The Real Reason Jermaine Dupri Switched To A Vegan Lifestyle - Exclusive

Without a doubt, Jermaine Dupri is one of the busiest and most successful musical artists, songwriters, and entrepreneurs in the industry. When Dupri hasn't been producing hit records for the likes of Mariah Carey, Usher, and Janet Jackson, he's been on the road performing. Though, when on tour, Dupri hasn't always been able to continue his workout regimen and there were times when he found he was putting on weight. As he told Mashed in an exclusive interview, "I'm small ... 5' 5" or maybe 5' 4". So meat makes me feel heavy. And I started feeling that when I would eat hamburgers or eat steaks or any of that food, I felt like I was feeling heavy."

Add to that the fact that Dupri is from Atlanta, Georgia, and every Sunday, his mother would cook a huge dinner of Southern-style favorites like macaroni and cheese, collard greens, cornbread, and ribs. Though, as delicious as it all was, Dupri began to realize how unhealthy his mom's soul food was to eat regularly, saying it can "drive your cholesterol very, very high." 

Not only did he find he lacked energy, felt sluggish, and struggled to keep the pounds off when eating this way, but he saw people around him struck by illness. Dupri's mother has diabetes, which, according to the music mogul, runs rampant in the Black community. So Dupri knew he had to make a change to his lifestyle to get healthy. "I wanted to feel better as a person. I wanted to feel healthier," he said. It turns out, one big change made all the difference.

Jermaine Dupri changed how he ate to get healthy

In a bold move, Dupri decided to become a vegan to improve his health. Though, he says, when he first heard about veganism from friends and associates, he didn't actually know what it was. When he started his health journey with a 25-day fast, and after he noticed a significant improvement in his physique and overall health, Dupri wanted to keep feeling good. He was told by friends, "You definitely have to become vegan to feel even remotely close to what you're feeling right now." As he added in a recent Mashed interview, "From that point on, I just fell in love with feeling good and feeling healthy." And he's kept to it — Dupri has been vegan going on 16 years now, and although he's passionate about the lifestyle, he doesn't push it on anyone. "It's something you have to really get mentally into," he said. But, he does encourage people to pay attention to how their bodies react to certain foods they eat.

Dupri has looked to find a way to reach people that might be interested in trying vegan foods, and his recently released JD's Vegan ice cream could very well be the way to do it. Personally created by him, there are six flavors of the treat currently available — with more coming soon — and Dupri is bursting with pride for how good they taste. Key lime pie is his favorite dessert — and he says he experimented with it until he nailed the flavor. In fact, it tastes exactly like the baked version (it even has crumbled pie crust mixed in). "Although it's dessert, it's a hundred times healthier than eating the other [stuff]. And that's all I want people to understand," he said.

All six flavors of Jermaine Dupri's vegan ice cream can be purchased from the JD's Vegan website as well as at and Walmart stores nationally starting in December.