How Lizzo and DJ Khaled are changing their minds about vegan food
From fashion to culture, celebrities are influential in so many ways and when they talk about vegan food, people listen.
Such was the case when Lizzo, who has been a vegan since 2020, recently visited FoodChasers Kitchen in Philadelphia. Owned by twin sisters Kala and Maya Johnstone, the restaurant is known for its meat and dairy menu where egg french toast, seafood grits and cheese steaks are highlights.
However, when they received a call about Lizzo’s planned visit, the Johnstones took on the challenge of preparing a vegan meal for the star and her guests. Usually closed on Wednesdays, the owners opened the restaurant for Lizzo and commissioned chef Naren Gosine to create an appetizing vegan menu.
So what did Chef Gosine invent? According to the local outlet The Philadelphia Investigator, the mushroom-focused five-course menu included vegan versions of FoodChaser classics, such as plant-based cheesy grits topped with seasoned mushrooms; tacos stuffed with fried mushrooms, avocado and pico de gallo; a meatball grinder made with portobello mushrooms and smothered in vegan cheese; a mushroom cheesesteak sandwich; and mushroom ravioli in a vegan butter sauce.
Lizzo enjoyed these items at FoodChasers while playing Uno with her guests. But most importantly, this visit was not just a fun time for the star, but added FoodChasers approach to food. Indeed, on October 13 and 14, the restaurant will serve some of the vegan dishes it has prepared for the star in addition to its usual menu.
DJ Khaled instructs Rick Ross on vegan milk
Musical artist DJ Khaled also flips the script on vegan milk. In the first episode of GQ Hype talk show– created to pit high-profile guests against each other to debate highly controversial topics – DJ Khaled and fellow music artist Rick Ross sat down to discuss snacks.
Ross brought his favorite savory snack to the table – his own Rozay Cheddar flavor from Rap Snacks – while DJ Khaled pleaded for sweet team snacks with a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal soaked in almond milk.
“But the key is almond milk. That’s the key,” said DJ Khaled, adding that he prefers his soggy cereal as a “refreshing” late-night snack.
“Rozay is always scared,” Ross said of almond milk, referring to her nickname in the third person. “I just got up on two percent milk a few weeks ago.” DJ Khaled took the opportunity to defend vegetable milk by saying: “No, no, no. Take the almond milk.
“Now you’re all trying to plot…and that’s the question, ‘Is it almond of [stet] the nut? Do they squeeze it out of the peanut? “Ross replied jokingly. DJ Khaled played along and said, ‘I don’t have that answer and I usually have all the answers.’
During the “closing statement” portion of the debate, DJ Khaled offered Ross a serving of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in a glass full of almond milk. Despite Ross’ initial hesitation, the musical artist devoured the sweet snack. “Now pour us two glasses of almond milk,” Ross said at the end of the show, “freshly strained.”
While Califia Farms almond milk that DJ Khaled touted on the show is vegan, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal is not. That’s because it’s fortified with vitamin D3, which is usually derived from lanolin (a byproduct of the wool industry).
Lizzo is changing the narrative on vegan food again
While DJ Khaled changed Ross’ perception of vegan milk, Lizzo is changing the narrative about vegan food in other ways. As seen in FoodChasers Kitchen’s Lizzo-inspired vegan menu, plant-based foods aren’t just sad salads and steamed vegetables, they’re just foods made without animal products.
With that in mind, Lizzo continues to challenge the narrative around vegan food as it intersects with fat phobia, an issue the 34-year-old has highlighted in many ways, including showing that fat bodies in the world are so beautiful.
Last year, Lizzo took to TikTok – a platform she uses to share vegan recipes and food discoveries – to stop fat shaming by sharing a video of herself in her underwear in eating a vegan egg sandwich to an audio clip of a woman saying, “I see way too many plus-size vegans. Are you gonna fry the lettuce?”
Lizzo clapped further in the caption of the TikTok video. “Yeah, actually I do,” Lizzo said of the fried lettuce.
“Shout out to all my fat vegans — we look as good as we feel… and haters, good luck chasing that narrow beauty standard,” Lizzo said.
Lizzo also continues to dispel vegan myths, including in a vanity lounge interview published this week. Here she spoke of the autonomy of the body with regard to reproductive rights; play James Madison’s 200-year-old crystal flute as a statement against racism and oppression; his vast musical influences; and how activism around body positivity connects to her plant-based lifestyle.
“I lead a very healthy life – mentally, spiritually, I try to keep everything I put in my body super clean. Health is a priority for me, wherever that takes me physically,” Lizzo said before to refer to the fried lettuce incident, “I’m not vegan to lose weight. I feel better when I eat plants.”