by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Eats, People
Tags: .

natalie_portman_002.jpgIt’s easy to see why Natalie Portman is one of the more respected artists in Hollywood. The 26-year old actress not only portrays incredible characters on screen (nevermind the speed bump that was the Star Wars prequels) but also uses her power off-screen to support and promote some incredible campaigns and initiatives. The UK Observer Magazine recently sat down with the star — over a veggie lunch and tap water — to discuss her career and passion for giving back. Here are some highlights:

On not being a vegan and recycling clothing:
“She’s not a vegan, though she has been trying to phase out eggs. ‘But I don’t think I could do it. It’s really hard for traveling, especially if you want to maintain your protein levels.’ She refuses to wear leather, but will wear wool. ‘Although I don’t think I have a lot of wool clothes. And I sort of made a no-buying-anything-new rule. I just have a lot of stuff,’ she says with a tiny pout. ‘And I figured: look, if I need something, if my running shoes have holes in them and I don’t have running shoes any more, then I’ll get new ones. But you know, I have 40 T-shirts, I have 20 pairs of jeans – you get so forced into believing [that you need all this stuff]. Maybe it’s a New York thing.'”

On selecting FINCA as her charity of choice:
“‘Well, yeah, because I wanna do something meaningful. They ask you to do 4,000 charity things a year and all of them are worthy. But I don’t think you can really make an impact unless you do [just] one thing and really devote yourself. And it’s been important to me.'”

On the environment:
‘There’s this book I love called The Future of Life by EO Wilson, about the environment. It’s basically aimed at business people who just think about infinite possibilities, infinite expansion – but the earth is limited! It’s very short term to think we can just accumulate and make as much as we can. If you wanna think longer-term economically, there are better ways.’

For the full (and wonderfully long interview), jump here.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Christy

    VegNews should revoke her Favorite Vegetarian win. She is obviously not committed to the veg lifestyle.

  • michael

    I don’t know if I would go that far. She’s still a vegetarian, right? As far as I’m concerned, she’s quite deserving of the award…

  • becky

    [In response to Christy]

    Just because someone doesn’t get it right every time doesn’t mean they aren’t something.

    She is still a vegetarian and doing her best, better then Paris Hilton, Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan.

    So who would you rather feature Ms. Portman or twice-divorced Mrs. Spears?

  • Eric

    What a ridiculously misleading and insulting headline.

  • michael

    Why is it insulting? I didn’t intend it to be if that’s the case. Is she going to go vegan soon? Does she not say why it is difficult for her to consider the option?

  • Andrea

    It’s pretty cool she’s phasing out eggs, since most eggs come from factory farms where hens are kept in cages so tiny they can’t even spread their wings.

  • Word Star

    Ms. Portman is living in the dark ages of nutrition when the meat and dairy
    industries controlled the food pyramids and promoted meat, meat, meat and
    protein, protein, protein. Thank goodness, that influence is being countered by modern scientific evidence to the contrary.

    In fact, it is animal protein that is unhealthy.

    “The China Study” is one of the largest studies ever done on this issue.

    “For more than 40 years, T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His legacy, the China Study, is the most
    comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted…The study was the culmination of a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive

    “Although it was ‘heretical’ to say that protein wasn’t healthy, he started
    an in-depth study into the role of nutrition, especially protein, in the
    cause of cancer.”

    “The research project culminated in a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, a survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China and Taiwan. More commonly known as the China Study, ‘this project eventually produced more than 8000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease.’

    “The findings? ‘People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease . People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored,’ said Dr. Campbell.”

    “…the lower the percentage of animal-based foods that are consumed, the
    greater the health benefits — even when that percentage declines from 10% to 0% of calories.”

    • Elizabeth Aspen

      Animal protein is the only healthy food I can eat as a diabetic and NOT die.

      • Heather Coleman

        False. I recommend the book “Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes;” it’s a completely plant-based diet program for those with the disease–both my mother and father are diabetic, are on the program, and they have not died. The basic premise is: 1) vegan diet 2) low GI foods 3) avoid fats and oils. Do some more research, I guarantee you animal protein is not the only food (I refuse to call it “healthy”) you can eat as a diabetic.

      • Jaleki

        I concur with Heather. My boyfriend was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the spring. Since then, he has switched to a fully plant based diet plus no or very little oils (we eat a lot of avocados and nuts, and saute veggies in water). He eats a lot of vegetables especially green veggies, green smoothies, fruit, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, and spices. We limit processed food, focusing on whole foods. The only processed food we use are tofu, canned beans, cereal (Ezekiel, whole shredded wheat, oatmeal, or puffed kamut), salsas, tortilla wraps and tortilla chips (all used sparingly). He doesn’t even use artificial sweeteners, using fruit or honey to sweeten food if needed. Since then, he has lost 35lbs in 3 months without even exercising, his diabetes and blood sugar is under control, and anticipate his diabetes will be reversed within a year if he continues this path. His most recent blood test showed better results than back when he was diagnosed. He actually feels much better since before starting- he is sleeping better and longer, is walking better, he has less pain and inflammation, and he has more energy.

  • Word Star

    Vegans –lacking protein or energy allegedly supplied by animal protein? That’s simply false.

    There are hundreds of top level athletes -even Olympians- who are vegetarian or vegan.

    “Olympian of the Century” track star Carl Lewis, tennis champions Martina
    Navratilova and Billie Jean King, cricket star Anil Kumble, Mr.
    International bodybuilder Andreas Cahling, Heisman trophy winner Desmond
    Howard, Debbie lawrence Olympic race-walker, four time Mr. Universe Bill
    Pearl, 4-time Olympic gold medalist Al Oerter, WBC World Middleweight
    Champion Keith Holmes…and Dave Scott, six-time Ironman triathlon winner,
    to name but a few.

    And finally, two-time winner of the most grueling ultramarathon on earth is vegan Scott Jurek.

    This from a popular running magazine. I do not remember the writer’s name:

    “Starting in Badwater in Death Valley and stretching 135 miles, the Badwater
    Ultramarathon is known as “the most demanding and extreme running race
    offered anywhere on the planet.” It covers 135 miles, nonstop across three
    mountain ranges, from Death Valley to Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in
    the Lower 48. It is five marathons back-to-back with another three miles
    tacked on to the end.”

    Scott also won the Badwater last year. Here’d his bio:

    “On his own journey towards optimal health, Scott began transitioning to a
    vegetarian whole foods diet in 1997, while competing in several ultra trail
    races per year. In 1999, he adopted a vegan diet out of further health and
    environmental concerns. Scott continues to fuel his body on completely vegan
    diet while competing in 10-12 ultramarathons per year in addition to his rigorous training schedule. All seven of his consecutive wins at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run were performed on vegan fuel.”

    • udoknow

      you do know Carl Lewis 4 gold medals in the 84 Olympics, and ate meat right? and in 1988 Olympics got tested positive for stimulant use tell me if plants were suppose to “help ” his athleticism why turn to pharmaceutical drugs?

  • michael

    Great information Word Star! Thanks!! Let’s hope Natalie picks this up. It’s like the dairy industry saying that we need milk for calcium.

  • William

    It’s easy to maintain protein levels while traveling and eating vegetarian or vegan. I really don’t understand why their would be any reduction in protein.

    • emaline delapaix

      Yes an uninformed response. It’s really just an excuse. I am a full time musician and vegan and in Germany and manage.

  • parrish

    Hell yes Word Star!! Rock it solid for all the vegans in the house!

  • keri

    I am so thrilled to see so many pro-vegan comments including educated ones!!!! So nice for a change.

  • Word Star


    Milk as a dietary need is just another myth perpetuated by the dairy industry.

    Dr. Frank Oski, former director of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University
    said, “There is no reason to drink cow’s milk at any time in your life. It was designed for calves, it was not designed for humans, and we should all stop drinking it today, this afternoon.”

    Dr. Spock agreed, saying, “[T]here was a time when cow’s milk was considered
    very desirable. But research, along with clinical experience, has forced
    doctors and nutritionists to rethink this recommendation.”

    And even The World Health Organization (WHO) says that western nations that consume a lot of meat/dairy have the highest levels of osteoporosis, which is caused by eating a lot of animal protein…fracture risk has recently been shown to be a function of protein intake in North American women.” Anyone concerned about osteoporosis should read the WHO reprot on calcium and dairy intake here:

  • Mary F.

    Come on, Natalie, it should be even easier for you to go vegan than it is for the average person. See, for example:

    and nix the wool.

    • Angela DePasque

      Mary, I am in love with you right now! I have been searching for years for a straight forward, low cost vegan menu. Thank you so much for your comment. I know I can positively say now that you have “created” a new vegan! Thank you again!

  • vegan busdriver

    it is good that ms portman is at least conscious of her paterns of consumption. if we could help her clear up some of her misconceptions about protein maybe we could win her over to veganism. as far as vegnews, it is always slippery to rely on celebrities to promote veganism. many celebs have conflicting accounts of their veganism, or end up renouncing it like drew barrymore. having nathalie on the cover probably helps sell more issues of a magazine, but might not be the best way to convince people to go vegan.

  • Eric Prescott


    The headline insults the reader by being so misleading, as if this whole article was about that one topic, when in fact it was just a small element of a broader interview. I suppose I shouldn’t expect anything less than provocative headlines from a site called Ecorazzi, though. My bad.

    I am glad to see the matter of her veg status cleared up, though. A lot of people thought she was vegan, and statements made in the past were never denied or clarified by her, so this is the first time I’ve seen an indication that she is not actually vegan.

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  • FarmGirl

    Why didn’t VegNews pick an actual vegan who is committed to the same principles as the magazine, like Alicia Silverstone?

  • Andrea

    I was reading this morning that having too much calcium in your diet can actually lead to dementia and depression. Scary stuff.

  • Elora

    Why the mention of wool? Sheep would shed wool even if people didn’t shear it, and I haven’t heard any mention of inhumane methods used in its production. Is this because animal cruelty in the meat and dairy industries garners more attention?

    • Todesschnitzel Klingonin

      You should investigate on (Australian) wool market, the sheep get parts of their butts cut off (just like that) because of the massive inbreeding (to get more wool) the sheep have grown skin folds on their back side where flies lay their grubs that are later eating the sheep. To prevent this, farmers cut off those parts of skin, without narcosis. It’s horrible, it’s cruel and disturbing to see, the sheeps have gaping wounds that are not treated and often infected.

      Not to mention how they are shaven and often hurt in the process…

      But I have to admit, I posses two coats that are partly woollen simply because I can’t afford others and they are from my pre-vegan time.

    • Shannon

      Besides what the other commenter has mentioned, the sheep are treated as a commodity. Once they reach their peak productivity, around seven or so, they are slaughtered because they are no longer economically efficient. The lifespan of sheep is generally twice that. There is plenty of information out there about the inhumane nature of textiles: wool, leather, silk, down…

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  • Natasha

    Elora, the wool industry is not any less cruel than leather. Have you heard of “mulesing”? On the farms, the sheared sheep often get folds of their skin cut off in order to repel maggots and flies.

  • Alina

    Hey everyone! As i understand this is a totally vegan page..but i myself am not vegan, but vegeterian.Seriously, i don’t know where you all leave, probably in America or smth like that, you should recognize the fact that it is really hard to be vegan in some parts of the world.i mean, i live in Estonia…i think there is only one meat-free reastaurant in here, and even that is for vegeterians

    • Kara VeganRabbit Kapelnikova

      Do they have fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes where you live?

    • Todesschnitzel Klingonin

      Erm… We have no vegan (or vegetarian) restaurant here and I am still living. You DO have fruits’n veggies in your average store/supermarket, you can perfectly live on them, and what you wont get there can be obtained through the internet, I guess you’re not living on the Dark Side of The Moon, so you definetely have access to the internet… But nevertheless, vegetarian is a good beginning ;)

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  • stu

    I am at a similar level to Natalie, but wishing to aspire to remove all animal products that involve cruelty or humiliation from my lifestyle. It is good to see her in the limelight and having similar aspirations to myself. I wonder if we could date?

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  • Ramona Collins

    i really like Natalie as an actress, but i think using traveling as an excuse to not become vegan is rather lame .. i have traveled all over the world (50+ countries) plus all over the states numberous times and have been vegan .. anything is possible if you put your mind to it … gandhi, buddha, martin luther king, mother theresa.. ring a bell

    • Elizabeth Aspen

      Not true. I’ve tried so many times to become vegan and my body cannot handle it, especially because I am a diabetic. My blood sugar went through the roof every time I ate something non-vegan because there are so many carbs in that kind of “natural” food. It’s unfortunate, but animal products are the only 0-carb things a diabetic can eat and not risk losing a foot or going blind. I love animals way more than people and I feel so guilty i still apologize to my food before I eat it and do everything I can to buy organic and free-range, but I would also like to LIVE so that I can continue helping abused and abandoned animals. I won’t be of any help to them if I’m dead.

      • Fruity Frugivore

        Elizabeth, I really think you need to look at what you were eating, plus do some research. You don’t say if you are type 1 or 2 but type 2 is caused by animal products and is completely reversed with a plant based diet, and secondly where did you get that every non animal based food is full of carbs?

      • Maleficent

        I’ve never heard of any disease that requires someone to eat meat – especially diabetes. Sorry, but it sounds like a bunch of excuses and misinformation to me.

  • kika mika

    old article from 2007, not worth advertising on the main page in 2013…

  • kelly

    I thought she was a vegan or vegetarian at one time, no?

  • Guest

    That’s really just an excuse. I am a full time musician and vegan and in Germany and manage.

  • Kolbeinn

    loool, PROTEIN LEVELS!!!!

  • Helen

    I don’t understand how someone as rich and famous as Natalie Portman can say that going vegan is hard – that is such a disservice to the movement! I am a regular person with a normal paying job and I can be vegan when I travel. And I travel quite a bit, too, for business. She can employ a vegan chef and bring him with her everywhere she goes and she would be fine – she definitely has the money. This is absurd! If someone like her says that she can’t do it, it gives the message to normal folks that it will be too hard for them, too. So disappointing when celebrities use excuses. Also, the protein excuse is just wrong, wrong, wrong – if she wants to maintain protein level, all she has to do is eat, eat, eat… and maybe buy some quinoa somewhere!

  • Maleficent

    She needs to educate herself about protein! Come on Natalie! You are smarter than that!