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Natalie Portman's Vegan Wedding - Weird or A Healthy New Tradition?

Natalie Portman, Vegan Weddings, vegan diet, vegan health benefits

When planning a wedding reception, two of the most important decisions that a couple makes is the food they will serve their guests (beef, chicken or fish) and the type and style of wedding cake. This past weekend, Natalie Portman wed choregrapher Benjamin Millipied and tossed all tradition to the wind. Her menu was 100% vegan.

The couple, who met in fall 2009 on the set of Portman’s movie “Black Swan” and were engaged and expecting their first child in December 2010, were married in an traditional Jewish ceremony after sundown on Saturday, August 4th in Big Sur, California. (Portman was born in Jerusalem.) As in other Jewish celebrations, weddings often involve festive meals. In this case, the festivities did not include any animal products in keeping with the bride’s vegetarian/vegan diet.

The wedding was designed and coordinated by Yifat Oren and Associates of Los Angeles.

Natalie Portman was vegetarian for twenty years before deciding to adopt a vegan diet after reading the book “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. In addition to supporting animal rights, the actress made the change because the book reminded her that “food is symbolic of what we believe in, and that eating is how we demonstrate to ourselves and to others our beliefs.”

A vegan diet has many health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancers. Those eschewing animal products often have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and less arthritis symptoms. In addition, when well-planned, the vegan diet is lower in fat, higher in fiber, and provides many micronutrients such as vitamins C and E, folate, potassium, and antioxidants. And yes, vegans get plenty of protein.

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Notably, Portman did return to eating some animal products during her pregnancy with now 14-month-old son Aleph in order to ensure she met all nutrient needs for her growing baby. "I was listening to my body to have eggs and dairy and that sort of thing,” she told an Atlanta radio show host. "I know there are people who do stay vegan, and I think you have to just be careful, you have to watch your iron levels and your B12 levels and supplement that if there are things you might be low in in your diet," she told the radio station.

(The Vegan Society and The Vegetarian Resource Group have great information about how you can safely continue the vegan diet during your pregnancy.)

While some may cringe at weird, vegan food being served to them at a wedding, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) notes that vegan weddings can provide a great way to introduce family and friends to great tasting, healthful food that is reflective of your beliefs, ideals, and outlook on the world. The PETA website even offers some traditional Jewish foods made vegan, including Latkes and Kugel.

And cake with milk and eggs? Who needs it with so many delicious alternatives out there. The Daily Green has a delicious (and beautiful) Vegan Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Frosting. Portman and Millipied decided to skip a traditional cake and instead serve guests French macarons (the groom is from France).

So would you choose a wedding theme that reflects your own beliefs instead of simply going with tradition, even though some may call you “weird” or “hippie”? If so, PETA is an awesome reference site for vegan wedding ideas.

Resources Include:
People Magazine
The Stir (CafeMom)
The Huffington Post
The Vegan Society
The Vegetarian Resource Group
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons