Cillian Murphy Discusses His Decision To Go Plant-Based

Actor Cillian Murphy has discussed the benefits of a plant-based diet


3 Minutes Read

Vegan celebrity Cillian Murphy Cillian Murphy opened up about his decision to "go vegan" in a podcast interview - Media Credit: Geisler-Fotopress GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Irish actor Cillian Murphy, the winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 2024 Oscars for his starring role in the blockbuster Oppenheimer, has opened up about adopting a plant-based diet.

Appearing on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast last year, Murphy told the host: “I’ve been trying the vegan thing.” He cited the benefits to his health and the environment as his primary motivators for eating plant-based.

While Murphy admitted “I miss cheese terribly,” he went on to say “I don’t miss the meat. I’ve been off the meat for a long time. I did have a kind of a relapse and I didn’t feel any better, so I’m back off it again.”

When asked by Maron if his reasoning is ethical or health-conscious, Murphy said “Both, now. In the beginning, there was loads of Mad Cow Disease and all that stuff happening. But I just think it’s better for the planet.” Veganism is a lifestyle choice against animal exploitation, and it’s not known if Murphy has moved entirely towards being vegan.

Born in the city of Cork, Ireland, Murphy has established himself as one of the most sought-after actors working in the film and television industry. His recurring role as Birmingham gangster Tommy Shelby in the series Peaky Blinders brought him international fame, almost a decade after his breakthrough role in the zombie horror 28 Days Later. His role as J. Robert Oppenheimer, which also garnered him BAFTA and Golden Globe awards, is his sixth collaboration with director Christopher Nolan, having also starred in Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Dunkirk

Cillian Murphy ditches meat

Vegan celebrity Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer
FlixPix / Alamy Stock Photo Cillian Murphy recently won an Oscar for his role in Oppenheimer

Prior to his plant-based announcement, Murphy was a long-term vegetarian. He made the switch to vegetarianism approximately 15 years ago, with the outbreak of Mad Cow Disease at the time prompting him to remove meat from his diet due to fears of zoonotic diseases. (Zoonotic diseases are heavily linked to animal agriculture – the swine flu outbreak of 2009 spread in pig farms, and there is growing concern about avian flu outbreaks affecting animals in farms around the world.)

When commencing filming for Peaky Blinders, Murphy began incorporating meat back into his diet at the recommendation of his trainer at the time. “They were anxious that I shouldn’t look like a skinny Irish fella, and my trainer recommended meat,” he said in an interview with Mr Porter.

While the notion from his trainer that Murphy needed to eat meat to build his physique for the role of Tommy Shelby is still commonly held, this is a very common misunderstanding around the vegan diet and health. A well-planned plant-based diet provides all the protein requirements for a regular person or a bodybuilder’s needs. There are many professional bodybuilders and athletes who thrive on a plant-based diet.

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