India is an enormous country, we’re talking 1.25 billion people enormous, so when one of their biggest stars decides to adopt a plant-based diet, it’s going to get some attention.
Which is exactly what happened when Bollywood star Aamir Khan announced that he was taking his diet to the next level and going vegan. Inspired to make the shift for health reasons after his wife, Kiran Rao, showed him a video of common ailments that can be avoided by dietary changes, Khan, who wasn’t even vegetarian, went cold Tofurky and dropped animal products all in one go.
His decision has been met with surprise in the media, with many articles expressing wonder at the fact that being vegan means actually, you know, being vegan. Once a serious meat eater, the press can’t believe that along with eschewing meat Khan is also removing dairy products such as ghee and paneer. While he has admitted that he misses yogurt, he feels that vegans have the upper hand on health over those who include animal products on their plates.
The media has also expressed concern that Khan’s choice to go plant-based will guide his son toward the diet, even though he has stated that it is ultimately up to his son to decide what he eats. This has also led some to question whether or not Khan was going to try and coerce his fans to adopt it as well!
While no plans have been announced for Khan to embed subliminal messages into his films or compel moviegoers to look deeply into his eyes as he hypnotizes them into choosing veganism yet, it appears that his immediate plans are just to try and be healthy and not fill his body with animal products.
That’s not to say the response has been all shock and trepidation. His choice has garnered a positive response as well, with producers of Master Chef 4 approaching him to judge the finale of their all vegetarian season this year. Positive, negative or in-between, Khan’s dietary decisions have opened a dialogue in the country about plant-based diets and what they mean. Any way you dice that, the exposure is a great thing.
For someone as high profile as Khan to make the transition to plant-based eating, it’s inevitable that a lot of attention will be paid to his choice. Celebrities change up their diets all the time, sometimes sticking with the choice for the long haul and sometimes not so much (though, considering that Aamir Khan has the nickname of “Mr. Perfectionist,” we have high hopes). There is one certainty, however, and it’s that veganism gets lots of exposure when a high profile individual adopts it.
Whether or not you consider yourself a celebophile, it’s always a good thing when a person who people look upon favorably chooses a vegan diet. People naturally like to emulate those who they admire, and with the type of following that many celebrities have, that influence can be a positive thing – if the person in question is making “good” choices. Plant-based diets have been recommended by health professionals for their benefit to human health as well as by the UN for its low environmental impact. If seeing a guy that you dug in “Dil Chahta Hai” is what inspires you to give it a try, that’s awesome.