Former host of “The Daily Show” Jon Stewart is fully vegan now, thanks to his wife, Tracey Stewart, and her compassion for animals.
In an interview with Rip Esselstyn, founder of the Engine 2 Plant-Strong diet, Stewart said he went vegetarian around the time that he left his role as the host of “The Daily Show” in 2015.
At the wrap party, which consisted of catering tables lined with sliders, Stewart ate the only option available: a poached pear and almond butter sandwich. “That was when I first realized, ‘oh, pigs have a personality,'” he said. This was thanks to Tracey.
It was around that time that he and Tracey started working on their animal sanctuary, Hockhockson Farm Foundation in New Jersey. It’s currently home to horses, pigs, chickens, a goat, and sheep.
Adapting to Change
In the interview, Tracey explained that she Tracey had attended an Engine 2 retreat in Asheville, North Carolina over the summer. She had been vegan for a long time, but upon a doctor’s visit, she found that her numbers were “not great, but not terrible.” She explained that she was still eating a lot of processed foods and oil.
When Tracey returned from the retreat and explained that she thought a whole foods, plant-based diet—which excludes animal products, excess oil, and highly processed foods—would improve her health, Stewart joined her.
While Stewart was slower to change, Tracey still had a positive influence on him. He explained that once he started eating more plant-based food, he felt better and had more energy.
Stewart recalled when Tracey first got involved in animal rights, describing it as “living in a church that I’m not really a member of.”
He later added, “She’s always been a vanguard of positive change.” When Tracey learned of the cruelty in the meat and dairy industries, Stewart said, she vowed to never eat animal products again.
Speaking to how the American food system has changed, Stewart said: “It’s clear that something sinister has occurred in the American diet over the last 40 or 50 years.” He added, “foods are no longer really recognizable as foods and that there’s gotta be some consequences to that. And I think we see it in the overall health and welfare of the country.”
The Difference is ‘Profound’
Esselstyn asked the couple about Stewart’s transition from meat-eater to plant-based. It was all thanks to Tracey, Stewart explained. He slowly adapted to changes in his diet over time led by his partner’s compassion for animals—Tracey is also the author of the 2015 book “Do Unto Animals“—and evidence that a plant-based diet was better for their health.
Esselstyn asked the couple if the transition has been easy in the second part of the interview. Tracey described her switch to a whole food, plant-based diet as “shockingly easy,” adding that she feels healthier.
Stewart said the difference in how he feels “emotionally and physically is profound.” He joked, “And I’m generally not comfortable with that—feeling so good—so it’s hard for me not to go back to the old ways. I’m not accustomed to this euphoric sense of possibility. I much prefer the depression. The dark nights.”
He’s also a big fan of nutritional yeast—aka nooch, a savory yellow flakes that have a cheesy flavor. He and Tracey have a nooch-topped vegetable bowls for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.