29 January 2011

Oprah and staffers go vegan in week long challenge

On February 1, the Oprah Winfrey Show will air "The Vegan Challenge" in which Oprah and 378 Harpo staffers take on veganism in a one-week challenge to cut out all animal products—“no meat, no dairy, no animal anything.”

During the show, Oprah will speak with special guests Michael Pollan and Kathy Freston, and Lisa Ling will take the audience inside a beef processing plant.

Back in 2008, Oprah decided to dabble in “conscious eating” and spent 21 days on a vegan cleanse. The daytime talk show host claimed to have had a difficult time with the experience, she craved eggs—which she seldom ate prior to the cleanse—and longed for cheese daily. While she was not ready to call herself a vegan, or even a vegetarian, at the end of the experience, Oprah said she would be more mindful of her choices. “I'm eating a far more plant-based diet,” explained Oprah. “Less processed food. Thinking about sugar and fat consumption not in terms of calories but in terms of what happens to my well-being.”

We know that after this one-week challenge, no matter how wonderful the vegan diet is portrayed, it is quite likely that Oprah and her staffers will high tail it to the closest pizza joint to order a cheesy meaty pie before hitting up the local Baskin Robbins. That being said, it is still commendable that Oprah will highlight this topic on her show. Twenty years ago, we would have never seen a program with the reach of The Oprah Winfrey Show give an ounce of positive attention to veganism, heck most people probably didn’t even know what the word “vegan” meant… we’ve come a long way baby.

Update: Did you see the show?  Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Daelyn Fortney | @daelyn | email
Daelyn is the co-founder and managing director of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to her work at TDIV, Daelyn homeschools her three daughters.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/mhcseattle