Beyoncé is one of the most famous pop stars in the world, first having enjoyed success with Destiny’s Child, then as a respected and critically acclaimed solo star.
She has an equally famous husband, children with questionable names, more awards than anyone needs, is big enough to be mononymous (known just as Beyoncé, not Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter) and has even performed at the Super Bowl. In other words, she ticks all the boxes a grade A, bona fide, A-list megastar needs to tick. But, who cares about all that? Is. She. Vegan?
Beyoncé Vegan? Why Do You Ask?
In the Are They Vegan? section of our site, we’ve looked at a range of celebrities, including vegan sports stars, such as Lionel Messi, national treasures, such as Sir David Attenborough, and, young activist, Greta Thunberg. We seek to answer questions lots of people are asking and usually there is a reason why people wonder whether or not a certain celebrity is vegan.
In the case of Beyoncé, we believe interest in her diet and rumours that she might be vegan can be traced back to around 2013. There are various news stories about Beyoncé moving to a plant-based diet, such as one (though this is from much later) in The Times inviting us to “Meet Marco Borges, Beyoncé’s vegan guru”. It is essentially the link between Borges and the Crazy in Love star that started vegan tongues wagging and made many people wonder whether the singer might have adopted a plant-based lifestyle, or at the very least, a vegan diet.
Who Is Marco Borges?
Borges is an author and an expert in nutrition and exercise. He runs a rather millennial-era-sounding “plant-based lifestyle solutions company” and is most famous for his 22 Days Nutrition programme. Based on the concept that it takes 21 days for humans to make, or break, a habit, Borges is “committed to providing organic, plant-based solutions for healthy living.”
Described on his own site as “Exercise Physiologist, New York Times Best Selling author and recipient of the MFA Global Impact Award”, Borges has written several successful books and has worked with many big-name stars. Including, of course, Beyoncé (and her husband, Jay Z). The power couple is joined by the likes of J Lo and Pharrell Williams in the Borges fan club but the programme, products and books are, of course, available to all, not just the Hollywood glitterati.
So, Is Beyoncé Vegan?
Well, the short and simple answer is no, Beyoncé is not vegan. Eating grass next to a cow doesn’t make someone a cow (don’t say we don’t earn our pay!) and, similarly, eating lots of very healthy food every now and again doesn’t make you vegan – even if said healthy food is 100% plant based.
Indeed, the very concept of 22 Days is that you do not have to be fully vegan, as Borges explained in a video clip. He said that he felt there was a damaging and negative idea about veganism “that you had to go 100% in. It was all or nothing, and in reality, it is not about that”. He added that “22 Days is about allowing people to define plant-based living in the way it works best for them”.
Twenty-Two Plant Based Cleanse
We agree with that and we are not here to preach to anyone that they have to be vegan, nor that if they decide they are going to have one vegan day a week they are a bad person, or that being a “midweek vegan” is hypocritical. Anything that saves the lives of animals or improves their conditions just a little and lessens the impact on the environment is better than nothing. Of course, we would not say that someone who adopts a plant-based lifestyle for 21 days (the 22nd day is the joyous moment when your new habit becomes, according to Borges, a “tool”) is vegan but then neither is Borges nor Mrs Carter.
The pair had known each other for some time when Beyoncé decided to give the 22 Days programme a try for the first time in 2013. Jay Z came along for the ride as well, prompting the excellent headline 99 Problems But a Fish Ain’t One. At the time, it was reported that the couple were going to “experiment with a vegan lifestyle” and even though stories reported that they were simply doing Borges’ 21 (or possibly 22!) day cleanse, they simultaneously implied that the Carters had gone vegan.
Of course, we could get back into the debate about what it is to be vegan but we think just about everyone would agree that the odd three-week spell off animal products does not a vegan make. At this time, Beyoncé explained that part of her motivation was to lose weight, despite saying “I am proud of my curves”. There are certainly many health benefits to a vegan diet.
A Tool for Weight Loss?
What’s more, one that is high in protein, either thanks to vegan protein powders or simply through eating vegan foods that are high in protein, is also likely to help with weight loss. It is certainly thought to have worked for the Texan star, who said that she was also pleased that “the weight stayed off”.
She has returned to the “cleanse” from time to time, including after the birth of her twins and at various times to get in optimum shape ahead of a major tour. Indeed, in July 2019, she posted a video to her YouTube channel detailing her use of the programme to prepare for her performance at Coachella in 2018:
From time to time, Beyoncé and her husband promote the 22 Day Nutrition programme. It is unclear exactly what their relationship is with Borges, his company and the scheme and what commercial and financial elements are involved. It is widely believed that Jay and Bey co-own the business with Borges. What we do know is that from time to time Beyoncé and Jay Z do consume a vegan diet for a short period. As said, that’s better than eating meat for 22 days but it certainly doesn’t count as proof that Beyoncé is vegan.
Does She Eat a Plant-Based Diet Regularly?
Okay, so we have established that neither Beyoncé nor Jay Z are vegan but what do we know about their diets? Are they vegetarian? Do they eat three plates of steak a day? Or, is the occasional 22-day or 44-day vegan diet on the Borges plan part of a wide attempt at moving more towards a plant-based eating regime?
Well, according to the New York Times, Borges has said that Jay Z has “two plant-based meals a day”, whilst Beyoncé has a plant-based breakfast every day and does not eat meat on Mondays. Back in her younger days in Destiny’s Child, she spoke on camera about how she and the group would stay grounded, not change and always “still like Popeyes chicken”. Quotes like that and her traditional upbringing in Houston suggest that meat and animal products remain firmly on the menu.
Greenprint Project Sweepstakes
Whilst we are confident that the former Destiny’s Child star is not herself vegan, that does not mean that she has not helped the cause. In generating publicity for even occasional veganism (for financial gain, so she can better fit into her tour outfits, or whatever), she may well have encouraged others to investigate a plant-based lifestyle and diet. What’s more, the Greenprint Project Sweepstakes that her and Jay Z created was a bold, novel and direct way to encourage more people to go vegan.
In 2019, the Carters offered concert tickets for life to one lucky fan who entered their unique competition by committing to going vegan for at least a month. This competition was open to any US resident and gave tickets for 30 years, a prize estimated to be worth around £10,000!
Whilst it quickly transpired that the competition was largely a marketing exercise for 22 Days Nutrition (The Greenprint: Plant-Based Diet, Best Body, Better World being Borges’ new book), it still brought the concept of veganism to a huge audience. Of course, we cannot know how many people actually stuck with their plant-based diet once the competition was over. But at the same time, there can be no doubting that thanks to this stunt, some animals were saved and, perhaps more importantly in the long term, some people discovered veganism who may not have done so otherwise.
Beyonce & Veganism Conclusion
Beyoncé is not vegan and never has been. She has some form of commercial arrangement with 22 Days Nutrition, which features prominently on Beyoncé’s official website. This meal planner and programme were designed by “Beyoncé’s friend, trainer, exercise physiologist and New York Times Best Selling author”, Marco Borges. It is a plant-based diet programme and it has been used several times by Beyoncé.
We cannot know what her reasons for periodically adopting a plant-based diet are, although she has indicated that losing weight, getting into better shape and having more energy for tours have been key. From other statements made by the pop queen, it seems likely that environmental and ethical concerns are also important to her. However, to be blunt, given how heavily she promotes the 22 Days programme, we cannot rule out the possibility that her primary concern is commercial.
All that said, whilst some may suggest Beyoncé is a hypocrite and is after no more than the vegan dollar, we prefer to focus on the positives. She has reduced her intake of animal products, if only from time to time, and, more importantly, has made veganism a talking point among the millions of fans she and her husband have. She is categorically not vegan but has certainly helped introduce others to the idea of a plant-based diet.
As we have touched upon, Beyoncé is a true star and a hugely talented singer and songwriter. She isn’t a vegan. She isn’t even “veganish” or “chegan” (a cheating vegan – check out our vegan glossary for more info) but she sure can sing. Here is our Beyoncé timeline with just a selection of her career highlights.
1981 – Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Is Born
Wee Bey is born in Houston. Father Mathew founded Music World Entertainment in 1992 and following a career in sales became a talent manager and record executive. Mother Tina was a seamstress, then a hairdresser, and later a fashion designer. Sister Solange was born in 1986.
1990 – Tyme For Some Action
Having won a number of talent shows, including one with a rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine, young Miss Knowles joined a local girl group, Girl’s Tyme. Kelly Rowland and LaTavia Roberson, who would go on to be in Destiny’s Child, were one of a number of girls to perform in the group.
1995 – Manager Mathew
Beyonce’s father became the group’s full time manager and cut the number of girls to four as they tried to seek a record deal.
1996 – Destiny Awaits
In 1996, the band changes its name to Destiny’s Child, taking inspiration from the Bible and Book of Isiah for Destiny, Child being added as they could not trademark “Destiny” by itself.
1997-2002 – Chart Glory
From 1997 to 2002, the group enjoy huge success, starting with “No, No, No” (featuring the Fugees’, Wyclef Jean) which reached number three in the US and number five in the UK. Their first US number one came in 1999 with “Bills, Bills, Bills” and the following year “Say My Name” gave them a second number one. 2000 saw arguably their biggest hit, with “Independent Women Part I” topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2001, “Survivor” gave them a second UK number one and more hits would follow.
1999-2000 – Bey Meets J
In relation to future husband Jay Z, Beyoncé has said that she was “18 when we first met, 19 when we first started dating”.
2001 – Acting Career Begins
Beyoncé’s first major acting role came in the MTV made-for-TV musical film, Carmen: A Hip Hopera. Bey played the eponymous character in a reimagining of Bizet’s Carmen, alongside Mekhi Phifer, famous for his performance alongside Eminem in 8 Mile.
2001 – Hello Grammy
Wins first of many, many Grammys, winning two for “Say My Name”.
2002 – Bey Goes It Alone
Following the release of a festive album at the end of 2001, the group announce a hiatus to focus on solo careers, with Beyoncé (and Mathew’s belief in her) the main drivers of this. In July, the singer who would go on to be known as Sasha Fierce appears as Foxxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers in Goldmember, her first major cinema performance.
2003 – Crazy Success
Iconic pop banger “Crazy in Love” gives Queen Bey her first solo number one in the States, also topping the charts in the UK and other countries around the world. Success is achieved with partner Jay Z and wins them the Grammy for Best R&B Song. “Baby Boy” also tops the US charts the same year.
2006 – Deja Vu
It must feel like déjà vu as the song of that name delivers Bey and Jay yet another smash, reaching number one in the UK.
2008 – Marriage
Singer marries long-term partner Jay Z in a secret wedding that is not revealed until months later.
2008 – If I Were a Single Lady
2008 sees another UK number one with “If I Were a Boy”, whilst the marriage-based smash beloved of hen parties everywhere “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” tops the US charts.
2008 – I Am… Sasha Fierce
Beyoncé creates a new alter ego, Sasha Fierce, with the launch of the album “I Am… Sasha Fierce”. Not loved by the critics but lapped up by the fans it was packed with hits.
2009 – Hello Mr President
Beyoncé serenades the world and the president at Barrack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, singing “America the Beautiful”.
2010 – Gaga
“Telephone” is a smash with Beyoncé featuring alongside Lady Gaga in a suitably bonkers – yet sexy – video that helps the hit reach number one in the UK.
2010 – Six More Grammys
She is nominated for 10 Grammys and wins six, including Song of the Year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”.
2012 – Two Become Three
Beyoncé gives birth to her first child, Blue Ivy Carter, on the 7th January.
2016 – Super at the Bowl
Beyoncé wows the crowds with a stunning half-time Super Bowl performance.
2016 – Lemonade from Lemons?
The singer releases the much-acclaimed album Lemonade but is the album a sign of relationship woes and infidelity? Many think so. Others think it is all a marketing stunt.
2016 – Dollars
In 2016, Beyoncé earned more than $62m according to Billboard magazine, making her the year’s highest-paid musician. According to Forbes, she and her husband are now (2021) worth more than a billion dollars!
2017 – Two More to the Crew
Beyoncé gives birth to twins in June, the duo named Rumi and Sir.
2020-21 – World Records Aplenty
In 2020 and 2021, Beyoncé is recognised five times as an official Guinness World Records. Along with Jay Z, she is recognised for “Most Grammy Awards won by a married couple”, whilst she also can claim to be the world record holder for “Most Grammy Awards Won by a Female Artist” and “First Female Artist to Win Best Rap Performance at the Grammys”.