Brace yourselves, peaceful dumplings, this one is going to hurt. One of our favorite vegan men of all time, Liam Hemsworth, revealed in a recent Men’s Health Australia interview that he stopped his vegan diet following a health scare in 2019. Oh, Liam!
Hemsworth had been vocal about the benefits of going vegan since he made the switch in preparation for a film role. But in February last year, he was diagnosed with a kidney stone and had it removed surgically. “It was one of the most painful weeks of my life,” he says. Furthermore, he had the kind of kidney stone that develops from having too much oxalate in your diet.
“Oxalates are really high in a lot of vegetables, specifically spinach, almonds, beetroot, potatoes. Every morning, I was having five handfuls of spinach and then almond milk, almond butter, and also some vegan protein in a smoothie. And that was what I considered super healthy. So I had to completely rethink what I was putting in my body,” Hemsworth says.
This decision to turn away from veganism is less surprising when considering the original reason Hemsworth tried it in the first place. He said he first became vegan for “health for sure. I go from one extreme to the other. My mom always makes fun of me. She’s like, “If you could just find a happy medium in between all these things you do, then you’d probably be better off.” It was right before I started shooting Independence Day: Resurgence. The first two years, I felt great.” It was only afterwards that he also considered animal rights and the environment; he’s stated previously, “Also, I did some research about cruelty to animals. Ethically, I didn’t feel good about supporting those industries. It’s not good for the environment, it’s not good for people and certainly not for animals.”
According to Faunalytics, there are 5 times as many former vegetarians and vegans as current vegetarians/vegans in the U.S. 58% of former vegetarians/vegans say that they chose the v-diet for health reasons—making it the most common reason by far. So the common assumption that people are more likely to leave veganism if they were motivated by their health, appears to be true.
I’ve talked to a number of people over the years who have told me that they can’t follow a vegan diet because it’s not optimal for their health. A perfectly truthful reply might be that a nonvegan diet isn’t optimal for the health of 70 billion farmed animals that are slaughtered each year—but we’re unlikely to help bring them to a common understanding with that kind of sass. According to author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows and Center for Effective Vegan Advocacy founder Melanie Joy, it ultimately serves the goal of reducing animal suffering more to cultivate allies than to alienate people completely. Hemsworth, for example, would be better retained as a strong vegan ally, if he really can’t be plant-based for health reasons.
“If something works well for a period, great, keep doing it. If something changes and you’re not feeling great, you’ve got to reassess it and then figure it out,” Hemsworth says. Now, we agree with that—in theory. But we do wish he could have talked about it with a vegan nutritionist, get on the phone with James Cameron and The Game Changers guys, or go for a power walk with Joaquin. Don’t the vegans in Hollywood have a group text or something? I can just imagine Liam being like “Yo guys I really need to break out of my spinach almond butter smoothie rut bc my doctor said it’s giving me kidney stones 😞and it’s like super painful LOL. any ideas???” And Dax Shepard being like “Dude just come over one day for vegan brunch with me, Kristen and Russell. Peace x.” In other words Liam, vary up your diet, be sure to get in some cooked dishes (as opposed to sticking to a very “clean” regimen), and get tips and advice!
We still love you, Liam Hemsworth. Keep rescuing animals, try different ways to be plant-based, and give yourself a big hug!
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Photo: Liam Hemsworth via Instagram