February 4th, 2011 by Webmaster
Recently, Oprah challenged her staff to join her and voluntarily go vegan for one week. Close to 400 Harpo Production employees agreed to the challenge and Oprah dedicated her show to the results, so we had an Oprah watching party! About 75 delighted IDA and PETA employees, supporters, and other vegans packed into Harvey’s Bar in San Francisco to watch Oprah on the big screen TVs. Harvey’s recently added a few vegan items to their menu including tofu scramble, vegan chili, and vegan quesadillas, so we were well fed. They are also using vegan mayo for their entire menu. Famous vegan cookbook author, Colleen Patrick Goudreau co-organized the event with IDA and was on hand after for a discussion and Q & A about the show and mainstreaming veganism.
The show focused on a few employees and their adventures and struggles being vegan for a week. One of her staff lost 11 pounds in a week and many others reported feeling better with increased energy. Some said that they would continue the new lifestyle for a month, some said they were hooked!
Oprah’s guests were Kathy Freston, author of the new bestselling book Veganist and Michael Pollen, author and local food activist. There was also never before seen video of a slaughterhouse. They wouldn’t allow the cameras to film the actual killing of the cows, but the gruesome processing and grizzly skinning and dismembering was extremely disturbing. Kathy Freston said that she is vegan because horrors such as this footage didn’t sit right with her soul and she could not be part of it.
There was a segment of the show where one Harpo employee took everything out of her fridge that had animal products and to her surprise, it cleared out her refrigerator completely. So Freston took her to Whole Foods and introduced her to a variety of new vegan products including Tofurky, Earth Balance, and Daiya Cheese . She said that her family learned a great deal about healthy eating and would continue to lean in this new, compassionate direction.
As for Oprah, she said that she is now “veganish” and will also continue to lean in this direction. She is implementing Meat-Free Mondays in the cafeterias at Harpo Productions as well as having a vegan option always available. IDA would like to thank Oprah for bringing veganism to the mainstream, exposing the graphic cruelty of the slaughterhouse, and showing people that there is a new, healthy and compassionate way to live and eat. Go Oprah!