Issa Rae was a vegetarian for 15 years, but now she’s ‘Paleo-leaning’ because of bacon

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There are so many actresses who play-act the idea of “being real” in public life. Very few of them come across as anything other than contrived or performative. But Issa Rae is different, right? I actually believe whatever she says. I really believe that she’s felt awkward and different throughout most of her life. And I believe her when she talks about gaining and losing weight and how she can worry about body image and all of that and still feel like it’s part of her job to look a certain way. Issa covers the April issue of Women’s Health – it’s a great, colorful shoot full of spring colors and Issa looking hot and sassy. You can read the full interview here. Some highlights:

On the “new money weight” she gained when she became successful: “When the Web series started, I was very, very broke. Then more opportunities began to come. I was gaining New Money Weight. When you get a new job, you’re like, ‘I can afford to eat at restaurants all the time!’ That adds up in weight.”

On when weight began to mess with her self-esteem: “Time to work out is so limited, but when I first started seeing myself on TV, I was like, ‘I gotta make time.’”

On daily exercise not coming naturally: “I was a big excuse person when it came to exercising and eating right. I’d have spurts of trying to work out and be good. Then once I fell off, I’d be like, ‘Well, there’s always next year. Let me make it my New Year’s revolution.’ But even then, I would still be eating wrong while exercising vigorously.”

On the routine that gets her out of bed at 4:55 a.m.: “I exercise for, like, an hour each day. My neighborhood has a bunch of hills. Then I alternate between walking and jogging. I hate jogging – you’re going in circles, but I recognize that it helps.”

On accidentally discovering how exercise helps her mental well-being: “You know those earbuds that you put in your ears? I was running, and one fell. It was dark outside and I couldn’t find it. So I was just forced to be alone with my thoughts, and I was like, ‘Oh, I need to do this more often.’ Those moments are the most creative. I think finding those moments while also nurturing your body is important.”

[From Women’s Health]

She also told Women’s Health that she was a vegetarian for 15 years but nowadays she’s more “paleo-leaning” and she recently “rediscovered” bacon. Which is funny to me, because bacon is one of the big reasons why I could never even try to be vegetarian for any length of time. I don’t need bacon every day or even every week, but I need to wake up every morning and know that I could have some bacon if I wanted it.

I sort of understand what she’s saying about jogging and her mental well-being, although I find that I do need music to properly zone out and improve my mental health. I’ve tried going to the gym without my iPod and it drives me up the wall. But that’s just my thing – I need white noise or music constantly. I also can’t fall asleep unless there’s some kind of white noise.


Photos courtesy of Ben Watts for Women’s Health, sent from a promotional Women’s Health email.

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16 Responses to “Issa Rae was a vegetarian for 15 years, but now she’s ‘Paleo-leaning’ because of bacon”

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  1. Char says:

    That’s a bum, cause if you are vegetarian because of the animal cause, you wouldn’t go back to bacon.

    • Sojaschnitzel says:

      Unless you are vegetarian/vegan for 30 years, because of the animal cause, and you are sick all the time, and the doctors tell you that you need to change your diet b/c you’re just not getting enough b-vitamins or whatever (I forgot) and then you start supplementing those but things don’t look up so one day you cave and start eating eggs (rarely, hate them) and the occasional fish and suddenly you’re not getting sick anymore. Happened both to me and a friend of mine who was in a really bad condition due to his veganism. It’s not the same for everybody though. I have friends who have been vegan for 20y+ aswell and they are doing just fine. So… hooray if you can pull it off, but please don’t shame people who have to give up due to health issues, even when they were in it for the animal cause. <3

      • elimaeby says:

        I have to agree here. I was vegan for years. I suddenly, around 30, developed all kinds of issues that were almost mimicking an autoimmune disorder. I was losing feeling in my extremities, was constantly exhausted, had aches in my muscles. I vomited every morning when I woke up. No amount of supplements helped.

        My nutritionists and I slowly reintroduced dairy and egg into my diet, and I’ve been getting my strength back, slowly but surely. I always try to go as local, cage free, grass-fed, free range and cruelty-free as I can. I hate that I can’t be fully vegan, but my body truly rebelled against it.

      • Brie says:

        It doesn’t sound like that is the case for her. The article says that she was a vegetarian, so she was presumably still consuming dairy and/or eggs. Those foods do contain vitamins which vegans would usually take supplements for. You’re talking about adding eggs and fish back into your diet to get B12 and D vitamins from natural food sources, not chowing down on bacon. There is no health benefit in incorporating strips of carcinogenic fat into your diet, so it doesn’t seem the same to me.

  2. Onemoretime says:

    What’s going on with her leg on the cover photo? That photo shop is awful.
    I love Issa and everything she does!

  3. huckle says:

    She’s absolutely gorgeous.

  4. ByTheSea says:

    Love her, but I think she had new money weight loss. She was never this thin on her web series.

    • Jb says:

      Exactly! Most celebrities get thinner as they gain more success…trainers dieticians chefs higher quality food and best of everything! There’s a reason why poor health and poverty are linked…huge eye roll when she says she gained weight!

  5. Sparker says:

    Bacon is a gateway drug. No matter how long you’ve veggied, it’s gonna getcha.

  6. Trillian says:

    I don‘t understand the world‘s obsession with bacon. I really can‘t stand it. I hate the smell of it.

    • Holly says:

      Same. It’s so puzzling to me why people obsess over it. I wish I liked it, but I can’t.

    • Léna says:

      Same. I don’t hate it but it’s probably the easiest thing to drop if I ever stop eating meat.

    • Shannon Malcom says:

      Thank you! I don’t hate bacon, but I don’t get the big deal about it. I can basically take it or leave it, and everyone I know finds that so appalling lol

  7. Jaded says:

    Processed meats like bacon are really not good for you – high fat and nitrate content increases the risk for colorectal cancer – best not to eat it. I gave it and beef, pork and lamb up a decade ago.

  8. sammiches says:

    I love Issa. I love Insecure. I am dying for the next season.

  9. me says:

    All I gotta say is she really has one of the nicest smiles I’ve ever seen. She glows when she smiles.