When a celebrity consciously avoids eating animal products it makes many people stop and think about the reasons behind their decision.
They have enough money to buy literally any meal they please, with exotic ingredients and foods very few people have even heard of. They are also very busy – too busy to worry about cooking or getting enough nutrients. Yet they choose to eliminate what some people see as entire food groups: meat, dairy and eggs.
Beyonce has offered her American fans the chance to win free tickets to see her and Jay-Z ‘for life’, on the condition that participants commit to eating more plant-based meals.
While not vegan themselves, the pair have been vocal about plant-based eating and have been heavily promoting it through their 22 Days Nutrition meal plan.
The cynic in me tells me this is probably more of a publicity stunt rather than a kind-hearted attempt to make the world a better place, but does the reason behind it really matter?
It’s clear that this competition does not ask people to become vegan – it merely encourages the fans to consciously reduce the amount of animal products in their diets.
While it’s not exactly something that vegans would ideally like the world to hear, we have to accept that most people are not ready to go vegan at this time. This is the second best thing.
The reality is that the demand for meat, dairy and eggs is very likely to decrease as a result of this challenge, as more people make vegan-friendly choices.
Those taking up Beyonce’s challenge are likely to explore the benefits of plant-based eating and have the potential to join the vegan movement once they learn about the wider impact our choices have on animals.
It is important for the genuine, deeply-held vegan values to be separated from what some consider a trendy way of eating or a shortcut to losing weight.
Veganism is the moral conviction that using and killing animals is wrong, and your diet is just one way in which vegans express this belief. Aside from avoiding consuming animal products, vegans also avoid animal materials, products tested on animals and participating in activities where animals are used for entertainment.
Although the competition doesn’t go this far, it provides a great opportunity for people to learn how our food choices impact on the lives of animals and how easy it is to avoid their exploitation.
The vast majority of vegans grew up eating animal products and it took us several months, if not years, to come around to this compassion-driven lifestyle. Considering how passionate I am about it now, I can’t believe it took me a whole year to even go vegetarian, and another two years to go vegan.
This challenge can be a starting point and may be the nudge some people need to give plant-based eating a try. A dedicated fan who looks up to their idol and wants to be like them is likely to at least try doing the things the star is advocating.
Beyonce and Jay-Z should be congratulated for using their position to help the countless animals exploited for food around the world. They may not be quite there yet themselves, but who’s to say they won’t be inspired by many fans trying plant-based eating?