Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: “I’ve basically become a Vegetarian.”

Via Waylon Lewis
on May 26, 2011
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“I only eat meat I kill.”

“I just killed a pig and a goat.”

Props, Young World Ruler…

Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan and Alice Waters and Jamie Oliver would approve:

“I’m eating a lot healthier foods,” Mr. Zuckerberg told Fortune. “And I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals,” he says. “It’s easy to take the food we eat for granted when we can eat good things every day.”

And, in a message to Fortune:

This year, my personal challenge is around being thankful for the food I have to eat. I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have. This year I’ve basically become a vegetarian since the only meat I’m eating is from animals I’ve killed myself. So far, this has been a good experience. I’m eating a lot healthier foods and I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals.

I started thinking about this last year when I had a pig roast at my house. A bunch of people told me that even though they loved eating pork, they really didn’t want to think about the fact that the pig used to be alive. That just seemed irresponsible to me. I don’t have an issue with anything people choose to eat, but I do think they should take responsibility and be thankful for what they eat rather than trying to ignore where it came from.

More from Fortune:

“I was surprised by how many of my friends have interests in some of the areas I’m exploring in such diverse ways. Many are vegetarian, some enjoy hunting and some even farm. My girlfriend is my main partner in this, though, since we eat the most meals together.”Zuckerberg’s learning curve has been evolutionary: moving from sea creatures to land animals. His first kill was a lobster, which he boiled alive. He says it was a difficult kill, at least emotionally. He had an entirely new feeling once he took a bite: “The most interesting thing was how special it felt to eat it after having not eaten any seafood or meat in a while.”

After the lobster, the next animal to fall at his hands was a chicken. What’s next on this journey? He’s told people that he’s interested in going hunting.

Zuckerberg says the new kill-what-you-eat diet hasn’t changed his frequent restaurant goings; he just limits himself to places where he can eat vegetarian…for the rest.

Bonus: the chef who’s Zuck’s mentor in this endeavor:

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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom


23 Responses to “Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: “I’ve basically become a Vegetarian.””

  1. michele5908 says:

    "I don’t have an issue with anything people choose to eat, but I do think they should take responsibility and be thankful for what they eat rather than trying to ignore where it came from." wow, how well put. I have little doubt that mindset would change the food choices of most Americans…not necessarily to vegetarian, but at least away from factory farming, undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Brian Adler I bet that makes him the richest vegetarian in the world, for whatever that's worth.
    14 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
    Elizabeth Pickett That's unfortunate. I like doing the opposite of what Mark does.

    Marcus Hartsfield this just really smells of a precious privileged white life.

    Jeff Zelnio I think that is fantastic, good for him!

    Awww, Marcus? I'd think we'd celebrate the fact that he's taking responsibility for his diet and thinking about sustainability. He is obviously privileged, but this is a positive development: true obnoxious privilege is taking everything fo…r granted—just eating factory farmed/tortured animals, for example, as 95% of us do in US, whether privileged or now.

    I think it's so easy for you and I to be a hater online…getting sick of it. Can't we just give props, be gentle, be constructive once in awhile?

    Nicole Kutun what a tool!

    Marcus Hartsfield ok, ok…..i see your points and i agree with you. i dunno, it just seems like a thing a privileged person does because they can and then they flaunt it. poor people do not have this luxury.

    elephantjournal.com I hear you…but poor people across the world obviously hunt their own animals. Zuck is a thought leader, whether we like or no, and Facebook is a world shaker. So seeing him get more educated as to factory farm system, diet, responsibility is heartening, personally.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    Nicole, did you read his commentary, or just comment after reading the headline? Read his words, I think you'll see more thoughtfulness than you might expect. ~ Waylon Lewis

  4. elephantjournal says:

    Gary Smith
    File this under Mark Zuckerberg is an asshole. "On his journey toward a more humane approach to food, the 27-year-old billionaire (and mostly vegetarian) has killed not only goats but also chickens and pigs." Mostly vegetarian? Uhm…

    Waylon Lewis Really? This is way betttter than mindless meat eaters, of whom 95% of our population is composed of. I'd think you'd celebrate the fact that he, in his own words, is not "basically a vegetarian," since he only eats animals/fish he's taken responsibility for killing himself. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/05/facebooks-

    Gary Smith Not interested in supporting yet another hipster glorifying murdering animals.

    Erin E
    I was going to send this to you and posted it just a few hours ago :-/ Also sad that he PURCHASED a puppy from some evil puppy breeder (mill/) yet announced that he "adopted" but was later outed for buying one. Sad he is the founder (OR TH…IEF actually as he stole it) of facebook and could set such an example yet he buys a dog and does lots of other bad things. Evil little thief. Wish someone nice/real/honest/humane would start a better site and we could all switch over………See More
    13 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
    PS self described vegetarian who "adopted a dog and started facebook (accurate description- likes to kill pigs and other bright animals, purchase inbred puppy mill dogs and steal social networking sites and misrepresent and brag about himself often. TOTAL loser.

    Ashley M Yep, total loser who we are supporting. But as you mentioned, I'm not sure we are gonna find a site out there that has someone nice running the show. They probably all fish, hunt or butcher animals like Marky Mark. Tough decision here.

    Philip S http://philbertsuggs.blogspot.com/2006/07/group-s

    Waylon Lewis Gary, I hear you, but don't you think this is a step forward? A big one? Getting rid of 95% of meat in his diet? Getting rid of supporting factory farmed/tortured animals? It's not vegan, I hear you, but don't know why you and everyone here has to be so vitriolic about what is clearly a major step forward from a thought leader, whether we like him or no. This is yet another example of vegans being really vicious, seems to me. Famous ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek did an interview in Boulder today where he described his diet as plant-based (he's vegan), because he didn't want to be associated with the term "vegan." I admire your work and values. I'm moving toward a vegan diet myself, thanks to your example (I've been vegetarian, as you know, for 9 years now). But this kind of viciousness in these comments does not help your wonderful, necessary cause.

    {Gary is a wonderful vegan leader and writer and there were 40 other comments already in this thread on this page, all or almost all vvvvery negative ~ ed.}

  5. lisa says:

    unbelievable that people would criticize his proactive stance and awareness. I am not a vegetarian nor a vegan, yet I avoid factory farmed animal products. I eat VERY little meat, if any…eggs only from local small farms…etc. Even the head of the Hare Krisna temple is less judgmental..actually he is not judgmental at all!!…regarding those who choose to eat meat. We just had a discussion about it this week and he said it all starts with awareness and making a connection. When we know better, we do better. Om shanti.

  6. nandop says:

    Elephant's headline was one of the few that actually focused on the most important outcome of Zuckerberg talk: that he's basicaly become of a vegetarian. Because "now he feels responsible".

    Cheers to awareness and responsability and to leading example. A loving step towards animals and humanity.

    With awareness comes all the rest.

  7. Kim says:

    He has made a huge step towards living more conscious. Can't we applaud this step in his life journey? Everyone is on their own journey and should NEVER be judged for that. Seriously getting tired of "Vegan" diet people and their high horse. Get off it. Someone here actually said the have "no respect for anyone who eats meat". Really?? Do you hear yourself?? How sad is that, that you respect so few human beings because of where they are at on their path. YOU are not VEGAN. YOU are a human being that eats a vegan DIET. Stop labeling yourselves like it's your job or you received a saint patch from the universe.
    Disclaimer: I don't eat meat, eggs or dairy. I am still Kim. I just have a very selective diet. And I respect all people no matter what they choose to eat.

  8. kmh says:

    great post, huge step forward for MZ. all the haters should realize that the hardline preachy criticism from those calling him a "moron" for even trying to choose a new path is a big reason vegetarianism or at least more conscious eating choices don't spread to a widen audience in North America. Give the guy a break!

  9. Antoinette says:

    Only a militant vegetarian or vegan could miss the opportunity for compassion to a fellow human working on himself and his path. Its a special kind of ignorance, a new breed of spiritual materialism. Its no different than any other kind of religious intolerance. Your path is your own, Zuck (or anyone else) doesn’t have to be wrong in order for you to be right.

  10. 32000days says:

    As a vegan, I respect his change.

    I could go on a flame war about how this means nothing, but I think the world's youngest billionaire becoming more involved and understanding where his food comes from is a good step. The more people get truly connected with nature and realize that meat comes from an animal, not a styrofoam tray, the more conscious we will all be about out food.

    Fellow vegans – we don't win any converts by foaming at the mouth about how evil he is and how this change means nothing. Our viewpoint is a minority – let's not marginalize ourselves by looking any more fringe than we already do.

  11. Na says:

    Props to zuck, he’s making a very thoughtful and respectful decision. And good dialogue here, except for the vegan extremists who have the least open mind of everyone.

  12. marilee r torres says:

    i totally understand his attitude and to some degree try to function along the same line. i have butchered chickens and turkeys and i have caught ,killed and cleaned fish. i could not,would not even dream of facing a cow or pig and ending it's life and eating it.i go days without any meat and when i do eat meat i am mindful of the life it was and i try to be conscientious about using without wasting-using the meat,skin, bones as part of my cats' and dogs' food supply.. zuckerberg is seeking earnestly , and imperfectly, on his life path–as we all are as individual on our journeys.

  13. […] I think a stronger person might have just let the whole thing drop, maybe just short of viewing his Facebook page, but I could not help but pick just a little at it like a itchy hardened scab on a wound that […]

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