Before Carrie Underwood was the Grammy-winning country music powerhouse and wellness expert we know today, she was a girl living on her family's cattle farm in the small town of Checotah, Oklahoma. Underwood grew up loving animals and wildlife of all kinds and would even "pick up worms off the road and put them in the dirt" to protect them. She especially loved the calves her family raised on their farm. Underwood explains this in her book, Find Your Path: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul, and Get Strong with the Fit52 Life.
"Our calves were always adorable," Underwood explained in the book. "They would jump around and play, and they were so sweet. Think of the most adorable baby cows you've ever seen at a petting zoo. In my memory, that's what they looked like."
The American Idol alum considered the animals at their farm part of the family, but she didn't know the real reason her family raised cattle. It wasn't until she was 13 years old and saw her parents "preparing" the cattle that she understood the reality of what was going on. She said she was "utterly shocked" during that moment.
"It sounds weird, but somehow, at 13 years old, I had never really thought about the purpose of our farm," writes Underwood. "There were always cows. I always helped with them. They were a part of our lives, but I had never considered where they went when they left us. And like most kids, I had never considered where the meat on my plate came from, either."
In that moment, Underwood said she felt a great deal of guilt for not realizing she had been a "participant" in eating the meat from their farm. After that, she told her parents she would never eat beef again, and she made good on that promise.
"I was self-sufficient by 13, and when [my mother] served beef, I always made something else for myself, like chicken and rice or Boca burgers," says Underwood. "I've never gone back to eating beef, and I never will."
These days, Underwood has taken her commitment even further, cutting all meat out of her diet and following a mostly vegan diet. The country superstar told Women's Health about her healthy eating meal plan, which she developed with consultation from her nutritionist. She revealed that her diet consists primarily of veggies, tofu, tofurky and sometimes eggs -- if they're from her own chickens.
Breakfast for Underwood usually features an egg-white or tofu scramble, Ezekiel toast and berries. For lunch, she goes with a vegan sandwich, and she makes roasted veggies with vegan chicken or tofu stir fry for dinner. She's also a fan of snacks and told the publication that a green smoothie or protein bar works for her. She added that she's not much of a dessert gal, but dark chocolate and red wine usually do the trick. When she's on the road, she tends to eat pre-packaged foods, such as vegetarian burritos.
"I carry my own food with me everywhere," she says. "I'm always going to the grocery store, just so I'm prepared."
Underwood details more of her diet and exercise journey in her book, Find Your Path. She also released a workout app, Fit52, which features workouts from the singer and her personal trainer, Eve Overland. Underwood also has her own active wear brand, Calia. While Underwood's lifestyle works for her, it differs from the lifestyle of her husband, Mike Fisher, who enjoys hunting and eating meat. In their 2020 video series Mike And Carrie, the couple talked about how they learned to accept each other's differences.
"He grew up hunting and being outdoors and it's a big part of his life, and I grew up on a cattle farm and I went the other way," shared Underwood in the series. "I don't eat meat, I do my best to not buy leather things."
Fisher then spoke, adding that both he and Underwood had a false notion that these differences and tension would simply subside after they said, 'I do.' Underwood agreed, and shared that she never imagined marrying a hunter. Although they have differences, Fisher and Underwood both find comfort in the fact that their relationship is rooted in their faith.
"At the end of the day, we love each other very much," said Underwood.
"That's where our faith comes in too," added Fisher. "I think it gives us a center ground where that's the most important thing in anything."
Underwood and Fisher have been married since 2010 and live in Nashville with their two sons, Isaiah and Jacob.