Famous Vegetarians in History and Now
Thursday,18 Jan 2018 11:06 AM IST
Over the last few decades, Veganism and Vegetarianism has come to be known as a lifestyle. However, it is not just major celebs today that have turned vegans or vegetarians, a lot of important figures in history have followed a plant based diet in order to avoid harm to animals, the environment and their health as well.
Let’s take a look on some of these trailblazers in history who have followed a plant based diet.
“To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana,” said Buddha, born, Siddhartha Gautama who followed a strict vegetarian diet.
The ‘Pythagorean diet’ was the term used before the word ‘vegetarian’ became popular in the late 1800s. Known for his math theorem, the Greek scholar Pythagoras believed that, “as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” He lived over 2500 years ago, and ate a meat-less diet.
Gandhi was an avid vegetarian and had immense compassion for both, men and animals. He felt that, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Born in 1452 during the Renaissance, Leonardo Da Vinci was known for his study of mathematics, anatomy, engineering, art, sculpture, and aerospace. Da Vinci was an ardent animal lover and would purchase caged birds only to set them free. He once said, “I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
He was a staunch vegetarian and he did not believe in letting his body “be a tomb for other creatures.”
Though Albert Einstein adopted vegetarianism toward the end of his life, he deduced that man was not born to be a carnivore as he quoted that, “nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution of a vegetarian diet.”
Besides these prominent names, there are many celebrities today who follow the same or similar lifestyle such as:
Both Ellen and Portia have adopted a vegan lifestyle since 2008 for ethical reasons. "I personally chose to go vegan because I educated myself on factory farming and cruelty to animals, and I suddenly realised that what was on my plate were living things, with feelings. And I just couldn’t disconnect myself from it any longer," DeGeneres had said.
It was a book by Jonathan Safran Foer’s called ‘Eating Animals’ that encouraged Portman to turn vegetarian as she expressed that,"Perhaps others disagree with me that animals have personalities, but the highly documented torture of animals is unacceptable, and the human cost Foer describes in his book, of which I was previously unaware, is universally compelling,".
"After all the information I gathered about the mistreatment of animals, I couldn't continue to eat meat. The more I was aware of, the harder and harder it was to do," said Liam Hemsworth, who, turned vegan for ethical and health reasons.
The former Beatles’ band member has been a vegetarian for many years now and has supported many animal rights campaigns by PETA, recalled an incident, "Many years ago, I was fishing and as I was reeling in the poor fish, I realised, 'I am killing him, all for the passing pleasure it brings me.' And something inside me clicked. I realised as I watched him fight for breath, that his life was as important to him as mine is to me,” which compelled him to give up meat.
The Dangerous Woman singer announced on twitter that she was a ‘100% vegan’ as she explained that, "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."
These famous vegetarians have set an example by their quality of life, and have proved that a plant-based diet is the way to a healthier and happier life.