Was Albert Einstein a Vegan or Vegetarian?

In the final year of his life, Einstein made a startling statement about the single most important chance of survival for Earth and humankind; a vegetarian diet.

Albert Einstein ate animal products for most of his life, but record shows in his last year of life he became a vegetarian and realized the importance of conscious eating. He wrote a letter to a friend stating:

“So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore.”

This was from a letter written to Hans Muehsam, and dated March 30, 1954, which was about 1 year before Einstein died. This indicates he adopted a vegetarian diet at the end of his life.


The Conscious Energy of Meat Eating.

It seems that Einstein had thought about adopting a vegetarian diet in the past. He calls meat “animal flesh”, this choice of words has an unpleasant undertone that brings about images of the slaughterhouse rather than a picturesque flank of steak. Einstein also regards his feelings of guilt when partaking in the carnivorous diet. On August 3, 1953 Einstein had written the following in a letter to Max Kariel, suggesting that he was still eating meat at that time:

“I have always eaten animal flesh with a somewhat guilty conscience.” 
– Einstein Archive 60-058

The Impact of a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet on Mankind.

Einstein reveals that he has been a supporter of the vegetarian diet for a long while, despite his inability or decision not to participate until later in his life. He interestingly remarks on the change of human temperament that vegetarianism could induce. Some famous vegans and vegetarians have discussed the feeling of being “lighter” without eating animal flesh. It’s as if the moral alignment allows the individual to realign in other areas of compassion and love for all. Einstein quoted:

Although I have been prevented by outward circumstances from observing a strictly vegetarian diet, I have long been an adherent to the cause in principle. Besides agreeing with the aims of vegetarianism for aesthetic and moral reasons, it is my view that a vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.” Translation of letter to Hermann Huth, December 27, 1930. Einstein Archive 46-756

Why Indifference is Worse Than Hate.

Einstein reflects on the hierarchy of life among living beings. He does not stop the conversation at human life, but extends the question to all creatures. Einstein concludes that you are hardly fit to live without regard for every creature. This view is seemingly aligned with a vegan or vegetarian belief system. Einstein stated:

What is the meaning of human life, or, for that matter, of the life of any creature? … I answer: The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.” – Mein Weltbild, Amsterdam: Querido Verlag, 1934.

Collective Consciousness, Universal Connection, and Compassion.

Albert Einstein, recognized as a genius and innovative thinker, had an astounding world view. In fact, his views stretched beyond the world as we know it and explored the greater questions surrounding time, space, and consciousness.

This quote from the New York Post may just sum up the avenue humankind must take to achieve world peace among all earthlings. This involves the expansion of our idea of self into a much larger sphere that is inclusive of all beings and all things. Einstein recognizes the prison of the “self”. The following quote details his views:

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security”. – New York Post, 28 November 1972

Human Evolution and the Vegetarian Diet.

In the final year of his life, Einstein made a startling statement about the single most important chance of survival for Earth and humankind; a vegetarian diet. Einstein stated:

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” 

Was Albert Einstein a Vegan or Vegetarian?

Einstein was only a vegetarian for one year of his life. It seems he recognized the huge impact conscious eating has on the planet late in his lifetime. Who knows, maybe with more time Einstein could have grown to be a strong proponent for a plant-based lifestyle.




  1. International Vegetarian Union (IVU). North America: early 20th Century
    Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Retrieved from: https://ivu.org/history/northam20a/einstein.html