freely we as Americans eat and consume things without giving any thought to the consequences that it has on our health and society as a whole.” Girl, me, too. But drive-by doughnut desecration is never the answer.
It seems that the pop songstress has learned her lesson, however, and is now sharing the joys of plant-based eating—a strategy we fully support (attractivism will save the world, y’all). Because the healthy-eating community is forgiving and inclusive (right, guys?), let’s celebrate the positive things Grande has shared in the name of plant-based eating and encourage her to keep spreading the good word.
For starters, Grande is fortunately not aboard the anti-fat train and embraces sources of healthy fat. “My clients have to eat fat,” her trainer Harley Pasternak told Glamour. “The one thing we talk about doing [for everyone] is watching their sugar intake and making sure they get enough protein, enough fiber, and enough fat.”
Pasternak describes Grande’s diet as”almost like a macrobiotic Japanese [diet],” citing that she loves daikon, lotus, and adzuki beans. A macrobiotic diet is essentially a balanced whole foods diet—and with an added Japanese flair, it sounds absolutely divine and health-promoting. Other whole foods she enjoys include blueberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, broccoli, carrots, strawberries, bananas, dragon fruit, edamame, and açai bowls.
Grande has also demonstrated that it is possible to make dramatic dietary changes for the better—even if your cultural food traditions rely heavily on animal products. “I don’t eat a lot of Italian things because I’m vegan,” she said. “I was raised on meat and cheese, so I’ve had enough for anyone’s normal life span.”
Although she acknowledges that eating out can get “tricky,” she says, “I just stick to what I know—veggies, fruit and salad—then when I get home I’ll have something else.” (See our tips for ordering vegan at a non-vegan restaurant for additional strategies!)
Grande’s veganism isn’t just about healthy options—she shared this loving statement about our animal friends: “I love animals more than I love most people, not kidding. But I am a firm believer in eating a full plant-based, whole food diet that can expand your life length and make you an all-around happier person.”
Finally, I have to say I have a soft spot for our girl because she is hypoglycemic like yours truly. Basically, when you’re a Hypo-G (that’s my gangster name for us, BTW), your blood sugar drops more quickly than it should, leaving you famished and shaky if you’ve A) failed to get enough protein and fat in your last meal (which was only an eternity—I mean, two hours ago), B) had one too many sips of coffee or wine or orange juice (I kid you not—that liquid sugar will wreck you!), or C) forgot to pack fiber-rich snacks (where are my flackers?!).
For Grande, vegan eating has been a godsend in the blood sugar department, however. Fresh, plant-based foods have helped her maintain healthy blood glucose levels while making her feel more energetic. I can definitely relate. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, a high-meat diet actually impairs blood sugar tolerance. In my own experience, cutting out animal products (and making sure I have plenty of healthy, whole foods) has helped me stay healthy, satiated, and sane—’cause no one knows hangry like a hypoglycemic without her sustenance.
What are your favorite plant-based whole foods?
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Photo: Just Entertainment via Flickr, Century Black via Flickr, Alien_Articfact via Flickr