Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Oprah's Vegan Show: Hit or Miss?

I haven't followed any of the discussions that have been bubbling online after Oprah's vegan show yesterday.  I watched it, you bet, and thought I'd open up dialogue here, starting with my thoughts on the feature.

First, I am grateful, that after being vegan for over 15 years, vegan topics are being discussed on mainstream media, and on arguably the most influential, powerful show on television.  But, I qualify this, because I was underwhelmed, and at times frustrated by the show.  Here's why:

It wasn't vegan enough!  Sorry, but a vegan show needed more vegan experts!  I enjoyed Kathy Freston's appearance and her perspective, and she should have been teamed up with other like-minded people, with the interest of representing veganism.  People like Dr. Neal Barnard, Vesanto Melina, Will Tuttle, Jonathan Safran Foer, John Robbins, Ingrid Newkirk, Dr. T. Colin Campbell.  Several of these guests could have provided more insight, education, and experience about the vegan diet than Michael Pollan.  I understand why Oprah had Michael Pollan on the show, but I think it did a disservice to the topic of veganism, because he continued to interject about eating meat, and "organic meat", which brings me to my next point.

Oprah and Michael too focused on choosing organic, free-range, "happy meat".  Obviously it's a better choice than the drug-and-chemical-ridden-value-pack meats at Costco, but here's the thing, folks: organic, free-range meat is really not accessible or affordable for most people, and it isn't sustainable to feed the population we have with the current consumption of meat.  And, organic and free-range can mean very little in the world of animal agriculture, especially where chickens are concerned.  Oprah remarked once about being able to eat the organic, free-range options, saying "well, I can".  Yes, she can!  But that wasn't supposed to be the point of the show, that if you are living large you can choose the happy meat, but if you are an average American, well... sorry.  I didn't appreciate that, even though I know it was meant to be humorous.

Next, I thought the coverage of the factory farm was white-washed.  If you are going to show a factory farm - SHOW IT!  Yes, show the killing, that's what we need to do to eat animals - kill them.  Don't sanitize it for public viewing.  That's what we already do to meat - sanitize it, make it look pristine and unlike any part of the animal.  And, while you're at it, show the average factory farm, not the "ideal" model which is hardly representative of most factory farms in North America.  I know that the other factory farms wouldn't participate (obviously).  But, that's the message right there!  They don't want to show people what's going on because it IS horrific.  They aren't gently guiding the cows down dark quiet paths, trying to minimize stress and torture.  Truth is factory farm workers are skinning and scalding chickens alive, prodding pigs in their anuses, and castrating cows without anesthetic. Hard to read?  Exactly, that's what we don't want to face.  And, remember 99% of meat comes from factory farms, not "happy farms".

Here's what I did like about the show... in fact, here's what I loved about it:  The real-life results and accounts from people that ate vegan for just one week and already began to feel better than ever!  That's it, folks.  Eat a wholesome plant-based diet, get the processed junk food out of your diet, and sludge of meat and dairy out of your system, and you'll feel a hell of a lot better.  I could see the conviction in the one man's face that had lost weight and stopped taking antacids.  It was that kind of experience we as viewers needed to hear more of.  I would love to see Oprah follow-up with some of the people who made lasting dietary changes, but with this being her last season, I'm doubtful that will happen. 

To sum up, I think the show was a step.  It has probably helped broaden general awareness about eating vegan, and is giving people a reason to explore their own ways to eat more vegan food, and that's a good step.  I'm generally not one to look for a reason to criticize, instead I try to look for the overall benefits of media covering vegan topics.  But, I think we could have heard less about how some factory farms are becoming more compassionate, had less promotion of meat production, and instead focus more of the discussion on how to truly eat compassionately - and benefit our health and the environment in the process.   The show was supposed to be about eating vegan, after all.


Stefania (Ingredients for Life) said...

Those were my thought exactly. I liked that she had Kathy Freston because she's eloquent and polite (her hubby is also Oprah's business partner). However, I think an expert on the vegan topic would have rounded out the panel.

At the end of the day, even though there are animals that are "humanely" raised and slaughtered I accept that argument since the result is the killing of an animal to satisfy our appeite when we have plenty of alternatives.

When I saw the cows I balled. Seriously. It made me horribly sad to watch the animals being led to their death. I couldn't believe that the animals gain about 3 lbs/day. That's not healthy! What are people eating?!

I think 2011 will be the year of the vegan/vegetarian. I love that this way of eating is being brought to the mainstream as a serious way of life and not ridiculed.

Stefania said...

Ugh! I meant to say that I don't accept the argument about humane raising and killing of animals.

I also saved the episode. Some day I want to show my children to demonstrate the reasons why we don't eat animals.

Christinahrs said...

I agree that it definitely left a lot to be desired, and it was annoying that she felt the need to include Michael Pollan. However, I was really encouraged by the fact that Kathy Freston's book shot up to #1 on Amazon immediately after the show (it's still there). While the show itself might have been lacking in a lot of information, it motivated a lot of people to seek it out for themselves.

I think the vast majority of Americans don't think twice about what they stuff into their mouths, and can't even imagine a single meal without meat. So anything that gets people to wake up and start thinking about their food, and hopefully at least reduce their meat consumption, is a step in the right direction. Even an incremental change in a large group of people can have a significant positive effect for animal suffering and the environment!

Christina (full of wishful thinking!)

Quiltbug said...

I have read some really nasty comments about the show on the Internet. Some I feel were way too rude. Although I feel the show could have done without Michael Pollen and his meat eating, at least it opened the doors to more dialogue. This show was not aimed at vegans. It was aimed at the average person. If even a handful of people give up meat, I'm happy. I am not vegan but have been vegetarian for over 20 years. I had to leave the room as the animal carcasses were being stripped.

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

I agree 100%.

I think she had to cover herself legal-wise by showing the "humanely raised" and "happy" cows.

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

You are so right on, Dreena!

I loved when Michael Pollan said that he didn't mean to squash the excitement about weight loss & Kathy said, "Then don't!!!" - but overall, I have to say that I was mostly unimpressed with her. It was like she was too afraid to 100% stand up for her convictions & didn't want to ruffle Michael's (and the viewers') feathers too much... Like she couldn't be TOO vegan, you know? I was frustrated that when Michael said there's "nothing wrong" with eating meat, she touched his arm & said, "Oh, I agree!" She then explained that it just doesn't sit well with her to eat another living creature, which was GREAT - but why did she have to say "I agree" so much??? You DON'T agree, which is why you're vegan - duh!

Michael Pollan is always yapping his trap all over, and veganism gets MUCH less play than this "happy meat" crap, so I just wished that Kathy was able to speak with more conviction. I also wondered why Michael (and that Cargill rep) were even there (was it so Oprah wouldn't get sued again?). If it was going to be a vegan show, it should have been a vegan show. Michael was on a year ago & was allowed to wax poetic about meat eating the entire time. He didn't need to be given a platform to do it again.

Sorry for the rant! I intended on typing like two sentences, haha. I don't mean to be negative, as overall, I think it was done fairly well. I think it's amazing that this show was even done at all, and I know it will create some positive changes for people. I just hope that next time, Michael stays at home & there is a larger, more well-rounded vegan panel.

Emily said...

Thanks for the review. I haven't watched the show yet, I plan to soon, but I think it is okay to recommend that if you are to eat meat to eat free range organic, even though it is unlikely people could still afford it given the current rates of meat consumption I feel like if people understand that free range and organic is better (more nutritious and more compassionate on the animals and their lives) they might be willing to pay extra for it which in turn would tighten their food budgets, which in turn could possibly increase the amount of vegan meals they might have in their home, even if only for economical reasons.

Crys said...

I just blogged about this show yesterday and found your blog trying to find vegan blogs to get more information. I certainly wasn't thinking abut about that before the show.

I think the point of the show was to get people thinking about it. For people (like me!), the vegan life seems radical, difficult to sustain and dare I say weird. I would have never considered trying it until watching her episode. I'm not certain it's a lifestyle choice I could make, but it got my wheels turning.

You have to remember the audience, I think. Majority of those watching having, like me, don't understand it. The show made it seem more attainable.

You have people thinking about who otherwise wouldn't be. That' a success.

Crys said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crys said...

PS -And to your first point, if it were any more vegan, I wouldn't have watched the whole episode because I wouldn't have felt like it was for me or that non-vegan me would glean anything from it.

Anonymous said...

Well said ! I believe Oprah is much smarter than that show and she was protecting herself from another law suit. She should have had experts on vegan nutrition like T. Colin Campbell or Dr. Esseltyn to talk about the health affects. This was a sugar coated show and shame on Oprah for not being more thorough and presenting more facts on veganism.

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) said...

I didn't watch the show, but your review is what I would expect from a mainstream show. I'm not a vegan, but I do adore animals and it breaks my heart to even think about the cruelty.

We all need more plants in our lives, so any mention of that is always a plus.

Anonymous said...

People should be glad the show was even done at all. No matter how natural or great veganism may seem to some, it's still extreme and looked down on by many. I can't think of any mainstream show that's covered veganism in a serious way.

As many have already said Oprah has to be mindful of possible lawsuits as well as showing both sides. She has exposed it to a massive audience that wouldn't normally give it a second thought. To expect it to be gritty, heavy-handed and explicit is unrealistic. Let's inform not turn off or repulse viewers.

Becoming conscious of the food we consume even if it includes meat is the beginning of making a shift. The consumption of meat may cease for some and not for others but hopefully we can elevate human awareness and compassion not just to animals but to one another.

Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty said...

I'm not a vegan, but thought the show was interesting. I thought it was weird that her whole shopping basket was full of packaged food, rather than fruits, veggies, nuts, beans etc...

Anyways, I think it was all very interesting!!!!!! :) Glad that it's becoming more mainstream!

DianeLynn said...

I watched the show and it had up and downs, pros and cons. At least she did a show on the subject.
I remembered that they had ask ( I wished I could remember that exact total) a bunch of processing plants if they could film there and they refused. The one that said OK was all they could get...even Michael Pollan said that this particular "slaughter" house was a nicer one...IF you can call it that. At least it was mentioned by Kathy that the slaughter houses for chickens/turkeys are horrific.
For what it is worth at least the subject of Vegan was put out there and I liked the comments by the employees how they benefited from this experiment and want to continue.
For me I started out as a vegetarian and worked my way to being a vegan. Both worked for me and I never felt better both physicality as well as emotionally!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty new to being vegan (a new blog reader too!), and even I was underwhelmed by the show. I noticed that Kathy Freston seemed to focus a lot on processed vegan food. In my opinion, processed food should be enjoyed once in a while and not the cornerstone of one's diet! However, the bottom line, as you said, is that the show has started people thinking about their food in new ways. I was really happy to see people experience the same benefits of veganism that I have been!

Dayle said...

I love watching Oprah's show, but O herself can be so bloody sanctimonious! One time she was talking about germs in the home, and they showed Oprah's sponge under a microscope, and she says "Well, if MY sponge looks like that, imagine what YOURS looks like." What, my SPONGE doesn't even live up to O standards? And I'll never forget when she put James Frey's head on a stake. Grrr. So it doesn't surprise me that she made that comment about how SHE can afford organic meat. Bleh. Haven't watched the show yet but I think when I do, I'll take my blood pressure before and after, just for (as Austin Power would say) s**ts and giggles.

Smug said...

I think that saying it was a vegan show was misleading. The show was about more conscious eating and I think that they were able to get that across to people. Think about where your food is coming from and how it gets to your table. Vegan is the new trendy thing and I think that we will see more people giving it a try and more options in the grocery stores and at restaurants. Oprah was obviously trying really hard not to get sued and trying to walk a fine line and I think that if the show gets 100 people to think more consciously about what they are eating, then it is a win!!

Cory said...

You nailed it. I agree 100% with you on all counts.

I was very upset in regards to the slaughterhouse. Did ya see that place? Really? It was pristine! And, silent. Uh uh. Most of America's meat is NOT coming from that slaughterhouse. They really should have stressed that and the fact that 20 others declined, really stressed that and WHY.

And, seriously shut up about it being okay to eat meat 2-3 times a week. Ummmm, vegan show. But, YEAH for getting it out there and mainstreaming veganism.

I don't like Oprah, Monday's show was the first full show I've ever watched. She sure does have the power of influence though. She could've taken it farther on Monday, and didn't. But she has planted a seed in many, I'm sure.

vogueyogini said...

It's so difficult to overcome popular thinking (or mass brainwashing) that is the "American" way - the 1950s milkman leaving a bottle on the front stoop, the perceived NEED for meat to sustain good nutrition, etc. (and, as Americans, we fail to see that most other cultures do not eat meat as a part of EVERY meal). I struggle with overcoming all of those false truths in my own household. My husband was raised on whole milk, ground beef, and the general ideology that those things are good for you - because marketing has told him so. I'm glad to see more mainstream groups challenging these ideas and I agree that it's a step in the right direction. That said, we've got a long way to go! Thanks for this post :)

Christie Brown said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the recent Oprah Vegan Show. I am from Pennsylvania; I have personally been to many feedlots throughout the country, in Colorado, Texas, and Nebraska to name a few. I can honestly say from a firsthand experience that the feedlot shown on Oprah's show was very average compared to the others I have been on. The cattle on feedlots only stay there for an average of 4-6 months and are fed a carefully balanced diet of protein and energy from mainly corn-based feedstuffs as well as by-products from the ethanol industry (a GREAT way to utilize these otherwise wasted resources from ethanol production). I have also visited slaughterhouses in several states and have been very impressed with all of them...I have seen modern-day full-scale beef, lamb, pork, and poultry slaughter plants and they are all incredibly clean and treat those animals as humanely as possible. Yes, they ARE all intentionally kept as calm as possible before they are actually killed (thanks to Dr. Temple Grandin's from CSU's work on animal welfare). I thought the tour of the Timmerman Feedlot and the Cargill plant in Colorado was a very average, standard representation of the cattle industry today, the Oprah Show did a great job showing their viewers the truth behind the modern-day beef industry, they certainly did not hide or sugar-coat anything. To make another point, cattle on feedlots are most certainly not pumped full of antibiotics or hormones. The truth is: They are fed extremely low levels of sub-therapeutic antibiotics to help reduce the level of bad microbes in their digestive tract in an effort to help that animal direct more of its energy to growing rather than fighting off the bad bacteria (and NO that is not because of their poor housing conditions!) The hormones are typically estrogen based and implanted into the ear of the animal and removed long before they ever go to harvest. A 4 ounce cut of beef from an implanted steer has 1.6 nanograms of estrogen, compare that to 4 ounces of raw cabbage with 2,700 nanograms of estrogen…vegetables like cabbage and soybean naturally have thousands of nanograms of estrogen! (Think about that when you enjoy tofu or soy milk.) Lastly, the modern-day cattle industry has become very green, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. We are now able to produce 13% more beef from 13% fewer animals from the year 1977 to 2007…talk about green! It takes farmers and ranchers fewer cattle to produce more beef all because they have become more efficient with the resources they have, and believe me—those resources are decreasing everyday as more feed corn goes to ethanol and more farmland goes for housing developments. The cattle industry has also decreased its carbon footprint by 18% in the last 30 years. America now has the smallest cow herd since 1958…so how is it that we can produce MORE beef with FEWER cattle?...efficiency and sustainability. I truly do respect those who have chosen a vegan and animal-product free diet, everyone has the right to make that choice. It is, however, difficult as a young woman involved in agriculture herself, to sit back quietly and listen to individuals make false, negative, claims about agriculture when they most likely have never experienced farming first hand. I guarantee your images and perceptions of ‘factory farming’ are nothing like the reality of farming today. Thanks to the Oprah Show, hopefully more American were able to see a glimpse into the true, honest, modern-day farms in America.

Rachel W. said...

Great take on the show. I've been watching the comments ABOUT the show light up the internet, but I have still yet to see the episode. Any idea where I can watch this?

Dreena said...

Christie, I am publishing your comment to be fair to everyone that comments on my blog. However, you are representing animal agriculture, and it is inaccurate to say that pig and poultry farms are clean and ethical, or that this cattle farm is an “average” model - it might be a newer model, and ideal to feature on Oprah's show, but it doesn't represent where meat has come from in the last number of decades. There are too many first-hand accounts from factory farm workers and witnesses (read Eating Animals, Meat Market, and other animal rights’ literature or videos). As for environmental issues, it is well established that the the meat industry produces more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined. Regarding your quote on the estrogens, I note that this figure comes from data compiled by the National Cattlemen’s Association.;col1
It’s also noteworthy that these hormone concentrations in meat will also vary greatly with the source, with "pregnant or ovulating cows and even bulls containing much higher levels of anabolic hormones than are found in desexed, implanted steers". Also, that "Anabolic hormone implants provide the only fat in meat producers' thin profit margins. Producers could not afford to produce beef without implants." Don't defend injecting animals, it's not in any way natural, we have no right to have that domain over animals, just so a profit can be made. Moreover, when we do get phytoestrogens from plant-based foods (which are meant to be there, we don’t inject them), we are also getting fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients – all beneficial in fighting chronic illness and disease, whereas meat gives cholesterol, saturated fat, and no antioxidants or fiber.

This is the wrong blog to discuss the virtues of meat-eating. I won’t publish anymore marketing for the meat industry, they have enough support - agribusiness spends 143 million a year on lobbying, it doesn’t need help from my little vegan blog.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was way to PC. I was very disappointed. I'm not a huge fan of Michael Pollan and here's why - he seems to think that his consumption of meat is better than others because he knows where it's coming from and has done some research. As if that makes it ok to kill something. With all his research he should have realized that there is no way that the kind of "happy" meat production he believes in could ever sustain the meat demands of our country. His attempts to justify his own cruelty make him seem delusional.

I wonder how long it took to clean that slaughter house to make it Oprah-ready?

Anonymous said...

I understand Freston's desire to not come across as the militant vegan so many omnis assume we are but I was sad that it didn't seem like she stuck to her guns as much as she should've.

What bothered me the most - the cart full of processed "meat" products! She should've made the effort to talk about fruits and veggies. I was so bummed that she felt the need to list processed foods as the way she gets her protein - tofu, seitan, tempeh. It would've been nice to see more of a focus on whole foods.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I don't get TV reception so I was unable to watch the show, but I did watch some of the clips on On one hand, it was great to get people exposed to a vegan diet. But on the other hand, I'm afraid it wasn't painted in the best light.

When the girl in the office was complaining about the taste of the veggie burger compared to the taste of a hamburger, I just wished that Kathy Freston would have told her about the myriad of whole foods she could enjoy. I think anytime you give someone a substitute-type food when they are so accustomed to eating the original thing, it is not going to taste as good. Same with her giving Oprah toast with Daiya cheese. IMO, vegan cheese is not going to go over well to someone who has recently eaten cow cheese! I just kept thinking, what if these people were eating your recipes, like the Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado from ED&BV?! Then they would have thought, wow, vegan food is yummy! Or your spicoli burger instead of a storebought, flat, crumbly veggie burger. *sigh*

I also agree that it was a strange choice to feature three omnivores (Pollan, Lisa Ling, and the woman from Cargill) and only one vegan, on a show about veganism! Especially since Oprah herself is an omnivore. Not exactly a balanced forum.

The show also lacked a single credentialed medical or nutrition professional. Michael Pollan can wax eloquent about how meat is healthy and natural, and people will listen - but he is a journalist, not a nutrition expert! She could even have had Dr. Oz on the show, who I don't think is a vegan, but would definitely have spoken positively about the health benefits of a vegan diet.

Thanks for posting about this, Dreena!

Alissa said...

I missed the show, but it sounds like I would've imagined it to be.

When people try to show factory farms, slaughterhouses and so on it just ends up being a wash. The only realistic videos I've seen were shot by PETA or animal rights advocates--no one wants to show that on television, because people don't really want to see what's being killed for their lunch.

It IS positive that Oprah did the show and informed people, but I don't know how many people would be willing to put in the effort to be vegan.

Anonymous said...

You people who have searched and picked at all the negatives of the show can't be for real!! What other mainstream show has even touched the topic? The majority of the American population are not vegans. The aim was to get people thinking and to become enlightened about possibly becoming a vegan. I think the show accomplished that. The show would not benefited all of you veteran vegans. Look at the positives not the negatives, lighten up and be pleased someone tackled the topic in mainstream media.

Vegan in Vegas said...

Two thoughts:
Sweeps Month

Would Ellen be "sponsored" by Whole Foods and Kashi? Don't think so.

Samantha said...

I love your response to Christi, you are so well-written when giving your point of view, it's inspiring. I wish I could speak like that to people instead of my awkward stammering haha :)

*Autumn Tao* said...

I haven't read through all the comments, but I'd like to say that I don't think the show was meant to focus on vegan eating. The focus was being CONSCIOUS of your FOOD CHOICES, be it vegan or meat. And by the way, I am vegan, and damn proud!

Tanya said...

Yeah, I don't think there was enough information on the show about the vegan diet. There was too much focus on dairy and meat "replacements" like fake cheese and fake meat, instead of showing all the healthy whole foods you can eat. But I see how those items would help someone who's in their first week of trying to eat a vegan diet.

I wish there would have been more info on how to get your nutrients from a vegan diet and shown tables full of the different kinds of foods you CAN eat! Oh really was aimed at meat eaters who had no idea what a vegan is.

Oh was ok, but not a great show. I have friends that are meat eaters that were really interested in it and now want Freston's book! So I guess it did make an impact...we'll see for how long.

lolita said...

first of all i stopped watching her show a long time ago, I would say maybe the past 6 years or so. I think she is out of touched with average Americans, like so many other celebrities. Buying meat is expensive in itself let alone trying to buy free range and organic meat. I tried to do that and being on a very low income I found it to be too much financially as well as stressful.

Wendy Altschuler said...

I'm glad Veganism was brought into the mainstream even if it wasn't fully committed like I would have liked to have seen.

Natalie said...

I agree with other posters: I do not accept the argument that is okay to eat meat as long as it was raised and killed humanely. I think the point of veganism is to *not eat animals* period.

I was especially disappointed when Kathy Freston, The Veganist, accepted this point of view.
I know everyone has the right to their opinion, but this show was a huge disappointment and left me angry and frustrated. I would like to see Ellen do a similar show! She might have a different take on it.

And Michael Pollan did make one good point about new vegans eating too many processed foods. And I think, sadly, Kathy Freston's segment shopping with the family only proved this point.

Zedrea said...

Like you, I saw the show and was also underwhelmed. It seemed more that she was looking for another get slim quick scam. I have been thinking about becoming vegan and decided after the show that I would try it after the man said how much better he feels. I hope my health improves I have read a lot about the benefits a plant base diet can have on you health. I had a check up with a Dr. and am off and running. today is my first day. wish me luck L,Z

Anonymous said...

I work during the day so don't watch Oprah (and 11pm is too late since I go to work at 6am). That said, I have seen her shows in the past and this isn't new to Oprah. She seems to feel the need to "balance" the show if it could be construed as something outside of mainstream ideas. Remember when she had to have panel members added to defend the invasion of Iraq and couldn't present only the viewpoints of those who said Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction? This is what she does and we are supposed to be grateful or it wouldn't be done at all.

Nora said...

Thought O's secmt on vegan was ok. Glad it aired the cow killing factory... DH & 8 yr old watched it too. Eye opener... corn fed animals sucks. Got a good tip from Kathy's shopping secmt... DO NOT buy anything that were in the show... all full of corn derived and processed stuff. Sad, sad, sad!!!! I cook and bake every day from scratch now because I'm breastfeeding my baby who has food allergy, esp to corn. Just eat healthy... omnivor or not. Stop eating processed food.

O needs to do a secmt on food allergy or about corn and soy industry and address label changing. That'd be a better benefit to her viewers.

BTW, I luv your blog. Thanks for all the vegan recipe tips. Help me a lot with prepare meals for my fam.

Valerie said...

Well, as someone who watched the show as a certified meat eater I can happily tell you that I went completely vegan on 2/6 after reading most of Kathy Freston's book. I have attempted the vegetarian/vegan conversion intermittently over the past 15 years, but her approach really won me over. The decisive factor for me had more to do with her references to The China Study and the concrete links made to the carcenogenic nature of animal proteins. I am a physician by trade so this really spoke to me. Making the switch after that was not hard. Now that being said, yes I do have some processed meat alternative replacement that I have used. This does not mean that I will not progress on this journey. The bottom line is that if this gentler approach can get more people on board with a plant based diet then ultimately everyone wins. You really do not win people over to your point of view when you take an antagonistic, I hate to say it this way, but " I'm more evolved than you " attitude because people automatically leap to defend their position no matter how misguided. 15 years ago my macrobiotic boyfriend at the time had to jump through so many hoops to sustain his diet that it was truly inconvienient. I went from eating meat/dairy/eggs/cheese/fish to completely plant based on a 20 minute jaunt to Trader Joe's on SuperBowl Sunday. Isn't that the ultimate goal? I truly take my hat off to those of you who got it 15-20 years ago. I've had to explain to my husband that one can make the change to a totally plant based diet by shopping at Kroger, Meijer's, walMart, Target, Trader Joe's and many other mainstream markets. There is now a critical mass of people who are open to eschewing an animal based diet because it is easier to do now. A less stringent approach works many times because even now i'm looking at the meat subs and I realize that it's merely a mental crutch until I figure out the all the natural things I can prepare without resorting to these prefab things. Just a few thoughts from someone who was affected enough by the not so pc vegan presentation to change her dietary choices.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with valerie, by watching the show and having a conversation with my boyfriend about it we both have started a vegan challenge. Before watching this show the idea of going vegan would have never crossed my mind. It started as a week and as this week is about to come to an end we both agree to continue with it.
I do agree that it would have been nice to see more whole foods rather than processed, however, the internet is a vast resource that over the past week I have learned a great amount about what to eat.
I think the point of the show was just to get people thinking and it did that. Plus by my choosing to do a vegan challenge I have talked to many coworkers that are also thinking about doing the same.
Even if we decide to end the so-called vegan challenge and add meat product back into our diet I can say that our diets will definitely be a more plant based over meat/potato based diet.

Anonymous said...

i just though id add that the oprah show is what convinced my mom to go vegetarian. she hasn't been tempted to eat a bit of meat since. so, while it wasn't perfect, it obviously had some effect

Canaan said...

I just found your blog in my research in becoming, first, vegetarian, and possibly second, vegan. It's something that's been on the back burner of my mind for some time. It's much easier and comfortable for me to stick to what I know. Which means cooking food for my family I am familiar with and know tastes good. Going meat or dairy-less is a scary unknown territory for me.

That being said, I appreciated your thoughts on the show. I, being "average" would say it did a lot for me. Someone who has played with the idea in the past, but not acted on it, the show made it seem attainable to me.

I didn't go through and read all the comments on this post (congrats on a successful blog!) but I will say as an outsider to this vegan world, I think it's an intimidating world to become a part of because of all the unknowns and passion behind it.

I am using all the meat in my freezer this week and plan to try a week of vegetarianism next week. Vegan will be to follow, but one step at a time.

Thanks for you blog!

Laptop Lunches said...

Watching the show has inspired our office to go vegan for a week. Any tips for some good vegan lunches?