What Hollywood Thinks of Vegans, Juicing Enthusiasts, and Fruitarians

Wednesday Aug 13 | BY |
| Comments (5)

Hollywood is full of clichés and stereotypes. Watch an old movie with Clint Eastwood, like “Dirty Harry,” and you might notice how all the women in the movie are either victims, secretaries, or prostitutes. African-American guys, of course, are low-class thugs. Nowadays, a movie like Dirty Harry would not pass the Politically Correct police.

Yet, I’m pretty sure that in 30 years we’ll look at today’s movies with a similar shock for all the stereotypes that are conveyed.

For example, how does Hollywood view vegetarians, juicing enthusiasts, and other “healthy” eaters. Usually, making fun of them is what writers like to do. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Holder, in AMC’s The Killing

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“Already done, mamacita. Even without my joe with a kiss of hemp milk I´m a 1-900 rockstar.”

In this great dark crime drama featuring Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, we’re transported to Seattle, where the writers twist the weather to make it rain already more than it does there (a Nature stereotype to begin with!), where a dark world of serial killers and flawed but talented detectives play a game of catch mouse.

Stephen Holder, the character played by Kinnaman, is a former drug addict who’s now a respected detective. He’s street-smart, funny, witted… and a vegan! We see him munching on carrots in the first few seasons, and in the last one, on kale chips!

Notwithstanding the fact that Holder smokes cigarettes and loves junk food, he’s got plenty to say about nutrition, annoying of his co-workers in the process.

He’s a vegetarian who orders a burger without the meat, but with pork rinds. The reasoning? “Pork rinds’a junk food. Don’t count!”

 Personal note from Fred: I love this series and the Holder character. Check out the latest season on Netflix. He’s unleashed! 

Thanks for Sharing

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In this 2013 movie, Gwyneth Paltrow is a health food and exercise junkie. She meets a sweet guy who makes her laugh and with whom she has this incredible connection,only to find out that he’s another kind of addict… a sex addict. The reformed kind, that goes to sex addict meetings to control his addiction for porn and so on.

In one scene, we see Paltrow’s character enjoying a meal of… vegetables! Thus, reinforcing the myth that to be healthy we must starve ourselves on meals containing barely 300 calories, after of course burning 1000 calories through exercise! And then we can hope to look like Gwyneth Paltrow.

Notting Hill

In this 1999 movie, Hugh Grant’s character is back on the dating scene. In one of his crazy dates, he meets a “fruitarian” who explains her philosophy as follows:

Keziah: No thanks, I’m a fruitarian.
Max: I didn’t realize that.
William: And, ahm: what exactly is a fruitarian?
Keziah: We believe that fruits and vegetables have feeling so we think cooking is cruel. We only eat things that have actually fallen off a tree or bush – that are, in fact, dead already.
William: Right. Right. Interesting stuff. So, these carrots…
Keziah: Have been murdered, yes.
William: Murdered? Poor carrots. How beastly!

Full clip below:

The Overly Sensitive Vegetarian Girl

In general, Hollywood prefers to overly sensitive girls (or single women) as vegetarians. In the movie “Year of the Dog,” Molly Shannon’s character plays a lonely, awkward single woman who’s on best terms with her dog Pensil, and is of course a vegan, because she can’t stand the killing of animals.

And of course, how can we forget Lisa Simpson’s conversion to vegetarianism, in the classic episode “Lisa the Vegetarian.” After a trip to the zoo where she petted a lamb, Lisa goes home for dinner only to find out that what’s being served tonight… is lamb! The connection is made, and Lisa’s epiphany transforms her into a vegetarian overnight.

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In general, Hollywood likes to portray healthy eaters as extremist (although often likable) characters, and likes to emphasize on the ethical aspect of vegetarianism as generally the main reason for “conversion,” especially if the character is a woman.

I believe that these stereotypes come from the own bias of the writers, who have probably encountered some of these characters in real life, but yet have failed to understand the nuances of what lead people to make major dietary changes.

Do you have other examples of Hollywood’s portrayals of healthy eating to share?

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Bill says:

    Fred,

    I think that movies tend to portray our real stereotypes. When a slender women tells you she is Vegan it is almost like you expect to hear that as women generally are more likely to become more healthy. When a man claims to be Vegan it comes as a shock to most people especially an older man as they are supposed to be beer guzzling, burger eating Neanderthals.

    We do need more examples in movies of strong leads (male or female) that are vegan and you will see a lot more acceptance of diet. People are generally followers and want to be a part of what’s popular.

    Another movie I saw a few years back was “The Lake Effect” which portrayed (more stereotypically) the female lead as a Vegan. I liked the movie and it was filmed in South Haven, MI which is coincidentally where Jill Ovnik does her vegan retreats but she was not aware of the movie.

    Have a super day!!

    Bill

  2. Jo says:

    Hi-Yet Frederic now seems to be the one wanting to kill the raw food movement.
    So what are those of us with severe health issues, just getting started, supposed to
    believe and do?

  3. The discussion on food seems to continue to generate interest. It is certainly a topic that has kept my attention just when I thought everything about it had been said. Though I have always leaned toward a plant based diet, I have not identified with any one school of thought. At the same time I appreciate the beliefs and reasoning behind each approach. I have at times fallen into the trap of judging others or their teachings as good or bad. I have had to eventually acknowledge that each of us humans is very different, with different genetic codes, histories, body types, backgrounds, and education. How do I know what is best for you when I am having to study and determine what is best for me. I have recognized that my addiction to cheese may well have started in Holland, but then maybe it is part of my DNA from generations past. Does it matter? I no longer consume excessive cheese or dairy based on my knowledge and my awareness of how it makes me feel, Yes, I still eat and enjoy it, but eat it more consciously. I feel we might do well to educate those under our sphere of influence about the food/diet options, and encourage them to intuit what foods work best for them. I aim to teach my clients to make the best decisions to take care of themselves without depending on me, or anyone else.

  4. kristin says:

    a really positive one recently is Monroe, the reformed werewolf on the show Grimm. he holds onto the non violent aspects of his roots, but has progressed beyond desiring the flesh. and he is a sweet, hot dude always inviting people for his veg cooking!

  5. Satori says:

    I think they like to make fun of healthy eaters in films because in reality they can’t. Nobody knows why a person eats a certain way. It could be religious reasons or a devastating disease. So they respect what others eat while rolling their eyes in their heads.

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