'Sons of Anarchy' 's Theo Rossi Has Been Vegan Since 1997: 'I'm Not Big on the Whole Food Thing'

The 46-year-old actor said his deep love of animals pushed him to go vegan back when "it wasn’t cool"

Theo Rossi discusses "Vault" with the Build Series at Build Studio on June 10, 2019 in New York City.
Theo Rossi. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty

From meat-free restaurants to the plant-based options at most grocery stores, sticking to a vegan diet is extremely doable, and common, in 2021. But for actor Theo Rossi, going vegan in back in 1997 was an anomaly.

The Sons of Anarchy star, 46, decided to switch to a diet entirely free of animal products when he was 22 years old.

"I have a certain connection to animals," Rossi, who stars in Zach Snyder's new Netflix show Army of the Dead, says on the latest episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast. "I've never lived a day in my life without multiple animals. I'm surrounded by animals. They've kind of dictated my life. My dog is right next to me. I've always rescued dogs, and I've had cats, and hamsters, and snakes."

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That, along with learning more about how meat is processed, convinced Rossi to go vegan. Plus, he says, food isn't a priority in his life.

"Listen, there's eat to live, and live to eat. I eat to live, meaning like, I'm not big on that whole food thing," he says.

That means Rossi is totally fine with eating the same foods every day, even if it's different from what his wife and kids, who eat meat, consume.

"I know that's not appealing to people," he says. "I literally eat the same thing. Dinner is just a different version of what it was the night before, which is like vegetables, a salad, and either lentils or tempeh, or tofu, or more vegetables, or a pita bread. It's just easy."

Though finding vegan-friendly foods was tough in the 90s when Rossi first went vegan.

"In 1997, it wasn't fashionable and it wasn't cool, and we weren't doing tofu turkeys for Thanksgiving, and all you could really eat was pasta," he says. "I was trying things. This is pre-Whole Foods, pre-Erewhon, pre-juices on every corner. I was trying things, because I was trying to see what works for me. Being a vegan works for me."

And Rossi is dedicated to his diet — even if his friends find it odd.

"My friends make fun of me and they're like, 'oh, are you going to eat your rabbit food or you're going to eat this?' " he says. "I've had the same friends since I was eight years old. They're very aware that I'm going to do me no matter what."

Check out more from Rossi's interview on PEOPLE Every Day, airing now on iHeartMedia, Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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