What do Einstein, Paul McCartney, and Gandhi all have in common?
Besides being awesome, that is – they all adopted and maintained a plant-based diet in their lives. And they weren’t the only ones. In fact, there have been so many successful, famous vegans and vegetarians that have taken up being vegetarian, vegan, or a subset of the two that it makes you wonder what these diets are all about.
So, let’s pull back the curtain and see just what exactly is on the grocery list of famous vegans and vegetarians:
Widely known as the father of his nation, Gandhi was the driving force behind India’s independence from British rule. Whats even more impressive? The way in which he came about achieving them: a nonviolent form of civil disobedience that continues to inspire movements across the world to this day.
Gandhi himself was vocal about abstaining from eating meat.
"He must reduce himself to zero and have perfect control over all his senses - beginning with the palate or tongue."
He was a vegetarian and even had spells in fruitarianism for five years before returning to his usual diet of cereal, vegetables, ghee, jaggery, fruits, and goat’s milk.
First entering the global spotlight as the bassist for one of the most important groups in the history of pop music and then going on to become a wildly successful solo artist in his own right, Paul McCartney has seen it all and, as it would happen, also been a strict vegetarian since 1975 (five years after the Beatles broke up).
“You can judge a man's true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”
McCartney has become a worldwide activist for animal rights and vegetarianism alike, even going as far as calling out the Dalai Lama on eating meat. Burn.
Want to eat like Paul? His favorite meal is a veggie roast with assorted vegetables, roast potatoes or sweet potatoes, and some gravy. Yum.
Just as he was in constant motion with his professional work (he helped to revolutionize personal computers, music, animated films, tablet computing, cellphones, and digital publishing), Steve Jobs could also never settle on one diet for too long. Jobs swore off meat during his first year of college and never looked back. He would go on to have long periods as a vegetarian, vegan, and even a fruitarian with occasional lapses here and there in which he would go for sushi.
As for Jobs’ favorite food, it was certainly fruit and, though he never did come out and say it openly, we have a feeling we know which one he liked best.
Cesar Chavez was a civil rights activist and defining labor leader who co-founded what would later become the United Farm Workers union. Like Gandhi, Chavez made use of nonviolent tactics to greatly improve the working conditions for union laborers of his time. Also like Gandhi, he was firmly against eating meat:
“I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid,cold and unhappy like we do. I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings.”
Cesar maintained a vegetarian and then vegan diet for the last twenty-five years of his life. Curious as to what was on his grocery list? Chavez reportedly couldn’t get enough of spicy hot burritos, they were his favorite.
Leonardo Da Vinci
The man, the myth, the legend; Leonardo Da Vinci was responsible for the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, and the Vetruvian Man. He was an embodiment of the times he lived in. Indeed, the only other artist who comes close in fame would be Michelangelo (who, as it would happen, kept a grocery list himself though it wasn’t veggie).
In addition to all of this, Leonardo was a vegetarian and was known to frequent the market during the day to buy caged birds and set them free.
“The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”
Leonardo Da Vinci was the original renaissance man, showing incredible prowess in painting, science, maths, engineering, sculpting, writing, astronomy … and the list goes on. But what about Leonardo’s grocery list? Thankfully, there are records of such:
Da Vinci would was usually buy “buttermilk, eggs, melon, grapes, mulberries, mushrooms, sorghum, flour, herbs, spices, beans, sugar, vinegar and wine.” (Source)
Albert Einstein was a German theoretical physicist whose work was so prolific that the name ‘Einstein’ is now considered to be synonymous with ‘intelligent’ in Western culture. A Nobel Prize winner, Einstein’s formula E = mc^2 has become a household phrase.
Although Einstein was not a vegetarian until the last year of his life, he had long supported the idea:
"So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore."
There’s nothing definitive to back it, but it’s rumored that Einstein’s favorite meals were spaghetti and fettuccine.
The poster boy for practicing and aspiring vegan athletes everywhere, Carl Lewis put a definitive end to the myth that you need to consume meat to excel in sports. A ten time Olympic medal winner and ten time world championship medal winner, Lewis had his best career year in 1991, one year after adopting a vegan diet.
Lewis followed the McDougall diet which included quinoa, green split peas, red potatoes, hummus, celery stalks, and a ton of more veggies.
One of the most intelligent people you’ve probably never heard of, Nikola Tesla was, without a shadow of a doubt, a genius. He spoke eight languages, developed alternating current which is still used to this day, and had a hand in developing FM radio and x-rays.
Tesla was also ahead of his time when it came to nutrition:
“It is certainly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarous habit. That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory, but a well- demonstrated fact."
Tesla’s menu would include spinach, carrots, onions, lettuce, egg whites, milk and potatoes. His favorite dish was a plate of green vegetables and mashed potatoes.
What do you think?
Itching to throw some of these ingredients and dishes into your diet? Already have them included? Let us know in the comment section below.