If you follow this blog, you know I’ve got mad love for Alicia Silverstone. Her outlook on veganism and life in general is so positive and inspiring and she is a great source for all kinds of useful tips and delicious recipes (like Saturday’s french toast!).
Last week, an excerpt of an interview she gave to a German magazine started getting some publicity on the web and it raises an interesting point. She’s been vegan for over a decade and told the magazine that she believes her looks have improved as a direct result:
Being vegan changes everything. First of all your looks. You don’t need any expensive creams anymore because your skin, hair and fingernails just look better. And you lose weight – without the yo-yo effect.
I recall her having mentioned something similar about her newly “glowing” skin in her best-selling book, The Kind Diet, as well.
Here’s the thing: I fully believe that her experience has been exactly as she describes. I am, however, a little hesitant to use improved appearance as one of the (many) benefits/selling points of veganism because I think everyone’s experience is different in that regard. There’s actual science to back up the health benefits, but whether or not going vegan will make you better looking is less certain.
Coincidentally, the improved hottie quotient is actually something I hear people list as a benefit of their experience with veganism quite often – particularly from older converts. I think that goes along with something else Alicia said in the interview that got a little less buzz:
Before I became vegan I didn’t even know how good I could feel. I don’t have mood changes that much anymore and I am much fitter. You become more sensitive in a good way and you pay more attention to your body.
I think that sort of nails it.
I will say, I too have experienced a bit of what Alicia is describing, particularly as it relates to my skin. I’m certainly not “glowing” as Alicia does (I still look sort of sad and sickly without makeup), but there has been one significant improvement.
Like many people, I have struggled with acne since high school. A round of Accutane (sort of the nuclear option in acne treatment, if you will) in college improved things a lot, but the problem didn’t completely disappear until about a year ago when I went vegan. Maybe that’s a coincidence, but as someone who had literally tried everything, I highly doubt it. There’s been a little research to suggest that dairy could be a contributing factor to problem skin. For me, at least, I definitely think there is some truth to that.
Additionally, I have also experienced a newfound stability in the number on the scale – which is always a good thing.
As I said, I wouldn’t recommend conversion to a vegan diet soley for the beauty benefits. For some people, that just isn’t part of the deal. However, as Alicia was hinting at, so much of our perception of beauty is tied to the way we feel, and there is no doubt that veganism is something to feel good about. I’d say, give veganism a go for your health, for animals or both. If you end up looking like Alicia Silverstone as well, think of it as a (fantastic!) fringe benefit!