According to Lea Michele, meat is not a must-have. The self-proclaimed vegan says she owes her figure to her diet and performing on "Glee". She tells Glamour UK "I believe that what we put into our bodies is important. I became a vegan when I moved to California." The reason why she's stuck with it seems to be energy. She told OK! Magazine, "It makes me feel really good and bright." She continues, "You need a lot of energy to play spunky Rachel Berry, so I've tried a lot of different things - and so far, this is working."
Being vegan means eating a plant-based diet, including fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds and nuts, with no animal products, including dairy. A vegan diet's health benefits, according to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, are "higher content of fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and many phytochemicals and a fat content that is more unsaturated." However, the same article shows that vegan diets may also have some negative aspects: "Micronutrients of special concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids." The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) adds protein, iron, and zinc as nutrients for vegans to focus on incorporating into their diets.
UsMagazine.com says the switch came after Lea read the book Skinny Bitch. According to the American Dietitic Association, "appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." For more information about vegan and vegetarian diets, go to Smart Nutrition 101 on the USDA's website by clicking here.