Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
/ Source: TODAY
By Erica Chayes Wida

There are plenty of reasons why people probably approach actor Ian Somerhalder in public.

Some blood-thirsty fans may be wondering if his series "The Vampire Diaries" might ever be revived for another run. Others may ask for marriage or parenting advice, since he often gushes about his beautiful wife and baby. Or, perhaps, some eager people just think he's Rob Lowe.

But on Tuesday, the actor posted that he was approached by more than one person during a trip to the grocery store — and it was for a pretty surprising reason.

"A woman just stopped me in the grocery store and told me that she had never seen a basket like mine. I told her that I have never NOT seen this type of basket in my grocery-shopping behavior. A few others chimed in saying that it was a very strange sight!" Somerhalder wrote on Instagram, and continued on adding that the incident got him "thinking" and "really fired up."

Somerhalder, who been an outspoken critic of factory farming, then defended why he loads up on greens and other types of fresh produce — and why he wants others to avoid relying on so many foods that are packaged and processed.

"Food is medicine and medicine is food ... We’re so far down the rabbit hole of packaged and 'convenient' foods that our society is paying the price & so is our future," he wrote.

In America, childhood obesity reached a record high in 2017. But research has shown that adopting healthier eating habits has numerous lifestyle benefits and consuming certain types of foods has been proven to help boost both memory and mood, lower blood pressure and even add years to our lives. For example, certain types of grains and seeds, fish, fruits and veggies contain anti-inflammatory properties.

Somerhalder's strong stance on eating healthfully garnered both criticism and applause from his followers on social media.

Many clapped back at the actor saying that there are tons of people in the U.S. who can't eat healthy foods because they don't have the money to do so.

"I have kids who’s parents are just barely making enough to support themselves and their children. It’s hard to buy healthy food when it costs so much more than a pack of ramen or Mac n cheese. Not everyone can afford to eat healthy," one person who claimed to be a teacher wrote in the actor's comments.

However, plenty of others replied there are many ways to shop for fresh, non-processed foods without paying a hefty price.

"I know a struggling family of six with limited income and their family makes it work with a vegan/vegetarian diet. They eat healthy for cheap. You just have to know how to do it and meal prep," another person said.

Roasted Vegetable and White Bean Salad

"Healthy food is cheap if you look for it... a hand of bananas is a dollar. Tuna [canned] is a dollar. Greek yogurt is a dollar. Come on now. Yet we go straight for the snack aisle," another said.

In his post, Somerhalder attributed his own eating habits to his mom, who raised him "on no money and mostly as a single parent."

"She still ate well & exercised and it shaped my life," he wrote. "We MUST take responsibility for what we put into our bodies starting now. We can do it."