We don't think we've heard the word 'vegan' as many times in our lives as we have in the last week. The reason being of course, that Jay Z announced on the eve of his 44th birthday that he and Beyonce are embarking on a 22-day vegan challenge after a friend encouraged him to embrace a 'plant-based' diet. According to his pal, who he names as 'Marco' a vegan diet can have plenty of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and reduced blood pressure. Jay points out that psychologists have said it takes 21 days to break a habit, but adds, "I don’t know what happens after Christmas. A semi-vegan, a full plant-based diet? Or just a spiritual and physical challenge? We’ll see…"
In the meantime the couple have been making the most of their 'plant-based' lifestyle by eating in some vegan hotspots. Before making the leap rapper Jay asked for some assistance from his Life + Times readers: "Any professional vegans out there that have any great food spots please help out! Please ha." It looks like the vegan masses obliged as the pair have been spotted dining at Crossroads Kitchen, Native Foods Cafe and Cafe Gratitude in the last six days.
Despite recieving flack for some of her outfit choices - we assume wearing a peparoni pizza print suit to a vegan eatery was done in jest - Beyonce seems pretty content with her dietary restrictions. Who can blame her when you clock some of the dishes she's been served, from vegan mac and cheese and BBQ corn on the cob to super food salads and nachos. Mmm! We've always known Queen B enjoyed her food and she's previously shared photos of her gourmet indulgences, including roast chicken, fried chicken, vegetables and chicken (the lady likes chicken), but at restaurants such Crossroads Kitchen there are so many alternatives that we doubt she's really missing a meat feast.
Don't feel like chicken tonight? - I Am Beyonce [Tumblr]
Crossroads Kitchen 'Crab Cakes' (sampled by Beyonce) are created from hearts of palm, granny smith apples, heirloom beets and horseradish aioli while the 'Tortelloni' (also chosen by Mrs Carter) features almond cheese, oven-dried tomatoes, parsley frisée salad and spinach cream. Who knew you could create a cheese from almonds? Beyonce, that's who. Check out a recipe from rawmazing.com, right here.
If you read our guide to the rise of semi-veganism - including some brilliant ingredient substituting tips - and have been inspired by Bey and Jay's 22-day challenge then you'll need some reference points for your own vegan menu. When dining out at scrumptious vegan restaurants every day like the 'Crazy in Love' couple just isn't a viable option, you can plan your meals using some of our favourite online and vegan cookbook resources below...
1. Eat Vegan Before 6: 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. You can also take a look at Mark's website here.
2. 22 Days Nutrition: The brains behind Jay-Z and Beyonce's 22-day challenge features a blog with recipes round-ups and advice for those wishing to live a healthy lifestyle.
3. Vegan Cooking for Carnivores: Roberto Martin is Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi's personal chef and creates meat-free recipes that appeal to the meat eaters among us.
4. Rawmazing.com: As mentioned earlier, this blog from Susan Powers showcases recipes that use pure unprocessed ingredients, prepared with minimal intervention.
5. Oh She Glows: An award winning recipe blog featuring more than 400 healthy recipes.
6. BBC Good Food: When in doubt we usually have a quick search of the BBC archive - and there's a pretty good selection from vegetable tagine to squash and coconut curry.
Check out Beyonce's vegan food diary in the gallery above...