When we originally heard that Beyoncé and Jay-Z were embarking on what he referred to as a “22 day vegan cleanse,” scheduled to end on Dec. 25, we were surprised. Weren’t these two superstars known for their lavish fur-and leather-wearing lifestyles? Still, we dared to stay optimism, and hoped that this change would help raise awareness about plant-based and cruelty-free lifestyles.
It soon became obvious, however, that their motives for undertaking the “vegan cleanse” did not exactly spring from an ethical basis, with Beyoncé choosing to wear fur and leather to at least two vegan restaurants in Los Angeles.
And now, E! News has reported that on Sunday, Dec. 29, just four days after their “cleanse” ended, the pair was spotted visiting Miami’s Seasalt and Pepper restaurant, and ordering pappardelle, lobster risotto, and seafood casserole.
As Hadley Freeman of the Guardian puts it, “For some wealthy celebrities, veganism is just a lifestyle in which food pickiness goes hand in hand with elitism and vague spirituality.” She adds that for many celebrities, “To limit one’s diet, whether it’s only eating plants or going on a juice ‘cleanse’ or insisting on fresh organic offal, is a sign today of one’s wealth and one’s self-worth. To be difficult and high-maintenance is a sign of power.”
For those of us who are ethical vegans, Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s short-lived “cleanse” demonstrates very clearly that when the vegan lifestyle is seen as nothing more than a hot new trend to be capitalized on, instead of a considered lifestyle change, the true message of veganism is lost. As Dr. Will Tuttle wrote, back in March 2013:
Vegan living, like love, is not about getting something for myself; it’s about giving: giving mercy and kindness to others who are vulnerable in our hands. Going vegan to get health is like getting married to get wealth: it’s typically not a lasting motivation and corrodes the integrity of our commitment. If we don’t deepen our motivation beyond personal health, it’s easy to fall prey to the “cravings” fro an adverse affair of some kind – the bacon smells so enticing, the neighbor is so attractive. Motivation is at the heart of both love and veganism, as well as of our spiritual evolution.
As we move forward on our conscious living journey – leaving Jay Z and Beyoncé’s dietary experiment behind us – let’s remember the responsibilities we bear toward the abused, neglected, and factory-farmed-raised animals who are indeed “vulnerable in our hands.”