Is Lenny Kravitz vegan?

He has a well-established music career with multiple Grammys on his name and tens of millions of albums sold worldwide. He’s also an actor and a photographer. And if that’s not impressive enough, he also runs his own successful design company.  But is Lenny Kravitz vegan?

Lenny Kravitz has described himself as a vegan, stating that it’s “the right thing for yourself and for the planet and animals.” However, what he means is that he follows a plant-based diet. He’s not vegan because he still wears animal products, rides horses, and possibly deviates from his diet from time to time.

Lenny’s misconception

There’s no reason to think that Lenny is intentionally mislabeling himself. Veganism is often incorrectly presented as a diet, so it’s understandable that he thinks of it that way too. However, veganism is about more than food. This is the official definition of veganism:

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

So, it’s essentially a boycott of all mistreatment of animals, which includes all animal products, not just food. But the most noticeable change when someone goes vegan is obviously that they cut animal products out of their diet, and because there are environmental and health reasons to do so as well, that’s what gets the most attention. Unfortunately, that means that the other aspects of veganism are often overlooked.

So, let’s take a look at Lenny’s diet over the years first and then go over the other aspects of veganism in relationship to his lifestyle as well.

Lenny’s diet over the years

Lenny has changed his diet a few times. In 2013, he said that he used to be a vegetarian, and that he had been one for “many, many years … like, 15 years.” He didn’t specify which years, and there are rumors that even when he identified as a vegetarian he occasionally ate meat, but we haven’t been able to verify those rumors.

Nonetheless, according to Lenny himself, he “woke up one day craving meat” and “followed [his] body.” Of course, a craving and a nutritional need are two completely different things. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has clearly stated that people of all ages and all activity levels can thrive on a balanced diet without any animal products. So, there was no need for Lenny to eat meat. But the fact remains that he gave in to his craving and started eating it again.

Around 2013, he often ate fish. But he also had his own organic farm in the Bahamas, so he ate a lot of vegetables as well, and some of his meals would just be juices or shakes.

Those juices remained a part of his diet, as evidenced by his comment years later: “I have a Champion juicer with me at all times … I’ll hit the organic market or the farmer’s market and pick up some spinach, kale, carrots, beets, garlic – it really promotes great health.”

But he also said that he cheated on the diet he had set for himself: “There’s a big, fat, greasy man inside of me. I live in Paris half the year, and I love indulging in pastries and fine foods and wine and Champagne. If I do cheat, it’s usually with something pretty outrageous. Then I get it out of my system and get back to trying to stay fit.”

Not long after, in March 2016, he adopted a raw food diet. Many people assumed this to be a raw plant-based diet, in part because the pictures he posted on Instagram suggested that he only ate plant-based food.

However, he hadn’t called it a plant-based diet himself. And it wasn’t a plant-based diet because he also ate raw fish. He stuck with the diet for some time, but eventually decided to include cooked food in his diet again.

Lenny’s plant-based diet

Lenny seemingly made the switch to a plant-based diet in 2019. In September of that year, an article was published in which he claimed to be a recent but committed vegan, “sometimes raw vegan.” He said it was “the right thing for yourself and for the planet and animals.” He also mentioned his 1,000-acre farm near Rio de Janeiro: “We grow fruits, vegetables, coffee. We have cattle, but I don’t kill them, they just chill.”

In October 2020, he was interviewed by Men’s Health for their Gym & Fridge segment. At the time, he resided in his home in the Bahamas, where he was able to grow most of his own food. He still identified as a vegan. And he talked extensively about his diet while showing viewers his fridge and farm. You can watch the full segment here:

Lenny eats lots of fruit and vegetables, which is obviously a healthy habit. His choice to eat primarily raw should be seen as a personal preference, though. Raw isn’t necessarily healthier than cooked. Both can be healthy as long as you make sure you eat healthy food.

It should also be noted that although Lenny says there are times when he doesn’t even take in fruit sugar, this is not advisable. Fruit is healthy and should not be avoided unless a registered dietitian or medical professional explicitly tells you to.

Lastly, Lenny points out that “[his] cheat meals consist of pasta, bread, pancakes, waffles, carbs, carbs, and more carbs.” It’s important to realize that carbs are part of a healthy diet, though. There are healthy, plant-based versions of pasta, bread, pancakes, and waffles, and those should not be considered cheat meals.

Lenny hasn’t announced any diet changes since. So, hopefully, he’s still on a fully plant-based diet, without fish or other animal products. He’s completely right that it’s best for our health, the planet and the animals.

The ways in which Lenny isn’t vegan

As mentioned before, though, veganism is about excluding all animal products. We’re not just talking about food, but also about cosmetics, clothing, furniture and other items.

Now, the reason we’re sure that Lenny doesn’t adhere to these aspects of veganism is that the article in which he first stated that he was vegan is accompanied by photos. In some of those photos, Lenny is showcasing designer clothes which readers can order, and they’re not vegan clothes. They contain wool and leather.

Of course, leather can only be obtained by killing animals, as it’s their skin. And the wool industry is actually a lot crueler than most of us have been led to believe. And all that cruelty is inflicted on animals for materials that we don’t need. There are high-quality, cruelty-free solutions which we can use instead. So, hopefully Lenny comes to that realization as well and makes the switch to promoting vegan clothes.

Apart from that, Lenny became a global ambassador of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté in September 2020. Yves Saint Laurent Beauté and its parent company L’Oréal are not vegan brands. They sell products that contain animal-derived ingredients and products tested on animals.

Until Lenny disavows all animal products and products tested on animals, we unfortunately can’t call him a vegan yet.

And then there’s the horseback riding. Lenny has mentioned that he’s a farmer who has never ridden a tractor. But instead of a tractor, he rides a horse, at least on his property in Brazil. Many people aren’t aware of this, but horseback riding isn’t vegan. There’s no reason why horses should have to carry humans on their backs who tell them what to do. Apart from the fact that horses have to be “broken” to even allow it, and the possibility of back problems, it’s simply unnecessary. We hope Lenny stops doing it.

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