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Is Arnold Schwarzenegger Vegan?
What You Can Learn from His Diet

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With athletes like David Haye, Venus Williams, and Patrik Baboumian, the myth that you need to eat meat gain strength has already been busted.

Yet the announcement that Hollywood star and ex-Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is eating less meat and dairy has still shocked the global media.

So has the Governator made the switch to completely plant-based food? And if so, why?

Read on to find out more.

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger vegan? 

If you want to talk about things in black or white, no, Arnold Schwarzenegger is not strictly vegan. He has chosen to get the majority of his nutrition from a plant-based diet and is only eating meat occasionally. On top of that, he has cut out beef and cow's milk completely.

People will buy in to stop eating meat one or two days a week – you have to start slowly. It's a very big challenge but it doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Schwarzenegger said in a YouTube video that he doesn't think he will ever be all the way vegan. But for now, he is feeling much healthier, happier, and his impact on the planet is much less.

So is he a vegan if he still eats a little chicken and fish? No. Not really. But he's bringing the ethical food discussion to the table, and in my experience, even a step in the right direction is massively important.

Why did Arnold Schwarzenegger stop eating meat? 

Arnold stopped eating meat

Just as some are happy to sling arrows at the strongman for adopting a label that isn't really his, some others are not happy with his reasoning behind making the switch.

Many believe that Arnold has made the switch for health reasons under the advisement of his doctors having eaten a diet high in red meat for many years.

Those same commenters don't think he would be speaking out about veganism as passionately as he is or making the real changes that he has if it wasn't for health reasons, and again, they might be right. 

The other side of the argument though, is that he is paying more attention to his food and what he eats. He is sharing important science both about the effect of his diet on the planet and his own body. 

In a country practically owned by the meat industry, any voice sharing a different message should be a welcome one.

Is meat bad for you? 

Yes and no, meat is a broad term. If you are eating a lot of red meat or processed meat, then yes, it's definitely bad with proven links to bowel cancer. Meat is also incredibly high in saturated fats, which leads to raised cholesterol levels in the blood. This can dramatically raise your risk of heart disease.

There are certain nutrients and minerals that can be derived from consuming meat. Though, all of which can be supplemented or found on a plant-based diet. It can be part of a balanced diet if you're very careful about your intake and practice moderation. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a co-producer of The Game Changers

The reason behind the actor's adoption and advocation for a plant-based diet is very likely to do with his involvement in the new Netflix documentary "The Game Changers".

Arnold Schwarzenegger is an executive producer on the film alongside longtime friend and "The Terminator" director James Cameron. 

The documentary follows James Wilks as he travels the world talking to professional athletes and those following a plant-based diet to achieve great things.

Jackie Chan, Novak Djokovic, and Lewis Hamilton are all listed as fellow executive producers as well as being interviewed themselves. 

The Game Changers Programme by Arnold

Being a vegan professional athlete 

In the documentary, Schwarzenegger talks very candidly about his diet as a younger man in his bodybuilding days and how unnecessary it was. Looking at athletes like Patrik Baboumian, it's clear to see that most of what we are taught about what it means to be a big, strong man is clearly marketing, and proteins are easily found elsewhere.

The Game Changers goes into scientific analysis about what the body needs to build muscle and perform at its best. It features an impressive roster of talent that does exactly that, many of whom are literally at the top of the respective sports. 

Eating less meat is good for the environment 

Plant in hands

As The Governor of California (or the Governator), Arnold Schwarzenegger was a fierce proponent of policies addressing climate change, building a greener future, and tackling greenhouse gasses. 

Proposition 23, which would have annulled Schwarzeneggers AB 32 commitments, was funded by Texan oil companies but was rejected by Californian voters due in large part to campaigning done by The Governator himself. 

When it comes to meat and its effect on pollution and climate change, he has clearly done his research, and this passion is another primary proponent behind him making the switch himself.

He has spoken out against cattle farming and the dairy industry. 

His green legacy and legislation to cut emissions by 25% by 2020 were challenged and defended even after his term was up.


Calling Arnold Schwarzenegger a full vegan would be a lie, but if he wants to call himself 99% vegan, I think that's still positive change, and it's going to spread the message to a lot of new people. 

To borrow the viral quote on zero waste - "we don't need 1 vegan doing it perfectly, we need 100 doing it as best they can."

What's your take on Arnold's stance on veganism?

Let us know in the comments below.

Rafid Nassir is a health and fitness fanatic, with the main aim of maximising muscle mass and minimising body fat, with as little time investment as possible.