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7 Celebrities Who Gave Up Veganism

author image Cathleen Krueger
Hoku Krueger is a freelance writer who specializes in mental health, wellness and pop culture.

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7 Celebrities Who Gave Up Veganism
Find out which celebrities have ditched veganism and why. Photo Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages

Veganism is one diet trend that is here to stay. According to a 2017 report from research firm Global Data, the number of people in the U.S. who identify as vegan rose 600 percent between 2014 and 2017, and Nestle, the world's largest food maker, has predicted that the already booming demand for “plant-based” food will continue to grow. But going vegan and staying vegan are two totally different things. From feeling too sluggish to having other dietary restrictions, the following celebrities have all spoken up about why they’ve ditched veganism. (Don't worry, we're not saying eating vegan is unhealthy; our nutrition experts are just highlighting some reasons why it might not be feasible for everyone.)

1. Zooey Deschanel
Allergies to wheat and soy kept Zooey Deschanel from staying vegan. Photo Credit: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages

1  Zooey Deschanel

Staying vegan takes more effort for some people than others. In an interview with Health, Zooey Deschanel opened up about her failed attempts to go animal-product-free. “I can’t eat wheat or soy—, and it was very difficult to eat and get enough calories,” the “New Girl” actress said. So instead of being strict vegans, Deschanel and her family will occasionally have some fish, the actress told LIVESTRONG.COM. Registered dietitian nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein, M.S., RD, says being allergic to soy and wheat can make it difficult for someone to be vegan. Ingredients like tofu and vital wheat gluten are often used to replace animal protein in store-bought vegan products. But not all hope is lost for those like Deschanel: According to Muhlstein, other sources of plant-based protein like pea protein and lupini beans are quickly growing in popularity.

Up Next: This former president went vegan to protect his heart health.

2. Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton occasionally eats fish and lean meat. Photo Credit: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages

2  Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton went vegan after undergoing emergency heart surgery in 2010. “I’ve stopped eating meat, cheese, milk, even fish. No dairy at all,” the former president said in 2013. “I’ve lost more than 20 pounds so far.” But his physician, Dr. Mark Hyman, told the New York Times that he’ll sometimes eat fish and lean protein. “It’s hard being a vegan to eat enough good, quality protein and not have too much starch,” he said.

Maintaining a healthy weight helps to reduce your risk of heart disease, according to Muhlstein, who is on the board of the American Heart Association, Los Angeles division. But doing so can be difficult for vegans, who often have to rely on high-fat, high-calorie foods for protein. For example, it would take 800 calories of almonds to get the same amount of protein as 200 calories of low-fat cottage cheese, according to Muhlstein. So incorporating lean animal products makes sense for someone looking to lose weight and have a healthy heart.

Up Next: This actress bid veganism adieu during her first pregnancy.

3. Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman stopped being vegan during her first pregnancy. Photo Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages

3  Natalie Portman

Pregnancy-induced cravings are very real. Just ask Natalie Portman, who stopped being vegan when she was carrying her first child. “I actually went back to being vegetarian when I became pregnant, just because I felt like I wanted that stuff,” Portman said back in 2011. “I was listening to my body to have eggs and dairy.” According to Muhlstein, it’s important to listen to your body while pregnant, because it could be telling you what nutrients you’re lacking. What’s more, your body needs a lot of protein when it’s creating another human. “Protein is essential because it breaks down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of all of our cells and bodily functions,” she says. “So we need protein to help build muscles and organs and everything.”

Up Next: This country singer calls herself a “practical vegan.”

4. Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood found it difficult to stay vegan while on the road during her pregnancy. Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano/WireImage/GettyImages

4 Carrie Underwood

Like Natalie Portman, Carrie Underwood quit her vegan diet when she got pregnant, saying that it was difficult to find vegan meals that were nutritious enough while she was touring. “I have been a little more vegetarian than vegan, especially with traveling, so it’s a little hard to order food from hotels and stuff when you’re vegan,” she told ET. “...I can’t just order steamed broccoli. That’s not going to cut it.” Instead, she calls herself a “practical vegan,” and will occasionally have egg whites or order a dish that has cheese in it at a restaurant.

Up Next: This actress added fish to her diet because of a physically demanding role.

5. Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway added fish to her diet while filming “Interstellar.” Photo Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages

5 Anne Hathaway

After slimming down for her role as Fantine in “Les Miserables,” Anne Hathaway took on the more physically demanding role of an astronaut in “Interstellar.” Following several weeks of shooting in a 40-pound spacesuit, she ultimately decided that veganism wasn’t cutting it. “I just didn’t feel good or healthy,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “Not strong.” So Hathaway had a piece of locally caught fish, and the next day she “just felt better.” Muhlstein says that it’s not uncommon for someone to feel sluggish while on a vegan diet: “I definitely have worked with a lot of people who complain about being lethargic when vegan, and, actually, there are very interesting findings correlating veganism with depression.” According to Muhlstein, vegans often lack vitamin B-12 and iron, which are known to enhance our moods and boost energy. Animal products like fish and eggs are rich in these nutrients, so it’s no wonder Hathaway felt an instant improvement.

Up Next: Learn the reason this celebrity trainer went on the Mediterranean diet.

6. Bob Harper
After suffering from a heart attack earlier this year, Bob Harper now follows a Mediterranean-style diet. Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages

6  Bob Harper

“Biggest Loser” trainer Bob Harper quit being vegan back in 2011 because, like Anne Hathaway, the diet made him feel sluggish. After suffering a heart attack earlier this year, he now follows a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, per doctor’s orders. According to Muhlstein, people who live in the Mediterranean tend to have a diet rich in vegetables and whole grains and low in sugar. And while omega-3-packed fish and olive oil are the more well-known foods in the Mediterranean diet, she says there’s one superfood people tend to overlook: beans. “Beans are extremely heart-healthy because they’re very, very high in fiber. They’re, like, the highest-fiber carbohydrates you can find,” Mulhstein says. Fiber can help to lower cholesterol, aid in digestion and curb hunger, reducing your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Up Next: This popular talk-show host might not be vegan anymore.

7. Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres implied that she eats eggs during an interview with Ellen Pompeo. Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages

7  Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres announced back in 2008 that she and her wife, Portia de Rossi, went vegan, citing ethical reasons. But, during an interview with actress Ellen Pompeo, the talk-show host implied that she might be more of a vegetarian. “We have neighbors that have chickens, and we get our eggs from those chickens because they’re happy. They’re really happy chickens,” DeGeneres said. Because DeGeneres didn’t explicitly say that she eats the eggs, fans can only speculate as to whether or not she’s still following a vegan diet. But it is possible that because the eggs come from a cruelty-free chicken farm (aka her neighbor’s backyard), she and de Rossi make an exception.

What Do YOU Think?
Tell us what you think! Photo Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages

What Do YOU Think?

Are you a vegan? Have you ever tried cutting all animal products from your diet? Share in the comments section!

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