There are myriad motivations for turning to a plant-based diet—from clearer skin to environmental benefits to Beyoncé tickets–and so much more. In fact, many people who dip a toe into vegan waters soon discovered a dozen additional reasons to deepen their plant-based lifestyle and fully commit to a diet free of animal products. Such was the case with legendary actress and steely blue-eyed goddess Michelle Pfeiffer. For Pfeiffer, it all started with an interest in health and disease prevention.
In an interview, Pfeiffer explained that she first become interested in veganism thanks to Bill Clinton’s endorsement of the lifestyle in his interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, The Last Heart Attack, in which Clinton discusses the work of Dr. Esselstyn, who makes a compelling argument for the connection between nutrition and heart health.
“I’m thinking,” Pfeiffer says, “if Bill Clinton loves the book by Dr. Esselstyn, there must be something that makes him stick to it. He isn’t going to do something unless that there’s science behind it. So I got the book and I just felt like the science behind it was irrefutable. I couldn’t avoid the truth in it. My father died from cancer, and the older you get there’s a lot of disease. You see people dying from chronic disease and terminal illnesses. Anyway, science is always changing, but this one seems to stick.”
As the actress has discovered, however, there are some lovely perks to eating with your entire well-being in mind. When complimented on her glowing skin, Pfeiffer responded, “Thank you! I definitely think it’s because I’m vegan. Eating a vegan diet — it’s just so much healthier — and you avoid a lot of toxins that could age your skin and your body. I really noticed a difference in my skin not too long after switching to fully vegan. And I needed to eat fruits and vegetables to stay lean. It’s all about vanity, honestly. The older I’ve gotten, the more it’s occurred to me that I’m doing it in order to live longer, though the vanity component will always be there.”
Pfeiffer is careful to stress that veganism isn’t as hard as it may initially seem. You don’t have to be a former president to pull it off! “I love the vegan diet because I love carbs,” Pfeiffer says. “I’ve never really loved animal protein in terms of animal meat. I only ate it because I used to think it was good for me.” (Fortunately, you can meet all of your nutritional needs on a plant-based diet with prudent supplementation.)
Pfeiffer’s plan for transitioning is pretty savvy, too. “I would say, do what I did,” she suggests. “I just told myself one day that I’m going to do it and I’m going to give myself eight weeks. And that I’m not going to commit on this for a lifetime because it’s psychologically huge for people to wrap their minds around it. And I’m just going to see how I feel, I’m going to test my blood again and see if there’s anything. Giving it that long you sort of get over the fact of feeling how big and difficult it is at the beginning. And if you really give yourself long enough to start feeling differently and sort of see the benefits then it will be great.”
Have you tried a vegan or plant-based diet? What inspires you to go veg?
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