She’s an actress, best known for playing Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show and the spin-off series A Different World. She used to be married to singer Lenny Kravitz and she’s the mother of Zoë Kravitz. She’s currently married to actor Jason Momoa and has two children with him as well. But is Lisa Bonet vegan?
No, Lisa Bonet is not vegan. She used to follow a plant-based diet, mainly for health and environmental reasons, and she even promoted it on national television in 1990. However, she later went back to eating animal products. She also wears fur and other animal materials.
Why Lisa adopted a plant-based diet
In 1987, John Robbins published his book Diet for a New America. The book looked at meat and other animal products from multiple angles, such as health, the environment, animal rights, and world hunger. It made the case that a plant-based diet was better in all aspects.
Lisa read the book and was convinced by it. She adopted a plant-based diet and decided to raise her daughter Zoë, who was born in 1988, on a plant-based diet as well.
It was so important to her that she also decided to speak about it on national television. In 1990, an episode of The Phil Donahue Show, a popular talk show at the time, was dedicated primarily to this topic. The other guests were John Robbins himself, River Phoenix (Joaquin Phoenix’s older brother), and Raul Julia.
Lisa spoke about the health benefits of plant-based diets and the diseases associated with the consumption of meat and other animal products. She called the lobbying of agribusiness “total manipulation to keep a lot of people very rich.” And she said it was ironic that the products that were promoted for health were actually making people sick. In her opinion, the political and marketing pressure to buy meat and dairy was similar to the pressure on women in the ‘50s and ‘60s to choose formula over breastfeeding.
She also spoke about the environment. She mentioned that the oceans were being polluted and that rainforests were being chopped down for hamburgers. In reference to these global problems, the host raised concerns about the number of people willing to engage in political action. Her response was that political action is “not where it has to begin.” According to her, it had to begin with “making yourself aware and changing your habits at home.”
Veganism is about more than food
While there’s no doubt that Lisa was on a plant-based diet at the time, she probably wasn’t vegan. That’s because veganism is more than a diet. Veganism is a boycott of all animal exploitation. Cutting meat and other animal products out of our diet is a big part of that, but it’s not the only part. For example, wearing animal materials like fur, leather, wool, and silk isn’t vegan either.
Lisa deserves praise for adopting a plant-based diet and promoting it to millions of Americans decades before it became mainstream. She was a frontrunner. However, we know now that instead of continuing on that path and going vegan, she actually started eating animal products again. And looking back with that knowledge, we can see how that could have happened.
Although Lisa spoke passionately about the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, she didn’t mention the animals even once in the entire episode. This is understandable. It’s tempting to avoid thinking about the animals who suffer and die because of the consumer choices we make. But facing the reality of what we’re paying for when we buy animal products also makes it significantly easier to never buy those products again.
The first documentary with undercover footage from the industries that reached a large audience was Earthlings, it came out in 2005 and was narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. Others have come out since then. A relatively recent one that can be watched for free is the 2018 documentary Dominion.
Lisa’s choices in more recent years
Lisa and Lenny got divorced in 1993. She raised Zoë alone until 2000, then Zoë moved to live with her father. When Zoë was 27, she said: “I stick to mostly vegan health food just because it’s how I grew up.” So, Lisa either followed a completely plant-based diet between 1990 and 2000 or ate mostly plant-based food.
In 2005, Lisa started dating actor Jason Momoa, who wasn’t on a plant-based diet. He’s the father of her second daughter, born in 2007, and her son, born in 2008. Over time, they also took in a few animals, like goats, wolfdogs, and a donkey.
Lisa hasn’t spoken about her diet during those years, so we can’t know for sure what she ate. The only clue we have comes from a bag she was carrying when she was spotted in 2010. It said “proud to be an erewhonian.” Erewhonians are the inhabitants of the fictional country Erewhon in a novel by the same name. Lisa’s bag defined Erewhonian as “a person who is into organic, kosher, macrobiotic, raw foods, gluten free, vegan, dairy-free, low carbohydrate, chemical and pesticide-free products and is responsible for one’s own health.” We can’t rely purely on a bag to make claims about her diet, though.
In 2014, Lisa showed up to the Vanity Fair Oscar party in a fur coat. So, even if she was on a plant-based diet at the time, she wasn’t vegan. She has also been seen wearing fur, leather and other animal materials on other occasions.
In 2017, Lisa was asked about her diet in an interview. She said: “A typical breakfast at home would be seasoned bone broth from Real Food Devotee, scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil and the sourdough bread toasted with raw butter.” She didn’t say anything about lunch or dinner, but just her typical breakfast alone contained three different animal products. So, clearly, she wasn’t following a plant-based diet anymore.
She hasn’t spoken about her diet since. So, there’s no reason to assume that she has gone back to following a plant-based diet. We can only hope that she will research it again and realize that she was right about it in 1990. And, hopefully, she will watch a documentary focused on the animals as well and decide to boycott animal exploitation in every aspect of her life.
Do you want to learn more about veganism? Check out our list of free resources!
Did you spot inaccurate or outdated information in this article? Let us know!