Oprah and 378 Staffers Go Vegan For A Week

205 comments

If you caught the Oprah show today, you may have been surprised to see that Oprah and her staff- some 378 men and women- participated in Oprah’s Vegan Challenge. For 1 week, they left behind their usual fare of dairy, eggs, butter, meat, fish, and all other animal products and even the HARPO cafeteria started serving some vegan options. I thought I was dreaming when I saw the preview for this show because I did not expect this, but I was so proud of Oprah and her staff for bringing attention to this topic. I took some notes to share with you because I know many of you were not able to watch the episode.

Journalist and food expert Michael Pollan, vegan author Kathy Freston, and journalist Lisa Ling were invited onto the show to talk about veganism and being conscious of where our food comes from. Oprah was clear in stating that everyone needs to make the choice for themselves and the show was neither pro-vegetarian nor pro-vegan, but pro-education, much like her show with Pollan several months ago.

Oprah claims that many of us are ‘disconnected’ from the animals, meat industry, and the food we eat each day. As reported by the USDA, 10 billion animals are killed in the US each year for consumption. With such a staggering number, it is important to question how our food gets to our plates.

Michael Pollan thought the Vegan Challenge was fun because it makes people conscious of what they eat. I had to agree with this because when I became a vegan, for the first time in my life, I started reading the ingredients that were in my food. I was shocked to find out that I didn’t know what half of the ingredients were and I still find myself looking up mystery ingredients on a weekly basis.

Oprah’s staff member, Jill, emptied out every item in her fridge that had an animal product in it. By the time Jill went through her fridge, it was virtually empty. She was shocked how much food contains animal products.

Pollan admits to eating meat 1-2 times per week, but states that he doesn’t eat industrial or feed-lot meat and he supports small-scale, local farmers that do not feed the animals grain (i.e. corn or corn by products). Michael’s goal is to REFORM the meat industry, not eliminate it. While I would love to see a meat-free society some day, I do realize that Michael’s approach is probably the most realistic.

As a rare look inside a meat farm, Lisa Ling travelled to Cargill Meat Solutions– one of the largest meat companies in the US. This part of the episode was the most emotional for me to watch. They described the process that each cow goes through from the feed lot to the slaughtering to the processing. Each cow at Cargill spends 200 days at the feed lot where they are fed corn and corn by products. This is to fatten up the cattle where they gain about 3 pounds per day. Each day, 4,500 cattle are sent to the slaughterhouse where they will be guided through maze-like pathways for 2 hours to calm down prior to slaughter. I could almost feel the chill in the air as I watched this somber part of the clip.

It was extremely hard for me to watch the animals looking into the camera, just moments before death. Kathy Freston described how I was feeling when she said, ‘watching the animals in the slaughterhouse didn’t sit right with my soul.’  I could not have described my own emotions any better. It is one thing to read something from a book, but to actually see it happening is very real.

Not surprisingly, the episode did not show the 4 inch bolt that is shot through every cow’s head during slaughter. They did, however, show the pain on Lisa Ling’s face as she watched the slaughtering. The carcasses then go through the process of skin removal, sawing, and chopping/grinding the parts. This part was very graphic, but I was happy that they did show this behind the scenes look because I think it is important to connect ourselves to what we eat. The most shocking thing about this slaughterhouse was that it was supposed to be one of the ‘better ones’ and that many, unfortunately are much, much worse than was portrayed.

The show ended with vegan author, Kathy Freston who served as the vegan guide for Oprah and her staff members during the vegan challenge. Kathy took staff member Jill to Whole Foods to show her examples of vegan foods she could cook for her family. I expected Kathy to show her beans, legumes, lentils, vegetables, fruits, nuts, or seeds, but sadly, Kathy showed her a plethora of packaged fake meats, fake mayonnaise, fake cheese, and fake ice cream sandwiches. I strongly believe that a vegan diet does not need to rely on processed, imitation products, so I was disappointed to see this focus. When I first went vegan, I tried all the fake meat products because that is what I thought I was supposed to eat, but my real satisfaction with veganism only came when I experimented with non-processed foods like grains, beans, lentils, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. That is when it all clicked for me and I knew that I could do it long term.

Oprah and her staff member’s reactions to The Vegan Challenge were very interesting to watch. One of Oprah’s staff members, Joe, said he felt so amazing that he was going to convert to a vegan diet. Oprah, said it was definitely ‘doable’ to eat a vegan diet, but she would be ‘veganish’ from now on, meaning that she will think more about the food she eats and try to eat more animal-free foods. Her partner, Stedman, wants to continue the vegan challenge because he enjoyed it so much. Other staff members admitted that they wouldn’t be converting any time soon, but they did admit that it made them think about what they eat each day. Out of 379 participants, they lost a total of 444 pounds and gained a total of 84 pounds. Some participants said they gained weight because they relied on ‘vegan junk food’ too much. I thought it was great that they showed both sides of the story because it is just as easy to eat unhealthy on a vegan diet as it is a non-vegan diet! I don’t like the portrayal that veganism is some kind of weight-loss diet though.

To end the show, Oprah and staff members at HARPO announced that they will be holding a Meatless Monday each week in honour of this challenge. I think this is a great idea and it shows that no matter what kind of diet you do chose eat, you can always make changes, big or small, to impact the system.

If you are interested, there are a bunch of video clips from today’s show on the Oprah website.

Did you see Oprah’s Vegan Challenge show? What did you think? Do you ever go meat/animal-product free or participate in Meatless Monday?

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram (@ohsheglows + @theglowspot), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

Previous Posts

{ 205 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sarah (sarah learns) February 1, 2011

i wish i could have seen the show today! i’m so interested in vegan & vegetarian diets, especially since i know so many people who are vegetarian and think it’s healthy to eat a grilled cheese sandwich multiple times a day.

i’m not surprised they talked about so many fake foods. that is the common perception of vegan cooking. to me, the fake meat just grosses me out. thanks for posting your thoughts on the show!

Reply

2 Sabine @ thefruitpursuit February 2, 2011

I so wish I could have seen it too! They don’t even air Oprah over here (holland) :(. Which usually doesn’t bother me that much but DAMN, this is such great news! Much more so than Clinton going ‘vegan’ (with the exception for fish…). I have a hard time with promoting veganism as a health diet being vegan myself. I love how Oprah gets the message across: we are so detached not only from animals, but nature in general and ever ourselves!

I am secretly hoping she sticks with it after the week is up ;)

Reply

3 Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) February 2, 2011

Same! I live in England so I couldn’t see it either!! I’m hoping it’s on YouTube though so I can watch it on there :)

I’m not surprised they talked so much about ‘fake’ foods though, as I guess these are much more relatable to most people than beans and lentils, great as they are! They certainly helped me a lot when I switched to a vegan diet, and now and again I still have them.

But it’s great how much more normal veganism is becoming to people! Cerainly the reactions to my veganism I’ve been getting more recently are much more understanding than just a year or so ago! :D

Reply

4 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) February 1, 2011

I had to look away from the TV when they showed the slaughterhouse. Wow that was intense! While some parts of the show were iffy, I’m glad they are encouraging people to think about what they’re eating. Knowledge is power!

Reply

5 Caitlin @the permanent life February 2, 2011

I totally agree! I understand that the whole world isn’t going to go vegetarian/vegan but if people just had more of an awareness some big changes could be made!

Reply

6 Sara February 1, 2011

Very neat, and thanks for the quick review!

I am vegetarian but not vegan, and I try to get my dairy products from only organic and then even grass fed sources when I can, but it’s really a lot more difficult than it should be. I 100% agree that people are too detached from their food choices, even including things such as the amount of work it takes to get a banana from Ecuador (because they most definitely are not grown in North America!) to our houses, etc. The more we detach from our food, the less we are taking care of our bodies. People even as recent as 100 years ago would balk at the things we’re willing to eat no-question, these days!

Reply

7 Meg February 1, 2011

I am so glad this was on. So many of my friends and family do not understand my switch to veganism and hassle me so much. I hope this helps them see that it’s not just a fad. Not a trend. All I want is to be healthy. This site has inspired me to do so much. Awesome awesome.

Reply

8 [email protected] knackfornutrition February 1, 2011

I saw the episode as well. First of all, I love love love Michael Pollan and what he has done for the way we look at food in the US. I can honestly say, that without his books, I would probably not make the choices I do today.
That said, I really did not care for the woman Oprah interviewed. She depicted veganism as a way to lose weight. Morever, as you stated, she showed fake meat products and substitutes as if they were a staple of a vegan diet.
Overall, I was really excited to hear that Oprah was doing a show on veganism. Because of the blogs I read, I don’t find omitting dairy and meat as a bizarre thing. But her audience is different. I think she was able to reach a lot of people today who probably reconsidered what they were having for dinner. :)

Reply

9 [email protected] knackfornutrition February 1, 2011

I saw the episode as well. First of all, I love love love Michael Pollan and what he has done for the way we look at food in the US. I can honestly say, that without his books, I would probably not make the choices I do today.
That said, I really did not care for the woman Oprah interviewed. She depicted veganism as a way to lose weight. Moreover, as you stated, she showed fake meat products and substitutes as if they were a staple of a vegan diet.
Overall, I was really excited to hear that Oprah was doing a show on veganism. Because of the blogs I read, I don’t find omitting dairy and meat as a bizarre thing. But her audience is different. I think she was able to reach a lot of people today who probably reconsidered what they were having for dinner. :)

Reply

10 Clare @ Fitting It All In February 1, 2011

Great recap. I watched and was very impressed and how they showed both sides of the picture by having both Michael Pollan and Kathy Freston. I do wish they focused more on the delicious vegan meals you can make instead of just trying to recreate meaty junk food, but you have to start somewhere! I was proud that lots of her staff were so happy with the results of the challenge.

Reply

11 Katie February 1, 2011

I’ll be completely honest… I’m really quite frustrated by this show!

1. It was made out that a vegan diet is some crazy radical diet where you need to sacrifice so much and spend loads of money on all the processed vegan foods that really isn’t necessary.

2. I’m really disappointed by what Michael Pollan was saying. He says that the meat industry is terrible for the environment, but that he still eats it a couple times a week from “sustainable” farmers. He then goes on to say that it really doesn’t matter how much meat you eat. Too bad 99% of meat eaters can’t afford the free-range chicken from neighbor Joe!!

3. Oprah stated at the beginning of the show that we were too disconnected from the food on our plate, but then later in the show said that the animals were being killed “humanely”. There is NO way to kill an animal humanely. It’s taking their life for your own gain. Plain and simple. You can’t get much more disconnect than that.

The lady said that the animals don’t feel pain as they bleed out for approx. 2 minutes before they bleed out and die. Unfortunately, the reality from the bolting is that it is not always effective, leaving the animal still “with it” as its throat is slit open.

You have to ask yourself *why* they wouldn’t show the bolting process if it was so humane? They showed the cows being skinned and sliced in half…what could be so graphic about a cow being bolted?

I just feel that this was a bad portrayal of the truth behind those factory walls…

4. Lastly: WHO CARES IF LISA LING STILL EATS MEAT AFTER SEEING THE MEAT FACTORY!! Oprah kept saying this as it were some justification and reason that we should all continue eating meat. Bravo, Lisa.. you have no soul! Let’s all follow in your footsteps and make this world a better place.

Urgh. Sorry.. I’ve never been a radical vegan. I tell the truth to others when they ask for it, but otherwise keep it to myself. I absolutely despise when other vegans go out of their way to make omnivores feel guilty about their food choices. That being said, I also despise when things are portrayed poorly, giving off the wrong message.

Reply

12 Kelly February 1, 2011

I TOTALLY agree with you Katie!! The biggest positive is that the vegan diet was brought to mainstream awareness but it wasn’t a great description of the whole vegan lifestyle. If anything, it’s a start…

Reply

13 none February 2, 2011

“not a radical vegan”
you make me laugh at how misguided you are. Lets clear the “truth” shall we?

for one thing, these animals wouldn’t even have life if it wasnt for the food indusry.
these animals have happy carefree lives until they are taken to be used for food.
majority of the time.. no they do not feel anything. is it any crueler for us to do that than for an animal in the wild to rip another animal to shreds while it is still alive? i think no…
Humans are scummy sometimes in their treatment of animals, and each other, and that is regrettable, but that is not every case.

another thing, lets use horse slaughter as an example.
overbreeding of horses has caused too many to be here that aren’t wanted.
with the closing of the slaughterhouses, what happens to these horses….?
the person(alot in this world economy) that cannot afford to care for or even the euthnasia of the animal, abandons the horse to starve to death, or succumb to illness, if they are sold at an auction… they are still bought by killer buyers to be shipped out of the country to slaughter houses. except nowww they travel for days with no food or water in the heat or freezing cold.
What do you think is going to happen to these other animals?

Humans are omnivores… take a look at our teeth and digestive system.
Plants are living too… whose to say they arent hurt?
Have a heart, eat a rock.

And let me tell you.
I have been an animal-lover since I was born. Nothing could hold my attention more as a generally hyper child. Call me crazy but I feel connected to animals, we just get along…
I can walk up to animals that supposedly don’t like “strangers” “other people” or whatever.
I eat meat. I am pro (govt regulated) horse slaughter.
Because I can see the alternative for these animals and it really isn’t pretty in comparison.

Reply

14 Meg February 2, 2011

No life if it wasn’t for the meat industry!?

I’m not vegan 100% for animal rights. Its mostly cause I feel better when not eating animal. However to say they would have no life is ridiculous.

So that makes it right? An animal is bred to live in torturous conditions so we can have a burger? Free range is better but as mentioned most people cannot afford it.
Get real w your view that it’s right because they are bred to be eaten. They were bred to be tortured, mishandled, and poorly processed.

Reply

15 StyckyWycket February 2, 2011

“They were bred to be tortured, mishandled, and poorly processed.”

I have to argue with the logic of this statement. If that was the case, then animals would not be eaten after being slaughtered. Their carcasses would just be dumped wherever to rot, and slaughterhouses would actually be paid to to torture animals until they are killed. Clearly, that’s not how slaughterhouses work.

Yes, some animals are raised to be eaten. But in no way does that make it ethical for slaughterhouses to mistreat the animals before they are killed and divided into consumer-manageable parts. Every animal, from your pet cat or dog, to horses that are slaughtered because of overpopulation, deserve to be ethically (humanely?) treated. I was horrified over the way pigs were tortured in a slaughterhouse in NC (source: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317947,00.html); and truly feel that this is what Nietzsche meant when he stated that “the abyss looks back at you.” There is something to be said for people who abuse animals, whether it be on the clock or off, and it’s nothing complimentary.

I take issue with such a statement because I believe in the promotion of veganism. I don’t like the idea that the hamburger I like may be made of hundreds of different cows (Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/31/health/main326858.shtml); and I refuse to eat both veal and foie gras because I object to the way these foods come to be. But to help veganism be viewed as mainstream and as an accepted life choice, those who argue for it MUST, MUST make logical and impassioned arguments for their cause, and try to avoid hyperbolic statements such as, “They were bred to be tortured, mishandled, and poorly processed.”

Keep up the good fight, and continue educating people about veganism!

Reply

16 AMBER February 7, 2011

“None”
I bet if the animals could talk and the question was posed to them, “Would you have chosen to be born had you known what your life would be?” I would bet all the money in the world the answer would be “NO!” The majority of them do not live carefree lives and certainly not happy. As far as your statement that they do not feel anything…how do you know that? How many slaughterhouses have you been too? The bolt shot into their head is to stun…Do you think the slaughterhouse workers stop to check vitals before they start chopping!? You are right they would not be here if it was not for us, but they are here for no other reason then our greed, greed of money and palate satisfaction!
Your comment about us being omnivores is correct, but you contradict yourself when you say look at our teeth and guts. First, we do not have the canines required to rip raw meat easily from a bone and last time I saw someone eating a steak they cook it, cut it with a knife, and chewed with their back teeth. Look at an obligate carnivore’s teeth they are all sharp and the jaw is longer. Speaking of longer, obligate carnivore’s colon is very short to allow for quick pass through of meat. We (humans) have a VERY long colon which means the harder to digest meat sits in there and rots before it is finally expelled. Omnivore means we are capable of eating meat and veggies, not that we have to eat meat! If you eat a meat only diet you would become ill because you CANNOT get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need with only meat, if you eat a plant only diet you would most likely thrive because you can get virtual all you need from a vegan diet! FYI: Wild animals kill what they need, we kill BILLIONS of animals for food and that does not even included animals killed for other reasons: experiments, fur, sport, abuse,ETC!!!! How much of that is wasted? How many are killed only to be wasted because it’s contaminated or there is just too much to be used?
Oh! and to the “plants..who say they aren’t hurt”, which is the most annoying and ignorant statement uttered when people argue against a vegan lifestyle, who says they don’t hurt is…well modern science! To feel pain you must have a spinal cord connected to a brain which sends messages to pain receptors to let you know you should feel pain! When/If my veggies start screaming in pain and terror and/or bleed when I cut them then I will then have to rethink my stand on this subject. People are always saying how vegans are “crazy”, “radical” , “stupid”…funny thing is I am constantly asked to justify my lifestyle! On the other hand, I have never EVER gone up to someone and said “Ewww…what is that? A chicken leg? Do you think it screamed? I could never eat that! That is just not natural, is it “real”food? I would die if I had to give up veggies to eat that! Where do you get you vitamin C, A, D? Aren’t you afraid that chicken may have been diseased and covered in sores and that they may have pumped it full of hormones and antibiotics? Don’t you think it is sad that chicken is dipped in water and electrocuted to stun it (hopefully) before they pass its throat along spinning razors that may or may not kill it instantly before it is dunked in boiling water to get its feathers off? You are a selective animal lover, which is your choice, but because I have chosen to love all animals and advocate for humane treatment for all animals I am called radical! Instead of advocating for slaughter of animals that are over-bred why not advocate for decrease breeding! Animals by the billions die every year and most secondary to one reason…human greed!

Reply

17 Caitlin February 2, 2011

Katie – I completely agree with you! I was so angry I took to my blog after this came out.

It was just not a very accurate or well thought out portrayal of a vegan diet. With the exception of the Veganist author, none of the other guests were vegan!

Was kind of a failure of an episode in my mind.

Reply

18 Liz February 2, 2011

Katie,
You say “I absolutely despise when other vegans go out of their way to make omnivores feel guilty about their food choices” which I applaud. However, in your previous paragraph, you describe someone who has seen a slaughterhouse and still chooses to eat meat as having “no soul”.

Just as you despise when veganism is being protrayed poorly, I despise when omnivores are described as soul-less.

Reply

19 Katie February 2, 2011

Liz, you’re absolutely right. 95% of my loved ones are omnivores and they sure as hell have souls. I don’t think otherwise, nor would I say something like that to their face so I don’t know why I would post something like that online.
Thanks for calling me on it :)

Reply

20 Kristen February 3, 2011

TOTALLY AGREE WITH THIS!!!! I’ve been vegan for over 7 years now…and whenever there is some sort of attention in the media or popular culture, that would be “legitimate” (i.e. too many people love Oprah to not listen to her, she maintains a powerful position) for the mainstream audience, it is NEVER and accurate portrayal. So annoying, I don’t care if it gives people some idea about veganism, NOT everyone can afford whole foods and it doesn’t have to be an expensive diet. Whole foods and all of those pricey “fake” foods (not really healthy most times) will do nothing but spread the elitest, “white culture” message that most people perceive to be veganism. Also, being vegan is NOT and NEVER has been about consuming all of these fake meats and disgusting things. The point is to stray away from the over-processed wasteful and harmful consumption patterns of the mainstream and have an open mind, one that questions and challenges. And veganism isn’t for everyone, what’s more important is spreading a message of being a conscious consumer, aware of implications etc. Michael Pollan= disappointing.

Anyway, cool that Oprah is having a meatless Monday and this topic was given attention on her show, but it would be nice if, just for once, someone would go on there and say something that’s true to what veganism has always striven to be…

Reply

21 Leah @ Why Deprive? February 1, 2011

I didnt see the episode, but Im so glad Oprah did it. I mean, of all the people that could, shes the one that would get the most attention.
Im not a fan of meat in general, but Im not opposed to eating it. That said, I think the meat we eat today is nothing close to even what my parents and grandparents used to eat. My mom grew up on a farm. They raised chickens and cows. I dont think they killed the cows for meat, I think they were just dairy cows, but they milked them themselves, and took care of them. Same thing with the chickens, they had good lives. Thats the way it should be. If you’re going to eat them, they shouldnt have to suffer their whole lives first. I dont understand why people cant see that. If this happened to dogs, the world would freak out, but because its cows and pigs its ok? That makes no sense.

Reply

22 crystal.cattle February 1, 2011

Good recap of the show. I’ll be honest I am on the other side of the issue, I am a farmer and my family raises cattle. I respect whatever food choices a person makes, it is a personal decision, and no one deserves to be critized. One thing I would encourage is to talk to a farmer or rancher about your food as well. We are more than willing to share our story and answer questions about your food. That is ultimate who we are raising it for so you deserve to know about it, but I caution you to remember that it was also my family that was out in a blizzard today breaking waters, helping cows calf, putting extra bedding and feed out for them. If you on Twitter #agchat is a good hashtag to learn about ag and talk with a farmer. I am @CrystalCattle. Good show today, I am glad that she has more people asking about food.

Reply

23 none February 2, 2011

thank you. this is proof of how well cared for most of these animals are.:)

Reply

24 Emma February 1, 2011

Thank you so much for this post because I missed this Oprah! I have wanted to for about 5 years, but I feel as though I cannot be a healthy vegan (yet!) because, as a college student: 1. I do not feel as though I have control over what I can eat. Relying on dining hall foods or what my family buys limits options. and 2. I do not feel as though I can afford to buy the types of food that can provide me with a wholesome, vegan diet If had one or the other of these, I feel as though I could do it! Do you have any suggestions?

Reply

25 hippierunner February 1, 2011

Thank you for this recap. I have been hearing about it all day but couldn’t watch it. Very frustrated to hear that it concentrated on fake products. I think that can steer people away from veganism because they are left comparing this weird, foreign-to-them product with what they are familiar with. If the show had focused on a whole foods diet, people might be more willing and interested. I am glad they showed the suffering animals (though I know if I had seen it I would’ve been in tears); I really hope it pushes people to give up meat.

I am a vegetarian, leaning towards vegan food most of the time as I tend to favor grains, fruits, veggies, legumes, over other food.

Reply

26 Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons February 1, 2011

I need to watch these clips. After learning about slaughter and meat processing in my food science course, I went vegan for a week, followed by vegetarian for a few years. I’ve slacked since marrying my husband and we will eat local, farm raised and pasture grazed cow maybe once a week? Dairy and gluten seem to be “triggers” for me lately and I’m certain those have no part in my personal diet, so i’m working towards figuring out what my body needs! Its tough but I feel like knowledge is power and i’m glad oprah addressed veganism and encouraged people to make some changes and educate themselves.

Thanks for the recap, this is the first i’m reading of the show! So now i’m going to do a little more digging =) xoxo

Reply

27 Ashley February 1, 2011

Great review Ang!! I couldn’t agree with you more. I was going to give a quick overview of my thoughts on my post tonight as well..but maybe I’ll just refer people to yours. ;)

Reply

28 Fallon February 1, 2011

I really wanted to watch this show but I had to work. Thank you for your lovely write up! Hopefully I can catch or a repeat or a video of it online.

Reply

29 Joslyn @ missfitbliss February 1, 2011

thank you Angela! I don’t have cable, so I needed this update sorely! It really is amazing to me how many people eat mindlessly and don’t think of the animals. But that’s how we’re programmed and socialized to think! I stopped eating meat at 11 years old after seeing footage similar to what was aired today, and I haven’t looked back since!

I am, however, extremely happy to support meat farmers that raise and slaughter their animals in the most humane and natural way possible. I purchase and cook meats from these farmers for my boyfriend often, and I’m so excited to see more and more of these farms popping up.

I don’t think that everyone is made to be veg/vegan, but I do want everyone to consider meatless options and buy from humane farmers!!

Reply

30 gina (fitnessista) February 1, 2011

i’m really bummed that i missed the episode. it sounds like an amazing one and i totally agree that it’s important for us to be educated on all aspects of our food and make an informed decision on what’s right for us
the first time i truly went vegetarian, i relied on all of the packaged processed stuff and didn’t last. i was so burnt out. the second time, when i experimented with *real* food, it lasted much longer. while i’m not a vegetarian anymore, i think it is important to vote with our grocery purchases and choose organic and humane food as much as possible
thanks for the re-cap, friend :) hope all is well <3

Reply

31 [email protected] February 1, 2011

I have that episode DVR’d so I am looking forward to watching it. I just think bringing awareness to how animals are treated and in turn what we are actually putting into our bodies is great. The masses definitely need a very broad and general overview or it does seem radical.

Reply

32 Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter February 1, 2011

That is all SO interesting. I really loved reading your review. I’m so sad that I missed the show, but I would love to watch the whole thing.

I’ve thought about becoming vegetarian, and maybe after a look into the slaughterhouse I will consider it more seriously.

Reply

33 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn February 1, 2011

Thank you for the awesome summary, ang! Unforch, I was napping and missed it:( Oprah really outdid herself, it makes me happy beyond words to see a large, televised movement towards Veganism on a show like Oprah’s! I applaud her, truly. I can’t wait to see where this takes Veganism!:)

Reply

34 Lauren Guerrieri February 2, 2011

I was jealous of all the free goods too! Oprah’s staff have the hookup!

Reply

35 Gina February 1, 2011

Yes, I did! I was cringing when I saw the poor cattle being round up to be shot in the head with a bolt. Such a horrible, horrible thing. I’ve never been so happy to be a vegetarian after seeing that.

P.S- How awesome would that be to get two large sacks full of vegan groceries from Kashi and Whole Foods like Oprah’s staffers? :)

Reply

36 Andrea Bloomfield February 1, 2011

I saw the show and thought it was a great start to get people thinking about where their food really comes from. I think Michael Pollan made some good points for people who still eat meat — conscious consumers would be a great start to turning around North America’s eating “catastrophe”. I also found the slaughterhouse video very disturbing although I do think that it was not as bad as some places that we read/hear about….I have seen the trailer from the documentary Earthlings and those images haunt me. It’s so wonderful to see vegetarianism/veganism becoming more widely respected and accepted. The only things I wish that they had spent a bit more time discussing were the environmental impact that raising billions of animals for food causes and that so much food goes to feeding this livestock when there are so many people in this world starving. When I stopped eating meat, I did so because I did not want to be responsible for inflicting fear/pain or death on another living thing….it wasn’t until later that I discovered all of the other problems raising animals for food created. I think people need to be made more aware of these reasons, as well as the animal suffering…..I guess an hour just isn’t enough…..this topic could go on & on for hours!!

Reply

37 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 1, 2011

Wow I had no idea that Oprah episode was on. Why do i always hear of these things AFTER the fact. Darn!

I am vegan 99% of the time. If there is trace dairy in something, I am not going to freak out. I don’t seek it out, I don’t eat animal flesh, or fish, but trace dairy IN packaged items, well, it happens.

I think that any awareness that can be brought to the vegan issue is good. However, some people will always eat animals or animal products and that is their choice, for whatever the reasons. I can only hope they are choosing to eat that way b/c they have truly THOUGHT about it and for them, it works and is best. And not just mindlessly doing it.

Such a touchy issue on both sides of the fence. All I can do is do what I do and be as compassionate as possible, and hope others feel/act the same :)

Reply

38 jenn @ jennliveswell February 1, 2011

I completely agree with your review. I also felt like they were so spotty – jumping between staff interviews and with the guests and the show didn’t have a clear flow. I feel like they lacked a lot of “bulk” that would have helped people become really informed. Information about why a vegan diet is so healthy and can reverse or prevent diseases and not that it’s just expensive or you need to shop at Whole Foods. I also wish they’d highlighted a lot of the super athletes or amazing people who thrive on this diet. I do like that Kathy managed to get in a few lines about getting plenty of protein from vegan foods since this is such a common misconception.

I was also disappointed that she focused so much on the fake meats, cheese and mayo. She also called earth balance butter “so healthy for you” which is SO UNTRUE. 100% of the calories in Earth Balance come from fat and it’s mostly all oil. Is it a suitable vegan substitute for regular butter? Absolutely. But is Earth Balance “so healthy for you”? Absolutely not. No more healthy than gnawing on a stick of overly processed butter.

I wish more “real” vegans had been interviewed as well. Oprah really showed the disconnect between her and the real people when she talked about the fact that she has expensive organic produce available to her, but understands that a lot of people can’t afford this. I found that disheartening rather than inspiring.

Overall – if nothing else – it brought more awareness to the cause and I enjoyed that portion of it. I was also pleased to hear so many people saying it gave them energy and made them feel better.

Reply

39 Jaina February 2, 2011

I agree! I would have loved to see the “real” people eating vegan. The joke in our house is that Whole Foods=whole paycheck! I love the store-don’t get me wrong, but it can be expensive and it is important to help people understand that you don’t need to be a million like Oprah to eat this way.

Reply

40 Danielle February 1, 2011

I saw the preview for this show but did not get to watch it. I love Michael Pollan so I was happy to see he was going to be on the show. His views are so realistic and are probably revolutionary to the average American. I am also disappointed to hear that they put a lot of stress on processed vegan “junk” food. These prepackaged fake foods are just as bad for our planet and our bodies (if not more so) than animal products themselves. I have never gone “meat-free” or vegan for an extended period of time. I have probably unintentionally gone meat-free for a few weeks as I do not eat much meat. I rely on eggs and dairy on a daily basis however. I believe in making conscious daily choices that are right for your body and not classifying the diet to any particular “type” (vegetarian, etc.). I am glad Oprah covered the topic however becuase it is important for people to realize the impact of each and every food choice they make.

Reply

41 Wei-Wei February 1, 2011

I wish I could have caught this! Maybe I’ll look for it online. I don’t know about the animals I harm when I eat animal products, and I definitely do feel detached from the source. I’ve never been fully vegetarian except as an excuse not to eat during my eating disorder, but now I hope that I can be fully vegetarian and aware of what I eat.

However, while I know that while Oprah’s show meant well and intended to get the point across, I don’t believe that it’s necessary to use shock tactics such as showing a slaughterhouse on public television. It’s the hard truth, and I don’t know how else you would show it, but veganism is a serious issue/concept that can easily be exploited by marketers of vegan processed products, by using these shocking images and following it up by introducing vegan processed food products. I agree with you that vegans should (like the rest of the world) eat as unprocessed foods as possible, but it would be pointless on television to say “eat more nuts, lentils, fruits and veg, just avoid the animal products!” because that’s generally good advice for eaters of all omnivorities, no?

Sorry for the novel! I just like to keep aware of the commercialist aspect of things, and thought it would be an interesting thing to discuss. Your summary was very well written – you go, Angela! :]

Reply

42 Nicole February 1, 2011

Thanks for reviewing this, I wasn’t able to watch it. I watched the videos on Oprah’s site, the slaughterhouse in particular was really eye opening. It’s a great reminder of why I choose to eat the way I do.

Reply

43 SB February 1, 2011

I totally agree with your disagreement over all the “meatless meat” and other “vegan” products at the grocery store. There are SO many better alternatives, all of which you pointed out.

This is a touchy subject, and I am not a vegan, but I agree that the show could have done a better job describing the vegan lifestyle and what it can mean.

Reply

44 olivia February 1, 2011

Although Oprah’s episode was very graphic and eye opening, I still believe that everyone should have their own right to choose how/what they eat. I have been called “ignorant” “un-ethical” and “morally unsound” by vegans and vegetarians for being a meat eater. I really don’t think that morals has to do with anything. If I want to eat a steak or chicken because I think its delicious and I feel great after eating it, versus when I eat beans or lentils and I feel sick and have no energy, then I will choose to do so. In my experience, vegans criticize meat eaters just as much as meat eaters criticize vegans. If you look at some of the comments on Angela’s post so far, they are in plain site. Why don’t both parties live and let live?

Reply

45 Lauren February 1, 2011

I didn’t see it, but this is a very good summary. I’ve read two of Michael Pollan’s books, and they were so informative and helped change some of my misconceptions. I am mostly vegetarian, and I love that he offered alternatives and wants to change the meat industry. I think it’s realistic for people to eat less meat instead of the HUGE amounts people eat now, but nutrition & food education is such a big problem in this country. The majority of people do not know where there food comes from, what it is made of, or how to eat any type of diet (vegetarian, vegan, or not). I think it’s great Oprah did this show to bring awareness to the tons of people who watch her show.

Reply

46 Alissa February 1, 2011

I was very excited when I heard about this Oprah show and watched it as soon as I got home. Last time Michael Pollan was one Oprah with Alicia Sliverstone it really changed the way I looked at food/ went shopping for food. I really enjoy Michael’s books, but I did not care for the vegan woman. I wanted to learn about more ways that I could have fruits/vegetables in my diet, maybe even some recipes. Like some of the people above me I was disappointed to see how it was all processed food she showed the family. What about some roasted veggies with a veggie burger; or an amazing crockpot/homemade veggie/bean soup?

Reply

47 stacey-healthylife February 2, 2011

Great post and sounds like it was a really good show.

Reply

48 Lauren Guerrieri February 2, 2011

I did see this episode and I am very happy that Oprah used her enormous clout to present this issue to her large audience. I feel that other aspects of industrial livestock and animals farming should have been brought up – maybe she’ll do another show!

Reply

49 Lisa February 2, 2011

Angela, I completely agree with everything that you said and I also agree with what Katie said as well! I heard about this show and got so excited that I ran home and rushed through my laundry so I could sit and watch it undisturbed.

What I found was a very frustrating hour filled with misinformation or half information- I feel the show only skimmed the surface of what a vegan lifestyle is and can provide! Oprah frustrates me a little bit when she interviews individuals she doesn’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with. It was very clear with how much Michael Pollan vs. Kathy Freston got to talk. Oprah kept cutting off Kathy but Michael was able to speak freely. I understand you may not love the vegan lifestyle or be able to ‘give up’ those foods, but she seemed to be so anti-vegan when talking about it, almost dismissing it as a serious life choice for many people.

I was disappointed with all of the processed foods Kathy talked about- they were in a Whole Foods (the heaven of whole, fresh, organic and amazing superfoods) and not one of them was mentioned, giving the spotlight instead to meat substitutes and dairy substitutes- we should be teaching that these things do not NEED substitutes. I think it’s sending a confused message to America that being vegan somehow creates a void that you need to fill, rather than opening you up to a whole new world of foods and healthy options.

I could go on and on but I’ll end with this- Oprah is an extremely powerful woman with a wide range of resources and knowledgeable individuals at her fingertips- the fact that her show felt as though they did not want to offend anyone seriously offended me as a vegan who was really hoping for an informative show with substance.

Reply

50 [email protected] Hungry Mess February 2, 2011

Due to a massive blizzard in my area Oprah was “postponed” until 12:30am. I can’t wait to watch it, so it looks like its going to be a late night. So worth it. The funny part, was that my Grandma was the one to call and tell me what it was about, since I’m not a regular Oprah watcher. She seemed so pumped to watch it and then called to tell me how disappointed she was that it was being interrupted. So cute.

Reply

51 Ashley February 2, 2011

Thanks for the post, and summary of the show. As a journalism major in college, we watched all the documentaries for assignments– Super Size Me, Fast Food Nation, and Food Inc. As a meat eater, I felt so disgusted and sad. But the worst part is– after a day or two of “I can’t do this, I can’t eat meat anymore!” I began to crave it. And then I would find myself chowing down on a hamburger two weeks later, without little to no thought.
Now, I’ve been with my boyfriend for 7 years– who is vegetarian. When I went to college, it was rare to have meat around, simply because he didn’t eat it and it was too expensive. But we did rely on fake meats– and while they were good, there wasn’t really any difference in our diets. I could very well have eaten more veggies than he did!
We’re just now, after seven years, changing our diets once again– I am feeling a very strong conviction to not eat meat anymore, because I can’t stand the thought of how they are treated. I could never do that with my own.
But what I’m so thankful for is this blog, and my friends who also eat a vegan diet– you have opened my eyes to a wonderful “diet”– one that I think is clouded by stereotype. I’m also glad Oprah did the show too, but disappointed that the focus was turned to fake products, which only adds to the stereotype.
I love all your recipes– and thank you for sharing your thoughts with this community!

Reply

52 Angela (Oh She Glows) February 2, 2011

Thanks Ashley :)

Reply

53 kimberley February 2, 2011

Angela,
What an Oprah Show! I’m vegetarain (*leaning into* Veganism everyday), and let me tell you, the part about the cows just reconfirmed my feelings about why it is so important. I felt emotional watching it, and actually had to walk away, I was getting so upset. I hope that this show makes an impact, and brings veganism and it’s importance to the front lines.

Reply

54 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 2, 2011

Oprah said she’s “veganish.” LOL!

Actually… I’d say that’s what I am… somewhat accidentally. After doing a basically vegan cleanse, I realized I felt SO much better eating cleanly and now I roll with almond milk and flax. I will occasionally eat chicken… but I have to say, I’ve developed a love of tempeh and pressed tofu.

Thank you, thank you for keeping me in ample supply of delicious, clean recipes!

Reply

55 ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska February 2, 2011

I missed this episode, but I bet I would have loved it! I’m not a vegetarian or vegan but do try to eat meat less than 5 times a week in total. The meats we do eat are wild salmon and halibut that we personally caught, as I feel much better about wild meats and humane harvesting.

Reply

56 Errin February 2, 2011

This is the first time I’ve commented, though I’ve been reading for awhile. I guess it was about time I de-lurked ;)

I watched today, and got a little bit frustrated, but realized *why* I was frustrated, which I think was really good for me. I didn’t realize how foreign this concept is for so many people, and was getting upset at how basic they were being, how unwilling to try some people were, the constant iterations of “do what is best for you”. I know they were trying to not force the issue, but I felt like Pollan did not do a very good job of pressing the fact that if you’re eating meat you should really only be eating humanely/ethically. Basically it just irked me. But I also realized that most of the people I associate with probably know multiple people who are vegan, and so they are educated on what it means.

Ultimately, I was really glad they did the program (though I wish they would have shown the full slaughter. Meet your meat, people) and hope that it encourages people who would have otherwise not entertained the idea of veganism or even eating vegetarian once a week (or even thinking about where their food comes from).

Reply

57 Beatrix February 2, 2011

It was a good show…the only issue I had was with the meatless alternatives. I’m gluten/wheat intolerant and therefore can’t eat alot of those products as they often always contain gluten. But I definately only eat meat products that I know where it came from..my family hunts and I support local farmers.

Reply

58 sassy molassy February 2, 2011

Thanks for sharing this. I tend to miss Oprah so I’ll have to check out the clips. I know that the more I read about how meat is processed, the more I’m drawn not to eat it. When I do eat it, I choose organic, locally raised meat, but this definitely reminds me there’s no reason I ever need to have meat. Most of my meals are vegetarian and I love those meals. Anywho, thanks for sharing.

Reply

59 Christine February 2, 2011

Great recap! I watched the show today too and had the same reaction to the vegan products that were highlighted. It’s too bad that there was an emphasis on fake sausage and meatless meats rather than the beautiful animal-free whole foods that are highlighted on your site and others. When I was watching them in Whole Foods I actually thought “Oh man, I wish they had Angela there instead–she’d have done such a good job!” Can’t wait til you are on TV promoting your book and bringing your healthy and humane lifestyle to a wider audience (and it will happen–I can totally picture it!)

Reply

60 Danielle February 2, 2011

I think this was a really interesting show. I have to agree, I wasn’t a huge fan of the woman she had on the show… her explanation of other sources of protein didn”t feel convincing and I don’t think trying to sell people on fake meat or cheese is going to sway them towards making the change.
That said though, I think it’s a great discussion topic to bring up, particularly on Oprah’s wide-reaching level. People should know start to finish where their food comes from, meat or vegetables. And of course, Michael Pollan is always excellent! I’m dairy and egg-free for allergy reasons and since cutting those out, I have been much more conscious about eating meat and am now to the point where I typically eat it only when dining out (if then). I skip most meat-substitutes (other than tofu) and rarely have dairy-free cheese… I just don’t see the need for it anymore! I am a big fan of coconut milk ice cream though ;)

Reply

61 Bronwyn Coyne February 2, 2011

I missed today’s episode. :( I would like to take a look at the clips though. Hopefully I’ll see it on a repeat sometime soon.

I think, considering who they had on, they were trying most likely to educate, as Oprah says. At the same time veganism I think is a growing trend, and as a TV show they were taking advantage of that (not necessarily a bad thing). I mean I think the whole concept of veganism is a HUGE area, and it would be hard to show all aspects of it. And you can only go so far with potential scare tactics too (which some might consider the slaughter house).

Reply

62 Jaina February 2, 2011

I saw the show (while at the gym oddly enough) and was feeling very inspired to feel better! I have to agree with you though about the processed “fake” meat products. I have not found any that please my palette and sometimes I think it is just best to leave that idea behind for whole foods-fruits, veg, leg, grains! I wished they had focused more on that. I have tried in the past to get my husband to eat the “fake” products and he has left with a bad taste in his mouth about veganism (no pun intended…maybe), but when I just make a healthy plant based meal, he loves it! I am inspired again to be vegan-ish and it certainly made me think about what is going into my body.

Reply

63 Jessica @ The Virtual Scrapbook February 2, 2011

I blogged a very similar reflection about the slaughterhouse, Michael Pollan, and the meat substitutes!! I totally agree with you!! Now…I just need to learn to cook/bake like you!

Reply

64 Alexandra February 2, 2011

I really enjoyed this article! I just became vegan last week and it’s hard A) realizing just how much animal product is in EVERYTHING and B) getting your friends and family to respect your efforts.

It’s insane to me, even before I went vegan, how “disconnected” we are from our food. I just wish more people would put down their defensive walls and truly listen to some of the research/articles on meat and dairy. Veganism gets such a bad rap.

Thanks for helping me easily transition! p.s. I made your creamy avocado pasta and it was delisssssh.

Reply

65 Candy (Healthy in Candy Land) February 2, 2011

I about cried when I heard Oprah was doing this challenge, and this show so of course I watched it. The exposure to this “lifestyle” alone is so good for our country and the message that people need to be more aware and really think about where their food comes from was also awesome. But, I too had a hard time with all of the meat substitutes advocated on the show, but I figure if die-hard meat fans make the switch slowly, and use them as sort of a gateway to a healthier, humane diet, it is at least a step in the right direction. I am glad they showed the cow/meat processing, but wish they would have emphasized more that this is not the norm. Most plants are much worse…

Reply

66 Ms. Adventuress February 2, 2011

I saw via O’s video clips…and so wish Dr. Gabriel Cousens was teaching them how to eat live, healthy, plant-based food. But I’m so grateful to see this vegan focus, to any degree.

Reply

67 Amanda February 2, 2011

I saw parts of this episode while I was on the treadmill at the gym. I’m really glad you covered it! I was hoping somebody would. Veganism as a weight loss tactic annoys me, its right up there with a detox diet to lose weight. Thats not a good reason to go vegan at all!

The part with the cows made me so sad! I thought I was going to cry, I think cows are adorable. The whole process bothered me. It made me want to cut down on my meat consumption. As it stands I don’t eat a lot of meat, I don’t like preparing it.

The fact that they went shopping and focused on heavily processed meat products (that taste like butt) pissed me off! As if those are the only alternatives to meat! Total crap. You can’t tell me that eating heavily processed soy-meat is healthier/better for you than organic, grass fed chicken. Or even better: one of your chick-pea burgers : ) You do vegan right Ange!

Reply

68 Melissa @ Delectable Living February 2, 2011

I appreciated that she did the show but I felt that there wasn’t enough emphasis on vegetables. When I was a vegetarian I hated meat substitutes like those Tofurky sausages and would instead rely on making my own dishes with veggies and grains. I thought a lot of the staffers went through the week eating things like popcorn and chips– as Oprah said she did– showing the “fast food vegan” side of things but not fully presenting a solution.

Reply

69 Casey Thomas February 2, 2011

I didn’t see the full episode but I watched all the clips.
I am ecstatic that they have done a show on veganism and shone the light on a slaughterhouse. It all helps to spread the word.
At the same time, like you, I am EXTREMELY disappointed that Kathy Freston focused on junk food veganism and processed food veganism. So many of my clients come to me sick, tired and overweight because they are adhering to a strictly vegan diet but binging on vegan junk foods and relying on pasta with bottled tomato sauce to get by. They are often eating a ton of non organic GMO corn products and wheat products too which only contribute further to the degradation of our ecosystem.
Hopefully this is the start of a great trend and now others (like you and me!) can help to spread the vegan message further but with a focus on non refined, non junk food veganism. So real plant food straight from the earth!

Reply

70 dep February 2, 2011

Thanks so much for this post, as i am unable to watch this…and probably would choose not to with the slaughterhouse segment. I grew up on a farm, and became vegetarian at 12 (and yeah, that’s related). The disconnect between what/how people eat nowadays and where their food comes from…horrifies me. I can’t stand seeing meat in those plastic packets. That’s an animal. Thanks for mentioning how the packaged vegan stuff was shown to Jill. I too ate that stuff when i was younger. I now eat one packaged product (vegan hot dogs actually!) and am better for it. It’s just another way to make money off people – there’s still this overwhelming idea that you must eat x (meat/dairy whatever you know) to be healthy. After many years i think there’s a wide range of foods you can eat to satisfy your needs and actually it’s different for everyone. I really hope this episode makes people think about what they pick up in a supermarket and where it came from.

Reply

71 Julia February 2, 2011

I can just hook up with my fellow commenters and say a HUGE THANK YOU for this recap.
Living in Germany, I wasn’t able to watch the show. But I make sure to watch the videos on the Oprah-Website.
I also want to thank all the other commenters for sharing their opinions, especially those who watched the show, too!

I don’t think that veganism is the one solution to the problems we’re facing concerning the food industry and an overweight and unhealthy society even though it’s often referred to as the Holy Grail.
But when a show like this helps to create more attention to what we eat and where the food comes from, it’s definetely a good thing!

Reply

72 Jen February 2, 2011

Thanks for sharing about Oprah. I didn’t see it but it’s awesome that she’s spreading the word!

Reply

73 CathyK February 2, 2011

i loved reading your recap, angela! i wrote one, too, just after the show ended! so enjoyed seeing the points you highlight, and your impressions.
here’s my post, if you would like to take a peak!
http://1970kikiproject.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/oprah-goes-vegan/
i agree – too much “product placement” for the fake meat products. i did think a balanced view of veganism was presented – no catfighting or radical ideas just to be sensationalistic.
i’d try it for a week!

Reply

74 Beth February 2, 2011

I thought the episode was pretty well done, aside from the processed-food-heavy trip to Whole Foods. If nothing else it will help make people think about where their food comes from and what is in it.

My middle kid is vegan and has been for about 2 years. It’s been fun learning new recipes (most of them come from you and Averie) and experimenting in the kitchen with her and she is thriving. I went vegan for a month last year, and food-wise it was easy but I didn’t feel as well on a vegan diet as I do on my normal diet.

We are supporters and buyers of local farmers and pastured meat. I honestly wouldn’t eat commercially farmed beef or chicken or eggs if you paid me. We personally know the people who raise our food, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Reply

75 Heather February 2, 2011

Thanks for the recap Angela. I missed this and forgot to set the DVR. I am reading “Eating Animals” right now and it is very detailed. I find it very hard to read about the whole process…it makes me so sad. However, it makes me happy that I have transitioned to a vegetarian diet and am almost eating fully vegan. This book is the push I needed to give up the final yogurt & cheese that was left in my diet.

Reply

76 Wendy (Healthy GIrl's Kitchen) February 2, 2011

Angela-I did see the show. Unfortunately, it angered me. I don’t know what happened in the editing process, but I cannot believe that it was never mentioned that a healthy vegan diet should consist primarily of vegetables, fruits. beans, real whole grains, nuts and seeds. I mean Michael Pollan was sitting right there!!!!!! And did he speak up after all of that talk about Veganaise and Tofurkey . . .? Really? I was cursing at my television right in front of my 11 year old daughter. It’s this type of misinformation that hurts the public not helps society. We are in a crisis of epidemic proportions in the United States. Oprah herself is obese. This episode was such a missed opportunity. Oh well, more work for us healthy vegan bloggers!!!!!

Reply

77 Meesh February 2, 2011

My mom actually called me and told me to turn on Oprah, I’m rarely home but was able to catch this episode! I agree with you, the clips from Cargill were the hardest to watch. I’ve been struggling with my diet this week and this show was on at the perfect time for me!

Reply

78 Gen February 2, 2011

I missed that episode, but that sounds so interesting!

Reply

79 Lauren February 2, 2011

Great review! I did see the show and felt very similar to you.

Reply

80 Sarah February 2, 2011

While I hate to be a Debbie Downer, my big issue with Oprah is that she did a “vegan cleanse” before, and while I appreciate the many shows she’s done to raise the profile of veganism…on the whole I think she portrays it as something that you can dabble in. Which is fine, and probably more doable for most people. But I think it enables people to retain that disconnection between what they eat because, at the end of the day, they haven’t faced it head on. So while the pragmatist in me appreciates the fact that America’s most beloved TV personality is at least teaching the world what veganism is, I think she tends to miss the spirit of what veganism actually is. I am a big believer in challenges like this (although I think 14 days is better – long enough to establish a new habit), but I don’t tend to like Oprah’s approach to it because it always seems temporary.

Reply

81 Lindsay February 2, 2011

I too was surprised to see all the fake foods Kathy was advocating. What a horrible representation. It really cost her some credibility in my eyes. Anyone who has read the back of those packages can attest you can barely read many of the ingredients, let alone know what they are. Disappointing. But so wonderful that Oprah showed the Cargrill photage.

I’m currently reading “Eating Animals” – should be required reading in North America.

Reply

82 Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner February 2, 2011

I was a strict vegetarian for a year, and though I eat meat now, I do so sparingly. The year of vegetarianism was really valuable because it reprogramed my idea of a satisfying meal, so I’ll often go a week without eating meat without intending to do so. I think the point you made about not switching from meat to fake meat is really important. The book Skinny Bitch came out when I was a vegetarian, and I was so disappointed to see that the recipes were mostly full of processed fake meat. I occasionally ate fake meat, but preferred (well, still prefer) to rely on whole foods to make meals.

Reply

83 Kristin W February 2, 2011

After seeing Food Inc. I really became picky about where I got my meat from. I no longer purchased it from the grocery store and found small local farms where I could purchase it. Since finding your website I can say that I actually have become veganish. I love to make your recipes and have cut down my meat consumption to maybe 1 meal every other day. I haven’t drank milk in years, but do eat small amounts of cheese and sometimes yogurt. Physically, I feel so much better. I don’t eat fake meat. If I have an urge for it, then I will eat a small amount of the real thing.

Reply

84 Ashley @ Taste for Healthy February 2, 2011

I was also very surprised (and excited!) when I heard that Oprah and her staff participated in a “vegan challenge!” She did an awesome job at being “pro-education.” I hope many people are inspired to be more aware of the food they put on their plates. Education and awareness are key! I agree with Michael Pollan… “if you are not willing to watch how your meat is produced, you shouldn’t eat it!”

Reply

85 Sarah February 2, 2011

The episode came on just as I was leaving my gym. (I don’t have TV-other than online sources- at home.) I tried to stall a little bit and was wishing I’d timed my visit a little differently. Thank you for summarizing the episode!
I did go meat-free for about 9 months. Now, I aim to eat similarly to Michael Pollan’s approach- eat meat, but instead of eating it at most meals, I eat it occasionally and from sources I can get behind.
I am always interested in reading, watching, and listening to vegan supporters, though- I find the movement fascinating, healthy (in more ways than one), and honestly, just generally delicious.

Reply

86 Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans February 2, 2011

I think its great that Oprah did this, although arguably there could have been improvements to the approach. If this episode gets through to even a few people to convince them to go meat-free, even occasionally, then it will have accomplished something worthwhile. I am not a vegetarian but I don’t eat red meat and I do eat many meatless meals a week. I think everyone’s choice is personal but it should be a choice made out of awareness to the issues.

Reply

87 Beach Bum Beauty February 2, 2011

I have stopped eating meet since January 1st. I am eating better than ever before because I am being more creative with my food. I have slipped up a couple of times but it has always made me feel physically unwell the next day which I was really surprised at. Trying to cut down on dairy products too which I am finding a bit more difficult but will try to gradually introduce non-dairy substitutes into my daily routine. This is one of the reasons I love your blog as the recipes are so easy to follow and yummy, I have lost count of the meals I’ve made from your recipes. Our favourite so far is your macaroni cheese which really tasted cheesy! Overall, my skin and hair look healthier and I’m sure if my job wasn’t so stressful then I’d feel more energetic too.

Reply

88 Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} February 2, 2011

I also blogged about this topic. I think Oprah really missed the boat by highlighting all the fake meat and cheese products. What a let down.

Reply

89 Lily @ Lily's Health Pad February 2, 2011

I wanted to see this show, but Oprah airs at such a bad time of day for me. So thanks for the recap. My mom watched it and told me a little about Lisa Ling visiting the cow slaughterhouse. When she told me about it, I just wanted to cry. She did say that this method of killing was designed by someone at PETA and it was deemed the most “uncruel” way to kill an animal. Not that murder can ever be uncruel…

Reply

90 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 2, 2011

I was at work when the Oprah show came one yesterday, and after hearing your description, I’m glad I was. I don’t think I would have been able to take the slaughterhouse scenes. One of my best friends (who is not a vegan or vegetarian by any means) couldn’t watch it and was crying by the end of the slaughterhouse scenes. I don’t need to see what they do – I know what they do, and I know that it’s far worse than what is portrayed. Just hearing this reminder makes me proud of the decision I made almost a year ago to go vegetarian (vegan for the most part).

I think it is so so so important that people do not rely on “fake products” to fulfill a vegan diet. It is not necessary! I rarely rely on any packaged foods, and my body thanks me for it. When I eat any processed foods, my body basically goes into shock because: a) it’s not used to it and b) our bodies weren’t made to process chemicals.

Reply

91 Erika @ FoodFitnessFun February 2, 2011

As someone who didn’t watch that episode of Oprah yesterday, I appreciate you writing this post! I feel informed! :-D

Reply

92 Geneviève February 2, 2011

I like how they decided to do this, but I still don’t think it will influence the majority of people to seriously consider a vegan diet. I didn’t see the epidsode but from your recap, it seems like they did this as a “challenge” and I don’t think it should be a challenge – I think it should just be a way of doing things. I believe people need to be even more educated.
Meatless Mondays are a good start, but simply replacing your ground beef with meatless chunks of whatever or relying only on tofu is not the best way to do it. I eat like a vegan at least 85% of the time and it’s really not that difficult. I’m a student so I can’t afford all the crazy processed stuff (not that I would buy it anyways). However, I eat beans, vegetables, fruit, carbs (whole grain, oats, coucous, quinoa, etc.) and nuts. I’m also lactose intolerant so I don’t do dairy for that reason, among many others. Eating a mostly vegan diet is NOT that complicated and shouldn’t be portrayed as a “challenge”.

Reply

93 JL goes Vegan February 2, 2011

I have the show on DVR but I haven’t watched it yet. After reading tweets and some blog posts about it, I’m not sure I will. I have a mixed reaction to Michael Pollen. I think he tries to live in both worlds and would like him to take a stand. His meat eating still requires killing an animal — and if 99% of beef in the US comes from factory-farmed cattle, how is he getting in on that 1% so regularly? (I’m sure it’s possible but it sure isn’t for the majority of Americans). I was also disappointed to hear about the “fake meat” suggestions from Freston.

But, as I said, my commentary is based on a show I didn’t watch, so I should probably shut up and just watch it! :)

Reply

94 Nim February 2, 2011

I would just like to say it is quite possible to find sources of meat that have been raised humanely (free range, grass fed, etc). My husband and I get ours (we go about four times a year since we tend to eat meat only a couple of times a month) from a local farmer at our farmer’s market. There are probably areas of the country where it is difficult to find these sources, but the small and local farmers are becoming more and more visible and available.

Reply

95 Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen February 2, 2011

I didn’t see that show – but wish I had. This post was great though.

Reply

96 Melissa February 2, 2011

I think this is a great recap of the episode. I think that they showed the packaged foods because many Americans/Canadians are probably super skeptical about eating nuts seeds and legumes, and they want to make their original foods just without meat and meat products. I believe that this is probably a good first step into the meat/animal free diet. If a person truly wants to convert, I believe they will look further into the cookbooks and theory behind a vegan diet. I’m not completely vegan or vegetarian, but I’m trying because I’m such an animal lover. I’d like to know more about how the animal products such a cheese, yogurt, and other such things are harmful the animals. The slaughter is one thing, but what about dairy farms, or egg farms??? What’s up with these?? Do you know??

Reply

97 Alaina February 2, 2011

I didn’t see the show but your review is definitely eye opening. That’s a shame that at Whole Foods, they relied on processed vegan foods. I used to think that weight loss through Weight Watcher’s products was healthy, but I know better now!

I think Jill in the show spoke at my graduation; we went to the same college. :-)

Reply

98 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 2, 2011

I really wish I hadn’t been at work so I could have caught this episode!!! I am hoping to find it online at some point as I think it’s great that someone as influential as Oprah is bringing the issue to the public eye.

Reply

99 Justeen @ Blissful Baking February 2, 2011

Thanks for your review of the show! I don’t usually watch Oprah, but I do like hearing about people’s motivations to start eating vegan diets.

Reply

100 saffity February 2, 2011

I don’t think I’ll ever go vegan or vegetarian, but when I do eat meat I am very concious about where I buy it from. We get our meat from a local butcher, and the process they go through is very different from the larger companies. We’re looking into finding organic farms to purchase from, so that when we do buy meat it isn’t just corn fed.

Now, even though I wouldn’t go completely Veggie or Vegan, I have cut back my meat intake by a lot. I eat a lot more grains and beans right now and I’m working on increasing my vegetable and fruit intake.

Your site has really been an inspiration to take control of my eating and to eat better. It’s also shown that I can eat healthy without spending a ton of money. However, I can’t get all the cool stuff you have in your kitchen, it’s just a bit pricey for me.

I am addicted to curried chickpeas on toast though thanks to you :D

Reply

101 Ange @ Health & Swellbeing February 2, 2011

Ange – I agree 100% with your synopsis of the show. I was disappointed that Kathy didn’t speak of all of the natural protein sources…a diet filled with processed foods is not helping anyone. With her having a new book coming out, I suspect that she felt it would be benefit her to align herself with companies like Gardein & Daiya as that will get her more publicity.
The show was great in promoting a more conscious way of eating.

Reply

102 Anna February 2, 2011

I don’t eat much meat, maybe 2-3 times per month, I am low in iron and I need it. I was a vegetarian before and I was alway extremly low in iron and I could not fulfill my daily requirements with diet although I really tried and as we all know the body absorbs iron from an animal source way better than from an vegetarian source, so why make it hard when you can have it easy too. I would not eat a vegan diet because I believe a diet where you HAVE to take supplements in order to avoid a certain deficiency is not a healthy one. I don’t drink cow-milk, or eat yoghurt, because I think it is very unnatural and the milk-industry is just cruel, but I will have my cheese from time to time. In my opinon it is all about the balance, when people would eat in general less meat, like 1 time per week and be more concious about it, the world would be a better place, the same goes with the milk-consumption, there are people who drink nearly a litre every day, this is just crazy. I don’t think you have to be a vegan to make a difference, and I don’t think this is the best way of eating, it is extreme to me, as it is also extreme to eat dairy and meat on a daily basis.

Reply

103 veganteen11 February 2, 2011

Anna, i understand your iron-deficiency. I am a vegan, and at first i had iron issues. My running coach showed me this awesome way to get your iron everyday;

take 1 iron pill along with a vitamin C pill, once or twice a day. You can get these at a health food store, or a drug store. The iron pill should ONLY be iron, no other daily vitamins. The Vitamin C pill will help aid the iron into getting into your blood stream. Some chemical in vitamin C helps bring iron into red blood cells, and to keep it there.
The other thing to know when taking iron pills is to not eat Calcium within 1-2 hours of taking your iron pill. Calcium blocks your body from absorbing the iron.

i know you said you dont like taking supplements, but i thought i’d give you a little hint
:)

Reply

104 jenna February 2, 2011

this is why i love your site and your out look so much. I was always so confused that people switched to vegan to be ‘healthier’…yet all they were consuming is fake over processed meats and cheeses and consuming a butt load of soy products. It did not make any sense what so ever. I’m not vegan. I strongly feel some people need animal meat to function correctly and some people don’t. But I also think we need to take pride in our food and know where it comes from and understand how greedy and disgusting feed lots and slaughter houses are!

Reply

105 Jen @ keepitsimplefoods February 2, 2011

I like the idea of going vegan for a week (I’m currently a vegetarian) but I feel that eating processed soy and meat substitutes defeats the purpose. So, that was a disappointing aspect of the Oprah challenge.

Reply

106 Heather @ Side of Sneakers February 2, 2011

I loved that they experimented with this and put they different views and opinions out there (vegan, conscious meat-eater, etc.) but I really , really , really think they missed the opportunity to explain the benefits of a vegan diet, and what it INCLUDES- not just what you can’t have. It was crushing to see them fill that cart with all kinds of fake products without talking about all the natural meat-less options.

Reply

107 Maureen PLuthero February 2, 2011

Unfortunately I think the show was slanted more on the transition to the vegan diet in a way that made it look like you are not giving anything up, see you can have fake meat. When I changed to a Vegan diet I avoided the fake meat as I wondered what do they use to make it taste the way it does. This year I am determined to stay away from all processed food in a bid to eat even healthier. I really wished that they had shown a daily food plan so that people would get a better idea of how a balanced vegan diet should be. The slaughterhouse was also disturbing seeing the cattle lined up to die does not seem humane to me. I do believe however that people should be allowed to make their own decisions and a Vegan diet is not for everyone. In talking about the food I feel the same dissappointment when Ellen has her chef on her show as every recipe so far has used the fake meat. This makes me wonder why if you are giving up meat would you try to replace it with a fake substitute instead of eating the large variety of foods available. This is what I realized when I became Vegan, I now eat such a large variety of great tasting foods more than I even new existed.

Reply

108 Patrick February 2, 2011

So… Oprah did a great job (as usual) with the Vegan Challenge. And this review is a great one. It’s a shame they only showed the “Mercedes” of cow killing plants… when most are Yugos at best. And – they didn’t address the fact that the US FDA specifically ALLOWS “no more than 5 percent of the animals can be conscious when skin is being removed or processed.” I have been to a facility where it is ANYTHING but quiet. It’s horrific. I’ve been vegetarian for years, vegan for 2, and I feel very strongly about my decisions.

Reply

109 Tatomme Flanagan February 2, 2011

I didn’t know that this was going to be the focus when I turned on Oprah yesterday. But boy was I ever pleased…I loved that Oprah’s team took on the vegan challenge for a week as it is much easier to just say “no.” Seeing a few of the people who did it really proved that it’s possible for anyone to follow the diet if it is done right! However, I also really liked that she brought up the otherside as many viewers would have felt like they were being preached too (something I try not to do as choice is the most important and both diets can be done healthily!)

Factory farming. Even though it is so hard to watch, it’s definately something that needs to be seen by everyone as so many people are ignorant to what they’re consuming…

Great episode.

Even better blog, Angela. I made so many of your recipes at Christmas for my family and I think they died and went to heaven. I even introduced some vegan replacements (flax eggs) to my mom’s baker friend who was utterly shocked, but impressed.

Reply

110 Cait February 2, 2011

Great recap! I also watched and although not a vegetarian/vegan myself, I was horrified and almost cried looking at the cows that were getting ready to walk to their death. It made me aware of what I eat and perhaps reduce the meat intake that I do, which I thought was of great advice! Thanks for sharing!

Reply

111 [email protected] Sweet Life February 2, 2011

so sorry i missed it but i think the best point is that we are not yet aware enough of where our food comes from and what it might be doing to our bodies. thanks for the great recap!

Reply

112 Kristin February 2, 2011

I caught the end of the show yesterday and I immediately thought of you! I am not a vegan but because of your blog I’ve learned to eat a lot more meat free “real food” meals. I was also dissapointed to see the emphasis on “fake” vegan food. Very interesting show though!

Reply

113 Raychel February 2, 2011

I am an intern at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and work on the Meatless Monday product very often. So yes, I definitely participate! I think it’s a great way to introduce the average Westerner to a meat-free lifestyle.

That being said, I was very disappointed with the approach to introducing Oprah’s workers to a vegan lifestyle. LIke you said- EVERYTHING WAS PROCESSED! That is no healthy way to live, and it is especially ridiculous to me to market the vegan diet as healthy and then give them all of these very unhealthy foods! That really frustrated me!

Reply

114 Kathi February 2, 2011

Angela,

Thank you so much for posting about this. I DVR’d the show and watched yesterday as I sat in my home in the middle of a huge snow storm. Being a new vegan i found it interesting. When I saw the clip on the cows I cried it touched me to the core of my being and I knew right then and there that I was doing the right thing by eating a vegan diet. I have no idea how someone could witness a slaughter of an animal and then be ok eating it. I just can’t but that it me and I try REALLY hard not to judge others decisions but when I feel so strongly about it, it is difficult.
I guess the hard part for me to accept is that we dont’ NEED meat to survive and live a happy fullfilling life. Where is it written that we need it? I wish they would have gone more into the effects of how raising the cows effect our environment and the ozone.
I have heard very little about Kathy the author but I am interested in reading her book. Have you read it? I may just have to order that from amazon today. I think the best thing we can do is continue to educate others about the vegan lifestyle. I believe your blog and many others in the blog world are doing great things by showing us how satisfying a vegan life style can really be. I will continue to spread the word as well.

Reply

115 Katie B February 2, 2011

Hi Everyone,

I have been reading your blog, Angela, for a while now. First and foremost, I must say I heart your recipes! I have been a vegan for 2.5 years now and the meals that I was preparing began getting slightly monotonous. I have used several of your recipes and I love them!!!! And I am now a total Green Monster monster! I recommend it to people daily!

To the post at hand, I didn’t see the show so I am glad you posted a recap. I really do not want to comment regarding the rights or wrongs of eating meat and animal producs as I do really feel that it is a personal choice. The only thing that I will say is the you and your readers (both pro vegan and pro meat) MUST read these two books:
1. Barbara Kingsolver – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle — this book is a personal account of Barbara comming in touch with the food we eat everyday. Her family moved to a farm and vowed to eat only the food that was grown on their farm and the farms of their community. It really gets to the core of how detached we are from our food and how most people have no clue what food actually is, where it comes from, and how it gets to our fridge and our bellies (most people don’t know that potatoes grow under ground!).
and
2. Jonathan Safran Foer – Eating Animals — again a personal account of a man (and amazing writer) deciding what “eating” path he should choose. This book is great because it tells the story of food from every angle – the local farmer, the big farmer, the vegan, and the activist. Most importantly though, this book centers on food as part of our daily traditions. This book made me cry at certain points because it is filled with vivid images of animal life and slaughter. It also made me think about our culture and our traditions.

Also, if anyone needs any convincing that being a vegan is the way to be healthy and live longer with less health problems, PLEASE read T. Colin Campbell (and others) – The China Study — slightly scientific, but it demostrates, using real studies and numbers, the effect of Western diet versus the effect of a vegan diet on one homogenous population, the Chinese people. If you ever wanted scientific proof, its in this book!

Keep up the amazing work, Angela! Love reading your blog!

~Katie

Reply

116 Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun!) February 2, 2011

This is a great post. I wanted to see that episode but I was at work and failed to DVR it, so I appreciate the summary. I love Michael Pollan’s books, and I love seeing the delicious vegan recipes on blogs like this, Choosing Raw and Peas and Thank You. While I am an omnivore, since starting to read these blogs (yours, Gena’s and Mama Pea’s), I definitely eat a LOT less meat, focusing more on making veggies, legumes, grains and fruit the centerpieces of my meals. I have to say, with all of the delicious recipes and options, I would not find it at all hard to go Pescatarian. I would not want to go vegetarian or vegan, though, because I would honestly definitely miss fish.

Reply

117 Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty February 2, 2011

Morning! :)
I really enjoyed (if you can say that) the show, I found in both interesting/disturbing. I cried through the cow process, as it’s so hard to connect that to what people eat.
I can associate with the word veganish. I eat egg whites, and occasionally fish/shellfish, but I am 100% off of read meat and pork, mostly because it doesn’t make me feel good.

Anyways, I was disappointed with all the packages in her cart too… maybe you should become the “Veganist” instead!! :) But I guess the bottom line is it’s the beginning of the change for them? Maybe they needed those things for themselves to transition?

Anyways have a great day today!

Jess

Reply

118 bree marsh @ deliciously dense February 2, 2011

i am so mad i missed that and forgot to DVR it! i am definitely doing a veganish diet! i think i could do without chicken for the rest of my life! i actually wrote a blog about meat consumption about a year ago…
http://www.deliciouslydense.com/index/very-important-reasons-to-increase-you-plant-foods-and-decrease-your-meat-

Reply

119 Amy @ purewellnessamy February 2, 2011

I didn’t see the show, but I’m thrilled when any media outlet encourages people to THINK about what they are putting into their bodies. Whether one is vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, one should care about the QUALITY of the food they are eating and question how it ended up on the plate in front of them. Too many people have “ostrich syndrome,” and stick their heads in the sand when it comes to thinking about the origin of their food. It is too bad that Kathy pointed them in the direction of fake food, though.

Anyway, I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian (but I never call myself that! I just say I don’t care for meat), and I recently took part in a 21-day vegan kickstart (for health reasons). The kickstart reinvigorated my commitment to eating as cleanly as possible and I’ve decided that I’m going to limit/exclude cow’s dairy from my diet. I will eat the occasional organic egg and I’ll choose goat or sheep’s milk cheese when the need for cheese arises! The greatest thing about the kickstart for me is that I’ve started juicing again. Juicing is wonderful! Oh, and I’m eating probably twice the amount of vegetables I was eating before the kickstart. All in all, it was a beneficial 21 days!

Reply

120 Kirsten February 2, 2011

Thanks for the update. I was unable to watch yesterday’s show, but hoping to find it online. I did head to her website and saw some details about the show. Like you I was surprised that there was a focus on the more processed vegan approach. I took a look at the sample meal plan/grocery list they provided for the challenge and there was a lot of prepackaged stuff.

Reply

121 amanda February 2, 2011

I didn’t see the show so I can’t comment, except to say that I think you’re right – being vegan shouldn’t be considered a weight loss gimmick because it’s just as easy to eat poorly as a vegan as it is as a non-vegan. The reality is that many people out there just don’t understand food period, and not just animal products. Even nutritionists. A nutritionist in a hospital here had my mom eating jello – and what is nutritious about that stuff?

What was your reason for becoming vegan, rather then just vegetarian?

Reply

122 Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life February 2, 2011

I saw she was doing a show on being vegan. I’m not a vegan, but I applaud her for what she is doing and raising awareness for both a plant based diet and also awareness about our food industry especially the treatment on animals. Thanks for brining attention to this!

Reply

123 Beth @ DiningAndDishing February 2, 2011

I’m not vegan myself but I totally agree with you on the way to approach a vegan diet. Whole foods are healthy foods – eating processed, meat-free products is certainly not a healthy approach to what should be a very healthy way of eating! It was disappointing to see the shopping trip on Oprah.

Reply

124 Vanessa February 2, 2011

I watched the show, and I am pretty much on the same boat as you – glad they took the time to give veganism the spotlight, but wished they would’ve focused more whole food options as well as the “norm” of slaughterhouses. Even though the one they showed was supposed to be humane, it still made me ill to watch.

Reply

125 Marit February 2, 2011

I live in Norway where farming and animal welfare laws are the strictest in the entire world.
Due to packaging laws, i as a consumer can track any piece of produce from beef to eggs or potatoes, back thru the production line via all the different points, right back to the farmer. and i can phone the farmer and ask him about the specific pig, chicken or potatoplant that the product in my hand came from.

I have friends who work at a local slaughterhouse. They tell me it is grueling but done with as little suffering on the animals part as possible. There is a vet on site to advocate the animals and make sure there is very little suffering or wrong-shots. The bolts has an electrical charge that goes off with the bolt to ensure immediate death and in the “holding area” the animals are fed hay, fresh leaves and other comfort food.
I’m not justifying all kinds of wholesale slaughter-factories here… just telling you it’s not all evil! Some places aim for the animals to “go in peace” as it were.
In Norway, cattle and sheep are principally grazed in woods and forests for most part of the non-winter moths.
My parents have a cabin in the woods, 10 miles from any kind of civilization and in summer we are often woken up by “wild” sheep outside our door.
The animals reared in Norway are reared to feed us, i have no illusions otherwise, but they live full, healthy lives with lots of fresh feed and sunshine. in winter they are fed hay and prepared silage which is tested by vets for acid, bacteria, fungus and such.
there are exceptions of course but farmers who malnourish or mistreat their animals risk loosing their license to farm!
Yes it is kinda unfair of us to rear animals for food, but i am fortunate enough to live in a society where animal welfare is so high that, although it doesn’t fully justify my claim on their lives, it does not give me a guilty feeling either.
Farming has always been brutal but we no longer hunt with spears running the risk of an injured animal running to it’s painful death for days with a injurious but not instantly lethal wound. By strict veterinarian control and laws ensuring both a happy life and a painless (as much as possible) death, I believe ethical farming IS possible.

I am an omnivore. I can not be vegan. my body craves vitamin B and animal protein. and as i have allergies which reduce my vegetarian sources, even my doctor reccomended my staying omnivore. Besides I would miss some of my favourite dishes too much without some meat in my diet, but i believe ecological and ethical farming is the way foreward rather than getting rid of it altogether.
If all the people in the western world could consider a “meatless monday” or some such it WOULD reduce the amount of meat we do consume.
Trouble is that to achieve this we’d have to increase prices of meat and reduce prices on vegetables… which we all know would entice some into producing more meat for financial gain and thereby forcing a lower price by sheer over-production…
Capitalism is a HUGE power and as long as the meat industry is responsible for the second largest economy in the world (second to oil) there needs to be a massive power at work to change it.

Another thing is that there are differences between larger animals and poultry. in Poultry “factories” there is no mercy and so i do not eat chicken any more.
add to that the antibiotics and hormones in a lot of meat and you do have good reasons to eat less of it…

altogether, I have already reduced my meat-consumption by three quarters so far this year. I also by habit detox a minimum of three times pr year and live vegan, non sugar, non fat, non caffeine for up to two weeks. But i have no personal desire to go all out vegan…

I’m not justifying slaughter methods. i believe that if meat farming is to be sustainable and right, it needs to have a revolution. Something must be done to improve the animals lives, welfare and health. There needs to be an awakening in people’s diet habits and an awareness of what the body needs.
At the same time there needs to be a strict control of vegetable production too to prevent GM, pesticides and other things that are not just bad for us, but for our entire planet. There is no good in turning the world vegan if the environment will be drowned in long-journey, and chemically altered foods that by association will destroy everything else around us…
as long as people worship money it will be a bit like swimming uphill….
Again it’s the capital powers at work. I don’t trust any high yield production methods to be ethical…
Unfortunatelly we don’t live in a Disney-movie…

I admire everything you do, Angela, i really do. And i am sorry if this upsets you.

Reply

126 Nim February 2, 2011

I really like your comments. It makes me happy that some part of the world has such strict standards for animal husbandry. I hope it spreads throughout the rest of the world. :)

Reply

127 Emily February 2, 2011

I was on the phone with my mom yesterday and she was telling me about it. I was bummed not to be able to see it so thank you SO much for the recap!!

Reply

128 [email protected] February 2, 2011

Thanks for the recap! I thought it was a repeat episode of the one she did with Michael Pollan several months ago. I don’t have a tv so it was interesting to hear about it, and I completely agree with you about the processed vegan products.

Reply

129 Paige @Running Around Normal February 2, 2011

Ugh, I thought I was going to be sick during the cow slaughtering part. But I think it’s awesome the whole staff went vegan for a week. Think of the difference they made just during that one week, if nothing else!

Reply

130 Tiffany L February 2, 2011

Thanks for your review of the show. I felt the same way–emotional with the cows and disappointment with the food being suggested by the vegan guest. Because of the amount and over dependency on the meat substitutes on the show, I emailed and commented on Oprah’s show website and found that I was not alone in my disappointment. Let’s hope they’ll do a follow up show on how to eat meat and dairy free without the over dependence on the substitutes. Honestly, how much did that producer spend on the shopping cart full of fake stuff?

Reply

131 Kate February 2, 2011

I didn’t see the show but heard a lot about it. I’m also disappointed that she pointed her to fake meat products. I’m a pescatarian (eat fish & dairy but not meat) and whenever people ask about the imitation meat products who are new to not eating meat, i always steer them away. I’m also a firm believer in eating “real” food.

I hope I can find a replay of this show somewhere, it sounds interesting!

Reply

132 Jennifer February 2, 2011

I watched clips of this episode, and I also was disappointed by how much fake foods (faux meat/dairy alternatives) were used. Even if you look at stuff like the vegan starter kit linked on the website, the shopping list and meal plan are extremely heavy with these foods. These foods are great for helping to transition but for the long term they wind up being so expensive, and they’re already super processed. I am glad the show brought to light some benefits to eating a vegan diet, but I honestly wish they had centered it more on a transition to a whole food vegan diet which delivers so many more benefits naturally.

As for Meatless Mondays, I’ve been trying to get my family to get on the bandwagon for quite some time, I am already a vegan, but they aren’t too easy on change haha. Baby steps, I guess. :)

Reply

133 sentimentsbydenise February 2, 2011

Thank you, Angela, for recapping the show on your blog. I wasn’t able to watch it because here in Central Indiana we’re having a major ice storm and the news stations pre-empted Oprah’s show for an hour long+ of continuous droning of the weather (which we already knew was bad!).
I have not gone full-on vegan, but over the past year I have transitioned into a mostly plant based diet. I’ve lost sixty pounds since I began this new way of eating and gained so much knowledge about nutrition, because as you mentioned, it has prompted me to go after information on ingredients and learn what I am eating on a daily basis.
I, too, shy away from all the processed vegan “meats”. They do not appeal to me and I find if I’m getting my daily requirements of whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits/vegetables (whole foods) – I’m getting all that I need for a healthy diet.
Thanks for sharing!

Reply

134 Lana February 2, 2011

What a great post! I feel like I just watched the episode. I whole heartedly agree with your opinions on the matter. They SHOULD have steered them away from the faux meat and processed products because that just reminds them of what they are trying to stay away from. Veganism is not an alternative for to a ‘better diet’, it IS the better diet. By giving them the processed stuff it taught them to ‘substitute’ what they could no longer eat, rather than to actually eat REAL food. If they had been taught to enjoy cooking and eat whole foods like quinoa and lentils, they would not only feel better, but they would expand their horizons. AND I know Whole Foods has some excellent non-processed vegan options.

I also like that they showed that people gained and lost weight on a vegan diet. I hate that people view the words vegan/vegetarian synonymous with diet/weight loss.

I’m a college student and vegetarian (90% vegan) and honestly get faux meets a couple times a year (mostly during finals, when I know my time is limited in the kitchen). But After reading this I’m inspired to not only illuminate the processed stuff, but go vegan for a week! Who knows it may last longer…:)

Have you watched Food, Inc. or The Future of Food. I think you might really enjoy them! Also, a movie called Knives Over Forks is coming out later in the spring…it’s suppose to be about how we can overcome western diseases by eating a plant-based diet. I know I’ll be first in line!

(I just realized that was a really long comment…)

Reply

135 Angela (Oh She Glows) February 2, 2011

Yes I watched Food Inc and it was really powerful (it even convinced Eric to reduce his own meat intake in a huge way!). I am really anxious to see Knives over Forks. I have a feeling it will have a huge impact.

Reply

136 sentimentsbydenise February 2, 2011

Just to clarify, it’s FORKS OVER KNIVES – the documentary coming out soon.

Reply

137 Kimberly @ Im Not Done February 2, 2011

I loved this episode! We try to stick to organic and grass fed, free range meat and dairy products, but I have always been intrigued about the idea of working some amount of veganism into my life. I pride myself in choosing animal products that appear to be humainly raised and processed, but Kathy’s point about not wanting an animal to loose it’s life to satisfy her appetite did make me think.

I’m trying to talk my husband into Meatless Mondays. We will see if I succeed!

Reply

138 Kaneil, The Ritts February 2, 2011

Hi Angela! I haven’t commented in a while, but have read since you started OSG …I used to write Balance is Best, and have since started a new blog. ANYWAYS….my point for commenting is that all through the show yesterday, I also noticed that all they focused on were the fake-meat products. I’m considering slowly stepping away from animal products, but cannot eat much soy due to my iron levels. I instantly thought to turn to your blog for healthy, natural, and delicious vegan meal ideas! :) Thanks for sharing!!

Kaneil

Reply

139 Angela (Oh She Glows) February 2, 2011

Hey Kaneil!! Missed ya :) I’m going to check out your new blog..congrats!

Reply

140 Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy February 2, 2011

I watched the episode yesterday with my husband and we discussed it afterward. I lean towards being a vegetarian (not vegan – at least not yet!) but am unsure how to do so since I’m married to a man who needs meat at every meal. I, on the other hand, can go a few days without eating meat without even meaning to. I’m in graduate school and we don’t have much money so it’s a definite issue money-wise trying to plan two different dinners (we eat lunch separately). Perhaps I’ll complete my own challenge and see what happens.

The other thing I didn’t like besides their buying loads of processed meats (which is funny since Kathy Freston specifically said that you should be staying away from processed vegan foods), is that they didn’t show how expensive all of that food from Whole Foods would end up costing over the cost of their normal grocery bill. As someone on an extremely tight budget, I sometimes can’t make the very best food choices because it’s out of my price range to do so.

Reply

141 Meredith February 2, 2011

Disclaimer: I missed the episode.

BUT I think we’ve got to remember Oprah’s “Where’s the beef?” controversy before we come down on her too hard for sounding wishy-washy. 15 years ago, Oprah promised never to eat another hamburger, beef-prices plunged and she got slammed with a huge lawsuit (that she won). Speaking out against disgusting slaughter-practices takes balls!

Reply

142 Heather February 2, 2011

I was really excited when I heard about the show, but I found it to be slightly disappointing. I just think they kind of side-stepped key fundamentals in vegan nutrition and healthy meat alternatives. In my opinion, along with groceries from whole foods, the staff should have gotten healthy vegan recipes, that way they would be getting a full idea of the creativity and perks of veganism.
I guess should be somewhat glad because if someone is totally unaware of their food origin and ingredients, it really does take baby steps to start a real sustainalbe change.

Reply

143 Dori February 2, 2011

Fantastic review. I agree with you on everything, and I am so glad Oprah brought these issues to a more public domain. People need to be educated on what they are putting into their bodies.

Reply

144 Ariel February 2, 2011

I appreciate that Oprah featured the vegan challenge on her show, and I think that taking a pro-education standpoint is beneficial to opening the hearts and minds of people who otherwise might not know about where our food is sourced and how animals are mistreated. Being vegan has opened my realm of consciousness regarding food. I am so much more aware of how to have fun with food and experiment with the abundant variety of tastes, colors, and textures of healthy foods. Awakening our souls, hearts, minds, and bodies to the realities of animal suffering, environmental and health concerns will undoubtedly expand the global acceptance and promotion of the vegan lifestyle. Cheers to Oprah!

Reply

145 Leah February 2, 2011

Just because you are not vegan, does not mean you are not conscious about where your food comes from.
Where does nutritional yeast, kamut, couscous, etc come from. What is the cost to the environment to ship it?

Reply

146 Morgan @ Life After Bagels February 2, 2011

I’m going to host a Vegan For A Week challenge next week!

Reply

147 Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner February 2, 2011

Why didn’t they show whole foods that are actually good for you, like beans, fruits, veggies?!?! I guess they were trying to show that if you go vegan, you can still eat the junk and not change your lifestyle too much. :/

Reply

148 lauren February 2, 2011

Right now I’m vegetarian, but I’ve been both vegan and a meat eater in the past 5 years. I go back and forth, depending on how my body feels and what I need. I think it’s great that Oprah is doing this — a LOT of people listen to her and value her opinion. If others do the challenge with her, hopefully they’ll make changes in their diet that are healthier than the ones they maintain. I believe that diets with meat can definitely be healthy — but the “typical” American diet isn’t so healthy…if it just brings a bit of consciousness into what one is consuming, it’s an improvement.

Reply

149 Kate February 2, 2011

I stopped eating red meat this year as a baby step in doing my part. This only affirms my decision and empowers me to stay true.

Reply

150 Coco February 2, 2011

I caught this episode and it was really fascinating.

I am not a vegan or a vegetarian. I eat meat. However, I try to buy locally and organically, and I try to avoid processed foods. If I want a cookie, I will make my own rather than buying a package of chips ahoy. I have many friends who are vegan/vegetarian and I respect their lifestyles. When I was living with a vegetarian, I barely ate meat. I also rarely eat red meat. I happen to love veggies and fruits and beans, so oftentimes I will go several days without meat and not even miss or realize it. I think it is good to be conscious of what we are putting into our bodies and where it comes from, and this episode could open people’s eyes.

I respect everyone’s choices when it comes to food. For me, however, I will never be a vegan or a vegetarian because of my eating disorder. I am in recovery, and I know that cutting out any food group completely would be dangerous for me. I know in my heart that I would use veganism as a way to restrict my intake. It would be a fantastic excuse. This is not to say that I cannot try to decrease my meat intake or be cognizant of where I purchase these items. However, I do not want to set “rules” for myself in which I am NEVER allowed to eat meat. It may work for some, for ethical reasons or otherwise, but it simply would not work for me.

I love your blog, though, and I really respect everything you do. In fact, I have made several of your vegan recipes and they are scrumptious! Keep it up. I also really respect the way you treat your body after eating disorder recovery. You are an inspiration and a source of hope for me.

Reply

151 Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf February 2, 2011

That sounds interesting! I myself am not a vegan or vegetarian since my body specifically requires more protein (and other nutrients that are typically paired with protein) than a typical vegan or vegetarian diet can provide, and with my direct family history of breast cancer, I try to limit my intake of soy products.

Though after watching Food Inc. about a year ago, my eating and grocery shopping habits have definitely changed. I now get the majority of my meat from a local rancher who never feeds his cattle grain or gives them any hormones. He always treats them with utmost respect “from conception to consumption,” as he puts it. If I get animal protein from a grocery store, I make sure it’s pastured/free range/grass-fed/wild and sometimes organic.

I’ve also limited my overall consumption of meat. It’s not abnormal for me to go several days in a week without eating meat. On days that I do eat meat, I typically only eat it during one meal. For my non-meat protein sources, I typically turn to a combination of nuts, seeds, beans, grains, eggs, dairy, and the very rare organic non-GMO “intentional” soy product (ie. tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk, etc. Nothing packaged to imitate a meat product). It’s actually taken quite a while to get through the meat supply I have in the freezer! I’ve only prepared one meat dish this week, and it was a pot of bean soup with a (locally raised) ham hock in it.

I respect those who choose a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. I know for me it’s not practical or appropriate for my own lifestyle and my body’s needs, but I do believe that people need to be aware of what they’re eating, the impact their grocery choices are making on the economy, their health, and the environment, and also be open and respectful to other schools of thought. I believe we can all learn from each other.

Reply

152 Sarah February 2, 2011

I used to be a vegan but realized I choose a vegan diet for unhealthy reasons (excuse to restrict, etc). I rarely eat meat now but I remember when I was vegan I had explain to a lot of people what I could and couldn’t eat. And I wasn’t offended or bothered. FYI Veganism is very new and different than the typical Western diet. Meat has (and probably will always be) the main “aspect” of a meal. I definitely believe that people should be educated on a variety of diets and how animals are slaughtered, etc. I also believe that people should be able to choose the dietary lifestyle that he/she believes benefits their health and lifestyle. I certainly do not want someone dictating what I can and can not eat therefore I refuse to do the same to other people.

But I’m glad that Oprah hosted a show about veganism as an opportunity to expose more people to a vegan diet. Though I do agree with other commentators that I wished she hadn’t focused on all the processed food. I rarely ever (or still do) eat tofu, tempeh, etc. Give me lentils and beans :)

Reply

153 Krystina (Crunchy Granola Girl) February 2, 2011

Actually, that Oprah episode is one of the things that catapulted me into Veganism again.

Reply

154 Heather February 2, 2011

I was able to catch the show yesterday, my mom had informed me that it would be an Oprah that I couldn’t afford to miss! I have been a dedicated vegetarian for eight years, dabbiling into a “Veganish” lifestyle often (cheese and me have a hard time breaking up…). Needless to say I was absoloutly impressed with the Vegan efforts of Oprah’s staff and furthermore impressed with Cargill Meat Soloutions. I often say to people that challenge my views, that if you can go home and watch “Death on a Factory Farm” and still be OK with eating meat, then thats your call. Like Kathy said yesterday, something about viewing those beautiul cows being reduced from cow to carcass simply does not sit right with my soul. However I thought that yesterdays show was an important conversation that needs to be had more often amongst society. Clearly we are all not going to wake up enlightened one day and embark on a plant based diet, i dream of this, but it is simply not reality. But what we can do is encourage people to be mindful of where there food is coming from, the process in which these animals endure, cruel killing or humane killing, its all murder. I feel an appreciation towards cargill meats that they allowed cameras willingly inside their factory, I do agree that they have a better tactic than most, as they do not allow the cows to know when they are being killed. However i still felt very uncomfortable about seeing the cows closly jammed together, and eating pure corn (this is horrible for their stomachs, but definitly makes them fat). Meat is literally dead animal on a plate, there is no getting way from that, and some will continue on for years, lifetimes being OK with that, I think it is important to remember that animal protein is not the only protein source or for that matter the most digestable. With sites like OSG, t.v segments like we saw yesterday, we have the ability to be aware and create awareness and we should. Everyone like oprah said is encouraged to make their own choice for their own body, food is integral to the circle of life, as we continue as a world to grow & change, we need to think about where our food comes from, and most importantly how it makes our bodies (life vessels) feel. Thanks Angela for posting about this show, It interested me alot evidently, I appreciate your efforts on this website everyday, I view it every morning without a doubt and it acts as a constant reminder to me to remain passionate about food and to dilligently continue an animal free lifestyle.

Reply

155 Caitlin February 2, 2011

I watched it yesterday with my mom. We had a snow day off of work so watched it together. We are going to incorporate Meatless Monday into our weeks!

Reply

156 Jennifer and Jaclyn @ Sketch-Free Vegan February 2, 2011

I agree with Katie as well, it was so obvious toward the end of the show that they had to “defend” Cargill, probably because they would have a lawsuit on their hands if they didn’t.
There is ALOT of money in meat and there is so much more than meets the eye with these companies. The way they portrayed the slaughterhouse was completely inaccurate, acting as if they are just an innocent everyday food packaging company, just “doing their job,” providing a service to the American people. And yes meat packaging plants provide employment, but there is no way things are going to change if sacrifices aren’t made.
Meat packaging companies are just another piece of an unnecessary puzzle. The point is, is that we don’t NEED this much meat and people don’t NEED to eat meat everyday it’s simply not sustainable, case in point.

As well with the processed vegan food, that should be mostly for people who are transitioning and find veganism daunting, yes it can be scary, but hopefully people don’t think veganism only consists of tofurky and daiya….

Reply

157 Salina February 3, 2011

This is a good point. “there is no way things are going to change if sacrifices aren’t made.” I think it highlights the need for a change first to be made within ourselves.

As far as the employment part is concerned, i’m under the impression that organic farming provides a lot more work… And FAR better job satisfaction!

Reply

158 Alex @ Healing Beauty February 2, 2011

Growing up I was a vegetarian off and on (off because as a young child my parents cared more about me getting animal proteins than my ethical beliefs that eating animals is not right). When I was finally old enough to make my own decisions about food, I became a vegetarian and now after several years I am converting to veganism. My skin is glowing and my body just feels so much…I don’t know how to articulate it, but maybe fresher? I just feel like I am in harmony with nature and to me that is beautiful.

Reply

159 dana February 2, 2011

I will watch it tonight. I go meat free most of the time. and if I do eat meat it is humanly raised.
I stoped buying factory farm product over a year now after reading Eating aniamls by Jonathan Safron Foer.

Reply

160 Autumn Tao February 2, 2011

I watched it and teared up on the elliptical at the gym. I am vegan and believe so strongly in this gentle way of life. The slaughterhouse broke my heart, but once and a while I need to force myself to see the reality of the industry.

I was frustrated by Michael Pollan saying, towards the end of the show, that it’s ok to eat meat. HE thinks it’s ok to eat meat. I don’t think so, you don’t think so, Kathy doesn’t think so. I hate that he tries to justify it for all Americans. All you can speak for if youself. How can he not see that? Quite frankly, after reading some articles in the NY Times and such about him, I think he’s a pompous ass and his opinion means nothing to me.

I, too, loved that Kathy made the comment at the end about her soul and it not sitting well. I had been waiting for her say something profound about veganism. And though she leaned towards mock-meats, I think she was trying to gently move this family away from beef sausage and toward Tofurky sausage. The average American needs those meat analogues to make changes in their diet. They don’t go from meat pasta sauce to lentil pasta sauce in one fell swoop. You started with analogues, as did I, and I still enjoy them in moderation. It’s no wonder she went there. Baby steps!

I will miss Oprah because she goes there. Because of her influence. I hope her show yesterday impacted a lot of people.

Reply

161 Nim February 2, 2011

It makes me happy that Oprah tackled the topic, although I do get tired of the heavy reliance on processed foods.

This is a tricky topic for me. I would love nothing more than to be a vegan. Really. I toy with the idea several times a year. But my body won’t let me. Even being a vegetarian for me wasn’t doable. I need the iron and B vitamins to keep me healthy and strong and I can’t seem to get it from other sources. I also can’t really eat soy. I do tend to eat vegan a few times a week and vegetarian most of the rest of the time. However, a couple/few times per month I have to eat meat. I base it on what my body is telling me…if I crave a steak, I *know* I’m really low on something (I don’t naturally crave red meat). My compromise on this is to only buy free-range, organic meat (locally raised). But it still bothers me…I don’t know. I do the best I can, but it’s frustrating sometimes.

Oh and by the way, I love you blog. I’ve followed you from the beginning. :) Keep up the good work!

Reply

162 Kristen February 2, 2011

I actually watched Food, Inc. Monday night, so the Oprah show was a great follow-up! I am a pretty strict vegetarian who eats a mostly vegan diet – I really only eat cheese occasionally, and try to avoid other dairy products for the most part. I teared up watching Food, Inc., but I flat out cried watching them slaughter the cows. It was so hard for me to watch, just solidifying my choice to eat a meat-free diet.

I’ve never really liked the fake meat products and really only eat them for convenience, which is very rarely. The thing that bothered me the most was their emphasis on either being vegan or vegan-ish, which I took as still eating meat but not eating it as much. What happened to vegetarianism? It seemed very black and white to me, and I wish they would’ve focused on the gray area of not eating animal flesh. Vegan-ish to me means vegetarian, but that’s not how they were using the term. I guess it bothered me since I am a vegetarian, but I think it is something they should’ve mentioned. You don’t have to be vegan, but you can avoid eating animal flesh.

Reply

163 Emily February 2, 2011

It’s an interesting subject that has so many different sides to it… I am not a vegan, but I’m also not a huge fan of meat or even a lot of cheese and dairy… I do like yogurt though. I try to read the ingredients on my food, and the more natural our food is the better.
I’ve tried 4 of your vegan recipes, changing them a little because of my lack of some of the ingredients. They have all been delicious and I love the feeling of eating something that is so delicious but yet so healthy for you… :) Thanks Angela.
Emily

Reply

164 Lexie February 2, 2011

I was so irritated that Kelly went straight to the fake vegan products on that show and couldn’t mention other places in your diet to get protien other than tofu, seitan and tempeh. Um – hello Broccoli.

It reminds me how interpretative vegan food really is. A great example is when she tries to “veganize” meals. I think that’s missing the point. If you REALLY want a slice of pizza, you aren’t going to be satisfied with the replica. So, eat something else instead that actually tastes good.

It reminds me of a recent experience I had eating at a veg restaurant in Banff over the weekend called Nourish. They have ZERO meat replacements on their menu and their food was seriously amazing. It signalled to me that their chef actually wants to make food using real ingrediants and not processed substitutes. It was super exciting and I felt that eating experience didnt’ totally come through on Oprah.

Reply

165 Ashley February 2, 2011

That restaurant is AMAZING :)

Reply

166 Amber K February 2, 2011

I didn’t catch it, but I don’t eat meat. I actually feel a little guilty about my reason though. The main reason I don’t eat meat is because I absolutely can NOT stand the taste or texture of it. No red meat, no poultry, no seafood, YUCK!

The only animal product I eat is Greek yogurt because I have never found a good replacement for it and I don’t particularly think I’m doing anything “bad” by eating it. It really helps me get protein in, and has no soy or gluten in it which I can’t have!

Reply

167 Emily February 2, 2011

The show was set to be recorded, but because of the ice storm we’re having here, the local news cut into the whole thing! I’m bummed that I didn’t get to watch it, but I’m sure there will be a re-run of it soon.

Reply

168 Bree @ beeskneeslife February 2, 2011

Thanks for the summary. I wasn’t able to watch yesterday but hope I can catch some of the clips. I appreciate reading your thoughts because you have also helped me realize how attainable veganism can be!

I currently eat meat, but have definitely been more concious of my food decisions in the past few years since reading Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and watched Food Inc and other similar documentaries. I am glad Oprah tackled this topic since she has such a wide audience. If anything, I hope it makes people realize the impact their food decisions make.

Reply

169 Kasia February 2, 2011

I totally agree with you that Kathy should have shared a more of a healthier approach to veganism, and not go straight to the processed meat section. There is so much Sodium in the stuff! I recently just found your website and I love it. I currently try to eat vegeterian, but I also eat seafood, NO meat or poultry. I also am a runner, your recepies are delicious, I have made a few and they have all been a hit. Keep up the great blog!
Kasia (Chicago)

Reply

170 LauraJayne February 2, 2011

I’m not a consistent Oprah watcher, but I’m bummed that I missed this show. While I am not a vegan, there are days that I pretty much follow a vegan diet – I just do not like to use the label. Too often I hear about people who are vegan or vegetarian but still follow an unhealthy diet – just like it is possible to follow a very healthy meat-eating diet, it is very easy to follow an unhealthy vegetarian diet – and I think it is important that people realize that! I follow Meatless Monday every day, but my goal is to inspire my friends and family to do the same!

Great post!

Reply

171 Madisson February 2, 2011

I thought that it was really great that Oprah did this- but I too was really disappointed with the focus put on all the processed vegan “substitution” foods. The only substitute I use on a regular basis is other milks, and occasionally Earth Balance in baking. Every once in awhile I do cook with seitan or tofu or vegan cheese, but these things are definitely not staples; fruits, vegetables, and grains are. I wish that Kathy could have taken a broader, healthier look at vegan eating.

Reply

172 Emily @ One Sweet Vegan February 2, 2011

Great recap Angela! I just watched the DVRd episode this morning. I was so excited at the concept of this show, but felt pretty frustrated while watching it. I wish they had talked more about the health benefits of eating a plant based vegan diet. Kathy just barely touched on it and could have said a lot more. The health benefits were what really got my attention when I made the switch to eating vegan.
I wish Oprah would have a nutritarian show with Dr. Joel Fuhrman. The word needs to be spread about the nutrients in our food (or the lack thereof).
All in all, I was glad Oprah got people to be more mindful of what they eat. And she opened the doors of communication about a worthy topic.

Reply

173 Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' February 2, 2011

I recorded the show and watched it last night– I thought it was great that attention was brought to WHERE our meat comes from, and hopefully made some people more conscious about it! I totally cried when they showed those cows during the last meal of their lives, and I know that was definitely one of the more humane meat plants!

I, too, cringed when Kathy was pushing all those fake meat substitutes, but I went through that phase when I started a vegetarian lifestyle myself– I think it’s a good “transition” for people who really miss meat. But I definitely prefer eating REAL foods now!

I already follow a pretty “Vegan-ish” diet, as they called it yesterday, but I hope this inspired more people to at least start celebrating Meatless Mondays!!

Reply

174 AGS February 2, 2011

I don’t watch Oprah (or much TV, in general), so did not view this episode.

Oprah’s audience is among the broadest you will find. So to have her focus on the topic of veganism, means that many people are thinking about it — perhaps for the first time. You must first take a moment to consider food, in general, to take steps toward well-being. So that’s great.

I tend to believe that being vegan, or eating veg/vegan does not require a lot of extra processed/expensive products — in fact, it can cause your food bill to drop, if you simply are eating “lower on the food chain.” However, I think that you have to consider that Oprah’s broad audience may have found the notion of never eating anything resembling cheese/meat again such a giant leap, that they’d have written off veganism altogether. And for many folks, simply switching out some vegan options (earth balance for butter), can drastically cut the amount of saturated fat they are consuming — and it generally wouldn’t make sense to ignore that there are meat substitutes on the market.

Reply

175 Tiina McKay February 2, 2011

Thank you for the recap, I never watch Oprah but heard about this show and was interested. I’m 90% vegan but will never give up animal products entirely, there are WAY to many important reasons not to. I am all for better quality meat and better treatment of animals, and hope that change will come soon, but unfortunately, it will take a LONG time, if ever. And some people need meat more than others so becoming entirely free from animal products would literally kill some people. I highly recommend you look into the Blood Type Diets from Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo. Apart from my son, finding his book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. We all have different dietary needs. By the way, I have never commented on any of your posts before but visit your site EVERYDAY and LOVE so many of your recipes. And I love your positive energy! Thank you for inspiring many of us :)

Reply

176 Jen @ Canoe of Life February 2, 2011

I saw the show and thought overall it great! I’d say my biggest critique was related to Kathy Freston’s shopping trip with Jill because of all the packaged vegan products being pushed on the family. As a loyal reader of OSG I was thinking that they should have had you on the show to show that vegan foods can taste great without having to turn to faux meats or pre-packaged items. I really think that your recipes could inspire more people to consider more vegan choices.

Reply

177 Lori February 2, 2011

I have not read all the responses (too many). But, regarding Kathy Freston’s segment at Whole Foods, Oprah’s show obviously did the editiing which may have omitted what Kathy wanted included. For example, Kathy might have talked alot about other sources of protein (not the fake stuff) but the show, for whatever reason make a deicision to include the fake stuff. As viewers we never really get the whole picture only the edited version.

Also regarding Kathy’s comment “…it didn’t sit right with my soul.” I believe that some people are truly more sensitive than others. So, the killing of animals does really bother them when others are not so bothered. Sort of like some of us can be surgeons and others faint at the sight of blood. I’m trying to point out that were all are unique. No judgement is always a good mantra (of course, excluding things that are immoral or illegal).

Reply

178 [email protected] February 2, 2011

This is a great post, Angela. I didn’t watch, but I enjoyed reading about it. I would really like to eat more meatless meals, at least- so it was very interesting to me. I’m glad that they showed both sides to the story about gaining/losing weight, as well- that’s one of my pet peeves!

Reply

179 Ashley February 2, 2011

Hi Angela!

Awesome post. I unfortunately missed the show, but your recap (and ALL the comments it generated) was the most interesting read!
I have been vegetarian for more than 7 years and have just made the transition to 100% vegan this past month, and have never felt better :)

I think overall it was probably a positive topic to get people thinking, despite the promotion of “fake meats”. You gotta start somewhere, and meat replacements are probably less intimidating to the general public that is vegan interested, than completely overhauling their dietary patterns all at once. If they are serious about it, they will figure out whole grains, legumes and veggies are best and most delicious in their natural state!!

Reply

180 bitt of raw February 2, 2011

thanks for the recap. i really wish i hadn’t read some of the comments. i realize not everyone here is an ethical vegan. but it is hard for me to keep reading about women who say they can’t be vegans for health reasons. i really wish someone like you who is really healthy and happy on a vegan diet would get some bloodwork and prove that iron levels and so forth can be fine on a vegan diet.

Reply

181 Lindsey Deon February 2, 2011

I was very happy that Oprah had the show on going Vegan for a week. The only part that I was not happy with is that it gave the impression that slaughterhouses were compassionate places. I know in Vermont Bushway Slaugherhouse was closed down by an HSUS undercover agent
for skinning a veal calf alive and electrocuting veal calves that were too scared to get up. I hope the show will help educate people and make the world a more compassionate place.

Reply

182 Vicky @ eat live spin February 2, 2011

I was actually really surprised that Kathy went straight for the fake meats… as a vegetarian I am glad not to eat meat textures anymore… I have never tried nor do I intend to try fake meats. As an animal lover it is hard for me to understand how anyone could eat meat from a large factory after seeing the clips from Oprah (for Food Inc.). I am disappointed that Oprah seemed against being Vegan, it was like she was scared to take sides or state her real opinion. As for being a vegan, I am going to try. But I feel like I may buy animal products from the farmers markets.

Reply

183 Andrea R. February 2, 2011

I think your assessment is DEAD ON! I watched the show and agreed that it was presented fair, but was also slightly astonished when Kathy was showing the family all the fake products. I was vegetarian for YEARS and RARELY ate the fake products because I hated the taste! That was like 10 years ago, but still. I was able to load up on fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, dairy (no vegan for me haha) and tofu and I could stay clear of the fake stuff. All in all I thought it was one of the best Oprah shows I’ve ever seen (and I got to see a show in person last year! haha)

Reply

184 Becca @Healthy Happy Nurse February 2, 2011

Angela,
I did see the episode and I couldn’t agree with you more about Kathy’s comment that it “didn’t sit right with my soul”. As soon as my fiance saw the preview about the slaughterhouse, he questioned me if I REALLY wanted to watch, but I definitely did, because I think that you definitely need to know where your food comes from. I had my doubts about veganism prior to discovering your wonderful website, but with your assistance and after actually SEEING the “humane” slaughterhouse on Oprah, I know that I definitely can. I have developed such a love for cooking, mostly thanks to you! Even my fiance (who has jokingly dubbed himself a “meatitarian”) has willingly agreed to try a week as a vegan with me, especially after I have made him so many of your recipes that he absolutely loves. Thank you Angela for bringing such awareness and opening my eyes, and so many others, to veganism and the true purpose and benefits to it.
xo
Becca

Reply

185 Angela (Oh She Glows) February 2, 2011

Thanks for your comment Becca! :)

Reply

186 [email protected] February 2, 2011

I am so glad that Oprah – with her gazillion viewers – is bringing attention so such an important issue. I think for some people, it requires baby steps – like Meatless Mondays. And that is fine, but I think everyone needs to do something – even if it starts with buying meats from a small local farmer. And I love Michael Pollan.
The fake meat thing is a whole other controversy in itself. I do like Yves Sun Dried Tomato veggie sausage, but it contains organic tofu, and no soy byproducts, so I feel comfortable with eating them.
Anyway, great post, kudos to Oprah for putting it out there.

Reply

187 [email protected]chick February 2, 2011

I didn’t get to see it, but thanks for the recap :)

Reply

188 Kelly- Shiny Happy Vegan February 2, 2011

Hi Angela! I think this is the first time I’ve commented on your blog. It was nice to read your review of the show. I did one as well, although I think my reaction to it was a little less positive than yours. I am glad that Oprah devoted a show to the topic of being vegan, I just don’t think there was enough time to really explain it the way it in the way that it should have been. I too, really connected to Freston’s comment about it just not sitting right with her soul but got angry with Oprah’s follow-up comment that the animals weren’t made to suffer!

Reply

189 Pure2raw twins February 2, 2011

I did not catch Oprah, but have heard a lot about it. I agree with you, vegan foods does not always mean fake, replacement stuff. Well I guess at least vegan diet is getting attention, hopefully will become more positive in the views of others.

Reply

190 Kath February 2, 2011

I was really disappointed that Kathy showed all of those processed fake meats too. I was like “Where’s the real food!?”

And Michael Pollan is my hero :)

Reply

191 Andrew Lowry February 2, 2011

Thanks for the post. I enjoyed that. It is good to read that Oprah treated it as education rather than promotion of a particular POV. I agree with avoiding faux vegan products. There are so many wonderful foods for vegetarian or vegans without imitating meat dishes. Again thanks.

Reply

192 Tracy @ Commit To Fit February 2, 2011

I didn’t see the show, but checked out the recap online and will be participating in the Vegan Challenge hosted by Morgan at Life After Bagels. I think it will be a great experiment. To be more mindful of how and what we eat is a great lesson, whether you are vegan or not. I am looking forward to sharing my progress!

Reply

193 Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) February 3, 2011

I am really sad I missed this show – I am going to try to find it on-line.

Reply

194 Zestful Lou February 3, 2011

I watched it and loved it! I am going to start Meatless Monday and I’m going to go vegan for Lent and my boyfriend is going to go vegetarian (a big deal for him!) I’m not catholic, but it’s been something that’s been on my heart the past few months and it’s time to just give it a go.

Reply

195 Salina February 3, 2011

Wow, this is really interesting! When my Grandmother was a young girl, the town where she lived had an abbotoir (Australian for slaughterhouse). She said that the men whose job it was to kill the animals (they did it by hand back then, not sure about now…) all went a little funny in the head.. Not crazy exactly, but a little.. off. I am proud of Australia though, after watching FOOD INC, I don’t think I can bring myself to eat a piece of american produce, but we do treat our animals a lot more humanely.

Reply

196 Misty February 3, 2011

I did watch the show and thought it was okay. A couple tings are bothering me though. I myself am a vegetarian and although I tend to lead to veganism I don’t call myself a vegan because I don’t think I have the right. Simply put I have so much respect for the true vegans who avoid all animals’ products 100%. I myself know I’m not in a place at the moment to be able to do this. I know I may go out to dinner and have a slice of bread with my meal which may have egg in it, etc., etc. Therefore even if I cut out all the eggs and cheese at home (I already drink soy or rice milk and love it) I couldn’t always avoid them in public: I live in Muskoka and the option of eating at raw or vegan or even vegetarian places is very limited.

The number one thing that bothered me about this show and in general is that everyone assumes your some kind of radical Peta supporter who stopped waiting meat because you don’t want to be a part of the death of an animal. Although this is one of my reason for sure (after researching farm factories – which everyone should do!), it wasn’t my first reason. My first reason was for the sake of my own health. Since 12 years old I have had high cholesterol, after going veggie I no longer had that issue. (And I was not an obese child at all!) Yes, I lost weight but that was because going veggie sent me into the whole of health foods!! Of eating better and staying away from packaged dressed up (“only 100 cals!”) junk food. This also wasn’t the easiest decision because frankly, I loved meat, but after starting to read books like “Skinny Bitch” and “Eating Animals” or watch documentaries like “Food Inc.” I was disgusted by not only what is being to these animals, BUT what is being done to our own bodies. Heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol are all on the rise in North America. Not to mention the effects of these farms and grain fed cows are having on our environment. It’s shocking. It bothered me that the Oprah show didn’t highlight these facts enough. Nor did they really go into the fact that you don’t know sitting at a restaurant eating your burger if that beef came from that one “humane” slaughterhouse or not.
I think what’s also important to mention is that although my boyfriend isn’t a vegetarian he eats veggie with my 3/4 of the time. He’s open to this. However, he’s a hunter and fisher. And I don’t have any problems with this because I know how much respect he has for animals and how he gives thanks and how he himself (weather permitting) cleans and butchers the animal himself. I know this animal truly did live a wild life beforehand and wasn’t breed and force fed. So in my world even a hunter and a vegetarian can live together peacefully and happily. With mutual love and respect.
Also I agree with Angela and the other who said it’s a shame the focused so much on processed foods and, although great, one of the most expensive grocery stores (also not available until I drive 2 hours south from where I am)
One last thing. Nothing irks me more when some so called “vegans” or “vegetarians” claim to have had to go back to eating meat and because they were not getting enough iron or protein. Just means to me you were being lazy, there is no reason why someone shouldn’t be able to sustain on a true blue healthy veggie or vegan diet.
Much love and respect. Thanks Angela as always!

Reply

197 Kris February 3, 2011

I recorded this episode and just watched it last night. It is definitely a real eye opener for so many people. Although I eat meat, I am much more educated on my selections now than I was even a year ago.

I love that Oprah puts these kind of shows out there. The exposure she gets is second to none and I am sure this episode has changed so many people’s views on their diet. A lot of people may not go vegan, but may reduce their meat intake after seeing this and be more mindful about what they select to eat which I think is a wonderful step in the right direction.

Reply

198 Lauri (RedHeadrecipes.com) February 3, 2011

Hello!

I really enjoyed reading your review of the show! I thought the show made a lot of good points and I actually agree 100% with a lot of what Michael Pollan had to say. If you are interested, you can read my review here–> http://redheadrecipes.com/?p=10911

Thanks!!

Reply

199 [email protected] February 4, 2011

We had an ice storm here in Indy and they did 24 hour news coverage of the ice and didn’t show Oprah…of all days! I am hoping she replays it!

Reply

200 Tracey February 4, 2011

I watched the Oprah episode and I couldn’t agree with you more. I think it’s great that she chose to take a stance of just creating awareness about where our food comes from. I also agree that the focus of going vegan shouldn’t have been on buying every processed, fake meat alternative. I would have liked to see them focus on whole food, healthy options. During the transition phase it is normal for people to turn to meat alternatives, but people should know that there is a whole plethora of real food options to be eaten that are even more delicious and create healthier, more nutritious meals. Thanks for doing the recap!

Reply

201 Bess @ I Dream of Greenie February 5, 2011

While I share your frustration over the overly processed “junk” foods shown at the Whole Foods trip, I have to respectfully disagree with this statement of yours: “it is just as easy to eat unhealthy on a vegan diet as it is a non-vegan diet!”

Do I agree that us vegans sometimes make use of the readily available products that are veganized versions of nutrient light foods? Yes. But does that form the crux of most vegans’ diets? No.

I have repeatedly shared meals with a high number of vegans and can count on less than 2 hands (probably even 1) the number of them who rely solely on foods similar to those pictured on the Oprah episode.

Rather, whole grains, legumes, vegetable based soups, fresh produce and healthy fats (nuts, avocado, flax, grapeseed oil, etc) generally form the crux of the diets of most vegans I know.

To be clear, my qualm is definitely directed more at Oprah for implying that the vegan diet is generally cruelty free versions of conventional junk food. But I just wanted to illustrate that not all vegans make use of the unhealthy eats around the clock.

Reply

202 Dan M. February 8, 2011

I love being vegan! I’m a marathon runner and weightlifter and it’s really been great with it. I feel better, and can still enjoy the sports I love.

Plus, it’s better for the animals! Go here to find out why: meatvideo.com

Reply

203 Marcy February 18, 2011

Great article. I just ate vegan for a week and really liked it. It will have an impact on my regular diet. I loved what you said about all the fake meat products. I didn’t see the Oprah episode, but my friend who suggested the challenge to me decided to go vegetarian for the week because veganism looked so expensive and radical from the episode. I found it to be very affordable–not much is cheaper than beans and grains, but the extra fresh produce was pricey. I wrote about me week here: http://tootimidandsqueamish.blogspot.com/2011/02/vegan-for-week-part-one.html

Reply

204 Scott February 10, 2016

Thanks for this post. This Oprah episode connected with my wife (even though I have pushed her to be vegan for some time) more so than any other veg facts I have shown her. I highly recommend checking this out via YouTube. Go team Veg!

Reply

205 Toya Good June 22, 2016

I agree with you Angela its okay to start off eating vegan processed foods as an introduction to veganism but the whole places should be on a vegan whole food plant based diet.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: