Arnold Schwarzenegger may be considered one of the world’s manliest men, as both a champion bodybuilder as well as an action movie star.
However, the former California governor recently confessed in an interview covered by Men’s Health that his diet is far from the meat and potatoes variety that fits a masculine stereotype.
Rather, the Kindergarten Cop actor believes the best diet for a killer body is mainly plant based. As an added bonus, eating that way is better for the environment.
The comments come from a new documentary, The Game Changers, which looks at the growth of veganism within the world of pro sports. Schwarzenegger, though not a vegan, has said that he has cut down his meat consumption by 80 percent.
Apparently, many men have shied away from trying a vegan or plant-based diet. A Vegan Society survey found that only 27 percent of vegans in the United Kingdom were male as compared to 63 percent female, via Plant Based News.
Some worry this is due to negative stereotypes about veganism, such as disproven links to anemia and other body ailments.
Another possible reason men aren’t as willing to give veganism a chance is because of their cultural connection to meat.
Psychology Today found that most recent studies conclude that North Americans still perceive “lighter” foods, such as fruits and vegetables as feminine. Meanwhile, “heavy” foods, especially meat, were seen as being masculine, per The National Post.
Schwarzenegger acknowledged the unconscious bias, but he has stated that he hopes to break through this barrier.
“There’s no one that can relate to it better than I do because I’ve lived in that world,” the 72-year-old actor explained.
“‘Steak is for men’… They show these commercials—burgers, George Foreman with the grill and epic sandwich—this is great, great marketing for the meat industry, selling the idea that real men eat meat.”
“But you’ve got to understand, it’s marketing. It’s not based on reality,” Schwarzenegger concluded.
Schwarzenegger is not the only muscular powerhouse to pledge allegiance to plant-based foods. Patriots superstar Tom Brady has been open about his alkaline-based diet, claiming this way of eating has helped him remain as a top football athlete despite being in his 40s. Although he occasionally eats meat, Brady prefers alkaline foods such as vegetables, according to Vox.
Another famous vegan athlete is tennis champion Serena Williams. The multiple gland slam winner follows a strict plant-based diet during training and tournament times. However, Serena lets loose to enjoy some cheating foods, like fried chicken and tacos, during the off-season, states Women’s Health.