President Bill Clinton did it after having heart trouble. "The Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper and actress Olivia Wilde do it, and were named sexiest at it. Actor Tobey Maguire managed to keep doing it and still bulk up to play Spider-Man.
All are famous vegans, forgoing not only meat, but any food produced by an animal, which means no eggs or dairy. Vegans are part of the big vegetarian family, but are the strictest of the group.
Veganism is a simpler way of life in an urban environment. In major cities or college towns, there are restaurants devoted to vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. But how does one manage it in a town like Springfield?
"If you cook for yourself, it's easy," said Charles Hershey, president of the Springfield Vegetarian Association, and a vegan. "If you're eating out, it is more challenging."
Hershey said that the Holy Land Diner is probably the most vegan-friendly local restaurant. Holy Land offers an all-vegetarian (and mostly vegan) buffet on Saturday nights.
Hershey, who adopted veganism in 1978, said that Chipotle, Noodles & Company, a Taste of Thai and Gateway to India also make it easy to be vegan. "In general, ethnic restaurants are the way to go."
Veganism, according to numerous vegan-advocacy websites, is as much a state of mind or philosophy of life as it is a diet plan. Most vegans also strive to eliminate animal products from their clothes and homes as well as their diet.
Meat and dairy are prime sources of protein and calcium in many peoples' diets, so those substances must be replaced on a vegan diet.
Here is how vegans go about doing just that:
Even the vegan-advocacy websites suggest that you consult with a doctor or a nutritionist before embarking on a vegan diet. And although some sites say it is possible to raise a child on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is recommended that you consult the child's physician first to ensure they are getting the proper nutrients.
But say your child decides of his or her own volition to go vegan. How exactly do you, say, make them a birthday cake?
According to the website vegetarianvegan.com, here is how you substitute the ingredients of a typical cake:
Hershey said vegans should be careful in some restaurants that purport to offer vegan dishes, but they use meat stock or oyster or fish in the sauces. Hershey lauded Noodles & Company as an example of a restaurant that understands its vegetarian/vegan population.
"They have information available," he said. "They define what they mean by vegetarian or vegan, and you know what you have to order and how to order it to meet each of those criteria.
"That kind of thing is becoming more common. Many people, probably most food servers, have heard the term vegan and have a sense of what it means."
More resources for vegetarians