By Chere Di Boscio
Like the hip hop power duo, the Latina diva turned to a vegan diet not because of compassion for animals, but for more practical reasons–she made the decision after she noticed that after 40, she just couldn’t shift 10 stubborn pounds. She ran a marathon, works out regularly with Tracey Anderson, but still, that fat wouldn’t budge. Until she stopped eating meat, that is.
Going vegan just makes sense for health–it lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and when done properly (i.e. without reliance on white breads, sweets and other vegan ‘junk’ foods), a vegan diet feeds you more nutrients and anti-oxidants. Sure, there are some caveats–vegans often do need vitamin b12 supplements, as this is normally found in meat, cod, and cheese, as well as iron, which is in egg yolk and meats–but these nutrients can be easily replaced by supplements. Vegans generally live an average of 13 years longer than non vegans, and suffer less from cancer and heart disease, the two top killers in the developed world.
In addition to making you feel lighter, more energetic and leaner, a vegan diet also helps the planet: not relying on animals for food reduces pollution in the atmosphere, toxins in the soil and saves the rainforest from being cut down for cattle grazing, a serious problem right now in Brazil. Moreover, vegans help stop world hunger: around 70% of all grain produced in the United States is fed to animals raised for slaughter. The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by the American population. If all the grain currently fed to livestock were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million, says David Pimentel, professor of ecology at Cornell University.
Given all these benefits, it’s not surprising that JLo isn’t the only celebrity to go vegan–there are plenty out there, including Woody Harrelson, Anne Hathaway, Pamela Anderson, Ricky Gervais, Alicia Silverstone and Olivia Wilde, amongst many others.
As for the singer’s vegan favourites? Those would include zucchini pasta with vegan cheese and tomato sauce, millet cereal with almond milk, and kale salad with red peppers and squash. She has her own vegan chef, of course, but if you want to go vegan yourself but aren’t sure what to eat, don’t despair: there are plenty of great vegan blogs out there, including Oh She Glows and the Fat Free Vegan. Cutting animal products out of your diet for even a few days a week, as Jennifer Lopez has, can have a strongly positive impact on your health and the environment. So why not give veganism a try?
All images: Wikicommons