Why Jay-Z and Beyonce Going Vegan for 22 Days is Really Awesome

Ines Isabel December 5, 2013 7
Why Jay-Z and Beyonce Going Vegan for 22 Days is Really Awesome

Yesterday morning, after hitting snooze 3 times and deciding that I would finally wake up (which really means just open my eyes and continue to lay in bed scrolling through my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds until I decided to get out of bed) , I was confused to see all of these articles about Jay-Z going vegan. Huh?

I thought it was some kind of joke. Anyone can be vegan though, right? So why was I so surprised to learn that one of my favorite rappers decided to go vegan for 22 days? (I was also super surprised to learn he was turning 44! Where does the time go?!)

Either way, I was interested.

Not only did he declare on his blog that he would go vegan for his 44nd birthday but that his wife, Beyonce, would be joining him. Specifically, he is taking on a plant-based diet, which is not necessarily vegan. (Read about the differences here, here and here.)

Now, I was impressed.

Not only does he know the difference between the two but he’d already been eating a plant-based breakfast and his partner (Beyonce) is on board. I like where this is going and couldn’t have been happier for him.

But then…the backlash…

As I scrolled through my newsfeeds, I was disappointed by many of the comments about his decision. Things like, “When will they stop wearing fur?” “This is just a gimmick, he won’t do it.” “Who cares? He can afford it.” Like the true glutton I am, I read on and on and just sat in front of the screen shaking my head. We still aren’t getting it, I thought. His declaration of leading a plant-based life style for even just 22 days is huge. Let me tell you why:

He and his wife have an audience that reaches millions of people. People we (vegans) will never meet in places we may have never even heard of. Imagine if just half of these people go to Google and type “vegan” to find out more about what that means.  Imagine if their fans think, “Well, if they can do it, then I can do it too.” Then imagine if those same people try and take on a 22 day challenge to! Wow!
Maybe they stick to it, maybe they reduce their overall meat intake, maybe they start wondering about other ways animals are used and abused in our society and start investigating cruelty free options in their bath and beauty product or clothing. The very idea that vegan or plant-based has now entered their lexicon is significant. He is shedding light on a movement, a culture, to groups that many of us do not have access to and might not have otherwise been able to reach.

My experience in animal rescue has taught me that I can get more done by being positive than by making someone feel like they aren’t doing enough. We live in a society that is that is always telling us we are never doing enough or that we are never enough. Think about it: when that Sarah McLachlan commercial comes on (you know the one) have you ever donated money? No. It makes you feel sad, hopeless, depressed, frustrated. But if you see a rescue group outside of Petco and they tell you about how donations helped get this one dog into his forever home because they were able to remove the noncancerous mass on his leg – then you might think, “Wow, what I’m doing is actually making a change.” (You can read more about positive marketing here or here.) 

Similarly, with veganism, my friends are SO eager to tell me about the great choices they make when they have a totally meatless day or if they ate at a vegan restaurant and liked it. They also tell me about times they’ve “slipped” or they snuck a piece of cheese and you know what? That’s okay. I don’t make them feel worse about it. I say, “That’s alright! We all slip up. You’re doing great!” No one I know has done something because I make them feel like garbage about it. My experience is that positive thoughts and words will produce positive results and actions.

So, what will happen? We’ll just have to wait and see! Admittedly, Jay-Z isn’t sure himself if he’ll be “a semi-vegan, a full plant-based diet?” after 22 days but plant-based diets speak for themselves. Once you’ve tried it, the benefits are obvious. Many people lead plant-based for diet or health reasons not because of animals or the environment and we should support that, too. Bringing this kind of positive attention to veganism/plant-based is a great opportunity to open a discussion about why leading a full or semi plant-based lifestyle has so many benefits for the entire world. So whether he goes full on vegan or reduces his overall meat intake, that is still a major change that we should support and encourage. You can follow (and join!) their 22 journey here: http://www.22daysnutrition.com/blog/2013/12/04/join-us-for-22-days-of-vegan-meals/

I find that, often, vegans advocate compassion and love for animals, forgetting that humans are animals, too. Practice kindness always. 

7 Comments »

  1. janice burns December 5, 2013 at 11:11 am -

    Great article :) really made me smile. Everything you’ve written is positive and I love that! I felt the same way yesterday when reading the comments about Jay Z and Beyonce and the negativity surrounding it. Let’s praise their actions instead of putting them down.

  2. Barb@ThatWasVegan? December 5, 2013 at 11:22 am -

    I love your point about positivity accomplishing more than making people feel bad. And that commercial? Makes me want to jump out a window. I’m so excited that Jay-Z and Bey are giving plant-based a chance, I think it’s wonderful news!

  3. Ines Isabel
    Ines Isabel December 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm -

    The truth is many people do not adopt plant based lifestyles for ethical reasons. I’d love if that’s why they were doing it. I’d love if they stopped wearing for and leather. I’d love if their concerts were more environmentally friendly. I’d love so many things!! You don’t have to apologize They’re on some kind of journey and I don’t necessarily care (think about your own and it’s ups and downs) and I don’t really care why they’re doing it because the impact they’ll have is so great and significant that I support this endeavor. I’m not going to quibble about why they are going plant based: less animals being harmed? This overall a positive thing and I love that!

  4. Georgie Lee December 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm -

    What a refreshing read. I’m a vegan and I have absolutely no “beef” with those who eat meat and/or cheese. I personally find more validity in encouraging meat eaters to eat less than encouraging them to quit altogether. Hard core meat eaters aren’t going to change a bit if you come at them all righteous.

    As for “why” people take on a plant based diet (because a celebrity did it, because they want to lose weight, for ethical reasons, because they don’t like the taste…), who cares!? seriously annoyed with other vegans judging the “why” and “when”. who cares, they made a difference. they are plant based, even for just 22 days. .

  5. screwdestiny December 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm -

    Great post. When I first saw this news elsewhere I’ll admit I was a little annoyed. It seemed more like a publicity stunt. And then I started realizing, even if it is, it’s a really good one! It’s great publicity for veganism! I truly hope that Jay-Z and Bey feel the wonderful effects of eating plant-based and choose to continue, but even if they don’t, I’m sure this will cause many positive ripples as you said.

  6. Rafa December 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm -

    I wanna hug you, loved your position, I’m not 100% vegetarian, let alone vegan… but over this year I’ve change my diet and its more to the vegetarian side every time, I support the veg diet/life style, but I hate how nazi some of the vegan are. I joined a FB forum for vegan/vegetarian in my city and time to time some dudes throw a lot of BS to people starting the veg diet (not the administrators of the group thou, they are nice)

    But reading you in this article is awesome, I think is stupid to remove the validity of a person’s effort to be better with the health/environment/animals… Share your visions and beliefs without diminishing others peoples opinions and even less if they are “supporting your opinion” at least partially.

  7. Liberty December 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm -

    Lovely article, thank you. I was surprised by all the negative comments too!

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