Carrie Underwood and 5 Other Country Stars You Didn’t Know Were Plant-Based
Country music may be associated with homestyle American cooking like meat and potatoes and, of course, all that barbecue. But for these country music stars, leaving meat off the plate is a must for their hit-making happiness. Is your favorite country music singer meat-free?
6 Country Stars You Didn't Know Were Plant-Based or Vegan
1. Carrie Underwood
Seven-time Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood has been hailed for her “enormous” vocal range. And she doesn’t just use her voice to sell records. The multi-platinum artist also makes sure to speak up for animals.
Underwood grew up on a farm in Oklahoma, and never thought much about what happened to the cows her family raised, until one day, she finally thought to ask and learned that they were slaughtered according to a 2017 SELF article. After that, she decided she would cut out meat from her diet.
“It just freaked me out and that was that,” Underwood told SELF. “I didn’t become vegan right away, but I quit eating beef and didn’t eat a whole lot of other meat." Underwood went to California with American Idol, and found that it was much easier to eat vegan there, with vegan options aplenty. "I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is easy here!’” By the time she was 22, she had completely cut meat from her diet.
As her fame grew, Underwood became a vocal advocate for animal rights. The singer adopted a fully vegan diet in 2011 and has since used her voice to speak out against “Ag Gag” bills designed to prevent undercover investigators from exposing animal cruelty at factory farms. In 2013, after Tennessee’s governor Bill Haslam was expected to sign the bill into law, Underwood tweeted: “Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who’s with me?”
When it comes to her diet, Underwood’s a fan of breakfast burritos and lots of tofu. She doesn’t shy away from the carbs, either. According to Cheat Sheet, one of her favorite snacks is a toasted English muffin with peanut butter. Has she tried Dunkin’s English muffin with the vegan Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty yet?
2. Blake Shelton
Singer, songwriter, and “The Voice” coach, Blake Shelton, 43, has been working to stay fit recently with help from his long-time love, Gwen Stefani, who is a vegetarian and told him to get off the meat if he wants to feel fitter and lose some weight. Shelton has been trying to keep up with Stefani's impressive fitness level, according to an interview Stefani gave this fall. The former No Doubt singer and Hollaback girl is a longtime vegetarian, eats a mostly vegan diet, and is super fit – and at 50, looks younger than her years. A source told Gossipcop, “Gwen’s told him the way to lose it is to stay the hell away from meat and bad carbs.” We're rooting for him!
3. Shania Twain
The best-selling female country music singer in history isn’t buying any expensive steak dinners after a performance. The “Queen of Country Pop” has sold more than 100 million records but says she keeps her meat-free diet simple. She is both vegetarian and eats very little dairy – though at times has said she does eat eggs.
We are so impressed that her diet obviously keeps her looking gorgeous and young -- since when we checked her age we were shocked to learn that Twain is 54 years young. The singer loves to feast on fiber-rich lentil bowls, such as quinoa pilafs, and easy roasted potatoes. But her favorite meat-free indulgence? Fried dill pickle chips. “It’s a Canadian thing!” We say: We'll have what she's having.
4. Annette Conlon
Americana singer and songwriter Annette Conlon is also a passionate vegan. She started “The Compassionette Tour,” in an effort to bring compassion, social consciousness, human interaction, and animal issues to a mainstream audience.
If you haven't heard of her yet, you should since her album, Life, Death & The Spaces Between was nominated for a Grammy in 2016. Check out her website here for more on the rising star.
“I am excited to share my love for animals and veganism through music with folks across the country and to show them how easy it is to live more compassionately, from what you eat to what you wear, while helping folks make the connection that our animal friends are not food,” she said in a 2017 interview.
5. Johnny Cash
The Man in Black is synonymous with country music, even nearly two decades after his death (1932-2003), probably in part because of the biopic about his life starring vegan actor Joaquin Phoenix. The movie "Walk the Line," was nominated for five Oscars, grossed $186 million, and gave Reese Witherspoon her first Oscar for her portrayal of June Cash. Even in the film, his music is addictive and haunting.
Ask any die-hard country music fan (or your dad, for that matter) and they will tell you that Johnny Cash was one of the best-selling musicians of all time. His scores of hits include “I Walk the Line,” "Hurt," "A Boy Named Sue," and dozens of others. Cash himself was believed to have lived meat-free later in life to help combat some health issues. At Johnny Cash’s Kitchen and Saloon in Nashville, you can also load up on the meat-free dishes as the restaurant boasts a fully stacked veggie menu that includes greens, sweet potato mash, and fried okra.