Thursday, February 11, 2010

Natalie "Green" Portman  

By: Anonymous - from the series of guest posts written by Dr. Baldwin's students at Michigan State University.

Graduating from an Ivy League college, Natalie Portman had been voted the "Sexiest Vegetarian Alive" couple of years ago. Aged 28, while most of the fellow celebs would focus on making their professional career on-screen, this young celebrity chose to perform globally. She wasn't vegetarian in her childhood days. This transition came when she read aloud a book about animal shit to two of her friends and realized that meat eating had ruined their own backgrounds. One friend had asthma while other couldn't eat fish because of dumping in the local river. While some greenies buy vegan clothes and footwear that are made from non-animal materials, Natalie Portman actually designs them! The actress lent her name and voice to the Animal Planet documentary Saving a Species: Gorillas on the Brink, which highlighted the threats to the animals' rainforest habitat. Portman has also been active in groups like Global Green USA, an organization that tackles environmental issues on an international scale. Below are the 10 reasons that Natalie Portman gave to justify her being a vegetarian.

1. Slim Down While Feeling Good

Is shedding some extra pounds first on your list of goals for the new year? Vegetarians are, on average, up to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. And unlike unhealthy fad diets, which leave you feeling tired (and gaining all the weight back eventually), going vegetarian is the healthy way to keep the excess fat off for good while feeling full of energy.

2. It's the Best Way to Help Animals

Every vegetarian saves more than 100 animals a year from horrible abuse. There is simply no other way that you can easily help so many animals and prevent so much suffering than by choosing vegetarian foods over meat, eggs, and dairy products.

3. A Healthier, Happier You

A vegetarian diet is great for your health! According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure than meat-eaters. Vegetarians get all the nutrients they need to be healthy (e.g., plant protein, fiber, minerals, etc.) without all the nasty stuff in meat that slows you down and makes you sick, like cholesterol and saturated animal fat.

4. Vegetarian Food Is Delicious

So you're worried that if you go vegetarian, you'll have to give up hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and ice cream? You won't. As the demand for vegetarian food skyrockets, companies are coming out with more and more delicious meat and dairy product alternatives that taste like the real thing but are much healthier and don't hurt any animals. Plus, we have thousands of tasty kitchen-tested recipes to help you get started!

5. Meat Is Gross

It's disgusting but true: Meat is often contaminated with feces, blood, and other bodily fluids, all of which make animal products the top source of food poisoning in the United States. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tested supermarket chicken flesh and found that 96 percent of Tyson chicken was contaminated with campylobacter, a dangerous bacteria that causes 2.4 million cases of food poisoning each year, resulting in diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. Learn more.

6. Help Feed the World

Eating meat doesn't just hurt animals; it hurts people too. It takes tons of crops and water to raise farmed animals-in fact, it takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh! All that plant food could be used much more efficiently if it was fed to people directly. The more people who go vegetarian, the more we can feed the hungry.

7. Save the Planet

Eating meat is one of the worst things that you can do for the Earth; it's wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution, and the meat industry is one of the biggest causes of global warming. Adopting a vegetarian diet is more important than switching to a "greener" car in the fight against global warming.

8. All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

The list of stars who shun animal flesh is basically a "who's who" of today's hottest celebs. Joaquin Phoenix, Natalie Portman, Tobey McGuire, Shania Twain, Alicia Silverstone, Anthony Kiedis, Casey Affleck, Kristen Bell, INXS lead singer J.D. Fortune, Benji Madden, Alyssa Milano, Common, Joss Stone, and Carrie Underwood are just a handful of the super-sexy vegetarians who regularly appear in People magazine. Check out our recent "World's Sexiest Vegetarians" poll for more hot, compassionate celebs.

9. Look Sexy and Be Sexy

Vegetarians tend to be thinner than meat-eaters and have more energy, which is perfect for late-night romps with your special someone. (Guys: The cholesterol and saturated animal fat in meat, eggs, and dairy products don't just clog the arteries to your heart; over time, they impede blood flow to other vital organs as well.) Plus, what's sexier than someone who is not only mega-hot, but also compassionate?

10. Pigs Are Smarter Than Your Dog

While most people are less familiar with pigs, chickens, fish, and cows than they are with dogs and cats, animals used for food are every bit as intelligent and able to suffer as the animals who share our homes are. Pigs can learn to play video games, and chickens are so smart that scientists to that of monkeys have compared their intelligence.

When asked to comment on her choice to be a vegetarian, she said, "I am a very strict vegetarian ... I just really, really love animals, and I act on my values."

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2 comments: to “ Natalie "Green" Portman

  • February 26, 2010 at 7:44 PM  

    Dear Anonymous,

    Thanks for your post. I liked the effort that went into it, and as it sounds, you're clearly passionate about the topic. There's just one thing I'd like to know: What do you conclude from this? Are the reasons M. Portman gives accurate, do you agree with them, do you think they're in the right order, would you add any?

    I for my part actually was a bit taken aback that 'losing weight' was at the top of the list (plus it felt a little like bashing those who do diet, for whatever reason, and equating it to 'unhealthy fads' in all cases) rather than caring about the impact on the environment, the animals or our own bodies' health and I do wonder what that says – either about Ms. Portman's priorities, yours, or those assumed to be held by the intended audience. ;-)

    Ultimately, the reasons given equate thinness with being sexy, and, unnecessarily, only for women. 'The guys', if I got the message right, ought to worry more about the blood flow to their 'vital' organs rather than their attractiveness. So thin is sexy if you're female, if you're male, all that matters is that you get it up?

    I am not sure I am convinced by that attitude and I am not sure I'd want to anyone to be convinced by it. Feeding the planet, reducing the impact on the environment, ending cruelty towards farm animals (Btw, what happens to them once we all go vegetarian?), all worthy causes, and important ones, too. "Slimming down", "the cool kids are doing it", "looking and feeling sexy"? Not so much.

    I'm not writing this to lash out or criticise, really, I am just wondering whether the emphasis on looks (mainly female looks) was intentional – given the context of this blog, the following posts on body image, as well as PETA's long history of putting half-naked women in cages or equating fat people to whales in order to promote vegetarianism…

  • April 27, 2010 at 10:29 AM  

    This was an interesting article to read. I have been trying to not eat as much meat as I do, but I am not a huge fan of peppers and soy, two main sources of vegetable protein. Also, this kind of makes me think of PETA. This is not a good thing. I absolutely detest PETA. They are a big reason for me to not even consider being vegetarian because while I do support treating animals humanely, I do not support their tactics and methods of advertising. On a brighter note, I would love to be a vegetarian for the health and physique benefits. When you're healthy, you look good. It's as simple as that. You can also do more for the earth by growing your own vegetables as well.