As Jay Z And Beyoncé Take The 22-Day Vegan Challenge We Explore The Rise Of The Semi-Vegan

05 December 2013 by

Beyonce and Jay-Z have just announced their 22-day vegan diet (Getty Images)

For the majority of us here at Grazia HQ, one of the biggest joys of December is not only our chocolate advent calendars (you are never too old) but the evenings spent catching up with friends over a mince pie or two. However, come January, we know only too well that feeling of over-indulgence and always end up looking for some healthy diet swaps. Well listen up ladies, as according to today’s headlines, it might just be that Jay Z and Beyoncé have the answer to all your health woes- seriously. The rapper, who has just celebrated his 44th birthday, has announced on his lifestyle blog that he has taken up the challenge to eat completely vegan for 22 days. What’s more, he also added that his wife would be joining him for what he called a “spiritual and physical cleanse”.

Whether the couple want to get healthy post-Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas or were inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow (the Carters and Paltrows are bosom buddies and Gwynnie recently challenged Jay Z to embrace a plant-based breakfast every day), there’s no denying that this celeb couple are now fully on-board the ‘semi-vegan’ bandwagon- well, for 22 days, anyway. Why 22? The rapper explained that the 22 days coincided with the number of days until Christmas and the digits also add up to 4- a significant number for the couple who both have birthdays on the 4th. Plus, they married on April 4th, 2008 and have even tattooed the Roman number IV on their ring fingers.

Although we’re not suggesting that you mark your veganism with a tattoo, us beauty ladies reckon this isn’t just any old diet craze- it’s a way of life that guarantees some serious health-boosting benefits- think glowing skin and higher energy levels. What’s more, Beyoncé embraced semi-veganism during her pregnancy with Blue Ivy, Anne Hathaway admits to having gone ‘almost vegan’ to prep for recent film roles and even Johnny Depp is rumoured to have turned vegan prior to turning 50 last month. Plus, the hottest diet book of 2013, Eat Vegan Before 6, hit the UK back in August. Written by Gwyneth Paltrow’s friend and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, it advocates eating a vegan diet for 60% of the time, in this case up until 6pm, after which you can chow down on pretty much whatever you want.

Bittman’s book explains how sticking to a vegan diet of pulses, beans, nuts, seeds and fresh vegetables for 60-70% of your day can benefit your overall health and weight (he lost 35lbs in 4 months, FYI) while actually allowing your body to absorb more of the goodness found in the non-vegan foods you indulge in for the other 30-40% of your day. Think iron from meat, protein from dairy and vitamin D from eggs. Traditional veganism sidesteps heavier, animal-derived foods in favour of these lighter, plant-based food groups and as such one of it side-effects is often dramatic weight-loss, which is why so many body and health conscious A-listers, like Natalie Portman, are staunch advocates.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Stella McCartney all follow a semi-vegan diet (Getty Images)

Ready to make like the Carters and embrace a semi-vegan lifestyle? Follow our top tips and get ready to reap some serious health and beauty benefits…


Swap meat and fish for tempeh and tofu

Swap butter and margarine for cashew and almond butter

Swap dairy yoghurt for coconut or soy yoghurt

Swap cream or crème fraiche for coconut or cashew cream

Swap crisps for pitta crisps or kale chips

Swap honey for agave syrup

Swap bread (many are made with whey and some with eggs) for pitta or flatbread

Rice, pasta, pulses, beans and grains are all good, plus you can eat as many nuts, fruit and vegetables as you like!

Additional words by Farrah Storr, editor of Women’s Health Magazine


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