Posts tagged ‘Oprah’

February 6, 2011

Mr. Vegan? Meet Mr. Carnivore. Now, Play Nice.

First of all, I can’t believe I’m defending Oprah. Again.

Last week, Oprah challenged her staffers to go vegan for one week. Consequently, no matter how many times she declared that it was a choice and that no one was forced to do anything that they didn’t want to do, a flurry of bloggers who are pro-omnivore or carnivore got up in arms about how ridiculous Oprah is, meat isn’t horrible, vegans are lame, yada yada. Vegans responded with snarky comments of their own left and right.

It’s really all just silly – neither side of the argument on eating or not eating animals should be making sweeping generalizations about any one group. It really does nothing but reinforce negative stereotypes for both sides. Isn’t it possible to have open dialogue to discuss the best way for animals to be slaughtered for food, etc.? After all, we all know that not everyone in the world is going to instantly become a vegan or vegetarian, and vice versa. But it’s simply a choice and everyone should be educated on how food gets from the field to the table. What’s the harm with that? Sheesh, even Lisa Ling witnessed the cow being killed in the slaughterhouse and she says she’s still eating meat. So, witnessing what happens to an animal isn’t going to immediately convert everyone to write Vegan Manuals and start going door-to-door preaching the new way of eating.

I remember telling close family and friends that I was a vegan a few years ago and their response was almost as though I had gone completely insane, or that I was going to start throwing red paint on them immediately. Then, the inevitable family holiday dinners came about and the buzz now was “Oh, no…! Now that she’s vegan (gasp), what do we make for her…?” *whisper whisper* I am fairly certain that they expected me to lay on the ground outside with wild animals and start munching on a tree trunk, wrapped in my non-leather and vigorously approved PETA outfit. Would I start chanting to the wind, too? After all, I was a vegan……. *whisper whisper*

Look. If you are a meat eater and you don’t want to change, then don’t. As much as I’d love to educate you to my perspective, it’s really your right to choose. But I ask one thing, Mr./Mrs. Carnivore – if you have access to and can support your local farmers through a CSA program or something similar to it, then please do that. Supporting the local farmer is much more important than making sure you pick up that last-minute fast food meal because a cool toy has just come out (Ooh! A DVD! Sweet – let’s go sit in the line and get my manufactured and processed lumpa something nowwwwww).

And if you don’t eat meat, then okay, goodie there, too. Either way, support your local farmers, become educated on where your food comes from, and try to be nice. And I’m not just talking about being nice to animals, I’m talking about being nice to each other.

Happy Eating,

The Wanna Be Vegan

February 3, 2011

Oprah Can Motivate Everyone. Even to Be a Vegan?


Oprah and The Veganist, Kathy Freston

The other day, *the* Oprah powerhouse challenged her staffers to go vegan for one week. Almost 400 signed up.

Fairly enlightening stuff in the show, I will admit. For Oprah’s viewers, who more than likely live their lives on a hodgepodge of fresh cooked food one day, and McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets for the kids the next, it was probably shocking and eye-opening. The rest was pretty glossed over and included a lot of “cut-to” scenes with producers talking about their addiction to fast food, and the giggle-inducing discussion on how frequent bowel movements were becoming. There was only one exception to the glossy hoo-hah fluff segments, and that was when Lisa Ling had an opportunity to tour Cargill’s slaughterhouse, and followed the life of the cow from field bulk up on a corn-fed diet (not a natural diet for a cow, by the way), to the point in the slaughterhouse when the animal is killed (not shown).

I haaaate to admit this , but mad cow props to Cargill for allowing people to see the inside of their facility and the slaughterhouse industry on the Oprah show, though. I get so frustrated when people just don’t admit how things are. I say, allow transparency into these operations and let people make their own decision, no matter which way it might be. So BIG kudos to Cargill on that – not many companies would allow this (probably because they’re not as clean or they’re not following the Temple Grandin system as Cargill does). Of course, I still don’t like the industry that they’re in, but I have a lot more respect that they were open about this.

No offense, but it was just the “right” amount of graphic insight into the industry of how consumer food makes it to your grocery store. Perfect for the Oprah audience. Touchy feely and emotionally brutal seems to be common fare on the show when it comes to relationships and the like, but knowing where your food comes from? That’s where it gets dicey.

Anywoots, it’s clear that there needs to be change in the meat industry, whether beef or chicken, and even precious fish. Open dialogue to secure that humane practices are being followed is key. I know not everyone can become a vegetarian, or vegan, so let’s make it more respectful and safer for the animals that fill up our plate and keep us going, right?

Frankly, I’m disgusted by the meat industry. I can’t stand the idea of what happens to the animals during the processing, and the short segment with Lisa Ling helped remind me today that I don’t really want any part of supporting that industry.

So…I stayed vegan a bit longer today. Lunch was spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, and Tofurkey brand Kielbasa “sausage,” cooked in olive oil and dumped unceremoniously on a plate of whole wheat couscous. I’m no chef, and I have no idea if it’s nutritionally adequate, but I know I’ve got my veggies and protein (from the Tofurkey), so I’m pretty damn happy.


Maybe Oprah did motivate me a bit today. Oy.

Happy Eating,

The Wanna Be Vegan

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