As an actor, he’s best known for his roles in the nineties blockbusters Jurassic Park and Independence Day, but he’s starred in many more movies, shows, and even musicals. Apart from that, he’s also a successful jazz musician. But is Jeff Goldblum vegan?
No, Jeff Goldblum is not vegan. He was rumored to be vegan because he chose to eat vegan wings on the show Hot Ones and was spotted at a Veggie Grill by Kevin Smith. However, he never claimed to be vegan and he later ate both meat and insects on his show The World According to Jeff Goldblum.
How the vegan rumor started
Jeff never called himself a vegan, but he did make some comments in 2016 that could be interpreted as if he was heading towards a whole-food, plant-based diet. He mentioned that he was living “a clean life” in response to a question about his youthful appearance. And he said: “I want to eat something that has integrity. I’m constantly seeing how I feel—what seems best for my inner environment and our shared outer environment. I like fruits and vegetables and whole grains and lean protein. I’ve come not to enjoy the stuff I’ve cut out: sugary stuff, fatty stuff, fried stuff.”
Although there’s plenty of protein in plant-based food, the phrase “lean protein” is generally used to refer to meat, so no one thought he was vegan at the time. And no one thought he was vegan in 2017 either, when he unexpectedly showed up in Sydney in a food truck titled Chef Goldblum’s Jazzy Snags to hand out free sausages.
But in August 2018 he appeared on the show Hot Ones, on the YouTube channel First We Feast. On this show, guests are asked to eat hot wings with increasingly spicy sauces while they answer questions. The hot wings are usually chicken wings, but some guests, like Steve-O and Natalie Portman, requested vegan wings. Jeff did the same.
Nowhere in the episode did he refer to himself as vegan. He called himself an “adventurous eater,” saying that there’s nothing he hasn’t tried. He drank milk in between bites, which could have been almond or soy milk, but that wasn’t specified. And when asked about Pittsburgh’s greatest contribution to America’s culinary canon, he first mentioned the ice cream and then the chipped ham he used to eat as a kid: “Hot chipped ham with barbecue sauce. Fantastic. It was fantastic.”
As unlikely as it is that a vegan would pick ham as a top culinary contribution, people still thought he might be vegan because he chose to eat vegan wings. And only a few weeks later, fellow actor Kevin Smith, who had adopted a plant-based diet after his heart attack earlier that year, spotted Jeff at his local Veggie Grill and tweeted this about it:
“Being Vegan has finally paid off: I just saw Jeff Goldblum at my local @VeggieGrill! Makes sense that he’s plant-based, considering he was almost eaten that one time…” He attached a Jurassic Park gif of Jeff being chased by a T. rex to the tweet.
The Hot Ones episode, together with Kevin’s tweet, gave rise to the rumor that Jeff was vegan.
Jeff ate meat on his own show
Although clues that Jeff wasn’t vegan were always there, it became clearer than ever in December 2019, when the fifth episode of his show The World According to Jeff Goldblum was released. In this episode, titled “BBQ,” Jeff sets out with the goal of mastering the barbecue.
The episode starts off with Jeff wanting to barbecue meat with his family, but failing because he doesn’t know how to light the barbecue. He then visits the BBQ Pit Boys in Connecticut who teach him the basics. They’re preparing a variety of meat. There’s a close-up of the body of a young pig, killed before even reaching adult size, and Jeff doesn’t comment on it. Instead, he says: “They’re all hard at work, the Pit Boys. I think I’ve been taken in to their bosom. I feel very good. I am rightly appetized by this whole world.”
Eleven hours of slow cooking later, they all sit down and eat meat. So, Jeff is definitely not vegan.
Sustainable insect eating?
Although Jeff expresses no concern for the animals themselves in the episode, he does mention the impact of the animal industries on the environment. He correctly states that “one-third of the earth’s land surface is used for livestock production” before mentioning water use and gas emissions as well. He then presents eating insects as a potential sustainable solution and visits a cricket farm in Texas.
Jeff praises the people who work there, one of whom explains that insects are the most efficient way to convert plant protein into animal protein. Jeff mentions how “sweet” it is that the crickets hatch in what he calls the “cricket nursery,” and even asks the “cricket midwife” if she names the crickets. Then he moves on to the area where the crickets are frozen to death. When he asks if the crickets know they’re about to die an employee makes a Jurassic Park joke to avoid the question. Not long after, Jeff sits down to eat the crickets.
Obviously, insects are animals and eating them is therefore also not vegan. But that’s not the only problem with this segment of the episode. It’s also incorrectly implying that plant protein needs to be converted to animal protein.
In reality, virtually all protein is produced by plants. Protein is built up of amino acids, and all essential amino acids can be found in sufficient quantities in plant-based food. Even professional athletes can easily obtain all the protein they need directly from plant-based food. There’s simply no need to run protein through animals before we consume it.
Chef Goldblum’s plant-based barbecue
The episode doesn’t end with insects, though. Still in pursuit of a sustainable barbecue, Jeff decides to barbecue plant-based food on the 4th of July barbecue hosted by the Los Angeles fire department. The firemen serve meat and he competes with them by serving portobello mushroom sliders and cauliflower steaks with romesco sauce.
People enjoy his food. A young boy says “it’s really good” while another boy asks “can I have the same thing?” A fireman tries to change the boy’s mind by saying: “You sure you don’t want a hot dog?” But the boy is not interested. “I’m good,” he says. Later, even the firemen admit that Jeff’s plant-based barbecue tastes great.
When it’s over, Jeff shares an insight: “What I’ve seen is that when people are eating barbecue, it doesn’t matter what food is on the grill. It sure isn’t about the dish, but about the shared experience.”
Unfortunately, the episode ends with Jeff not only showing off his plant-based barbecue skills to his family, but also his meat barbecue skills. We can only hope that he reflects more on his insight in the future and eventually becomes the vegan some people already thought he was.
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