Former Bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Now a Part-Time Vegan

Former Bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Now a Part-Time Vegan
Source: AP
Source: AP

Arnold Schwarzenegger, famed actor, filmmaker, former governor and former bodybuilder, is saying sayonara to meat, the Guardian reported. 

The Arnold is limiting his intake of burgers and steaks for a good cause. Teaming up with Terminator director James Cameron, Schwarzenegger is part of a new campaign called "5 to Do Today" that encourages people to make five choices a day that are better for the environment. The campaign encourages people to choose transportation methods and foods that involve fewer carbon emissions. 

The campaign, organized by WildAid in partnership with the Chinese Nutrition Society, is intended to convince people in China and the U.S. to reduce their reliance on animal proteins. Meat consumption in China is expected to rise by 50% by 2030, WildAid reported, and the carbon emissions from that meat could have a disastrous effect on the environment. 

One report from Nestle stated that if people around the world ate as much meat as Americans, the planet would have run out of water 16 years ago. Shit. 

There's more bad news: By 2050, meat consumption in China is expected to rise by 76% and dairy consumption by more than 60%, WildAid estimated. 

In his bodybuilding days, Schwarzenegger used to be a 250-pound meat-lover who ate almost 250 grams of protein per day, according Bodybuilding.com. Are you thinking it's kind of ironic that this former flexing phenom is preaching a meat-lite lifestyle?

Here The Arnold is pictured eating a Shake Shack burger -- no bun.
Source: 
Stephan Savoia/AP

"On the contrary," Andrew Harmon, WildAid communications director, said in an email. "Schwarzenegger's involvement in this campaign shows that you don't have to be a lifelong vegan or drive a Prius to make a difference." It's about eating less meat, he said. 

"You don't have to be a lifelong vegan or drive a Prius to make a difference."

In a behind-the-scenes clip from a WildAid PSA set to release later this summer, Schwarzenegger says his doctors have told him to lay off meat for years, and he extolls the benefits of less meat. "I tell you: I feel fantastic," The Arnold says. He even condemns people who think meat is essential for muscle. 

"If they tell you to eat more meat to be strong, don't buy it," Schwarzenegger says. BRB, putting down our steak knives. 

While Arnold's foray into flexitarianism (a semi-vegetarian diet) is new, he's actually been dairy-free for decades. PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, noted that he hasn't eaten dairy in at least 40 years. Remember when he said "milk is for babies"? Man stays true to his word. 

A photo posted by (@) on

Cameron's involvement in the campaign is a little less surprising — the director's ecological activism is an undertone in Avatar, the popular science-fiction movie about life after the Earth is inhabitable. 

"How can I call myself an environmentalist when I'm contributing to environmental degradation by what I eat?" he says during the behind-the-scenes clip. 

The Cameron and Schwarzenegger WildAid campaign will appear on billboards in every province and autonomous region of China, Harmon said in an email. 

In the meantime, make like Arnold and say hasta la vista to some of the meat on your plate. 

Source: Giphy

Read more:
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How much do you trust the information in this article?

Alex Orlov

Alex is a food staff writer. She can be reached at aorlov@mic.com.

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