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February 18, 2011 / earnesteats

Oprah: The Vegan Challenge

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Oprah and 378 Harpo staffers go vegan for one week. Could you do it?

Did anyone catch the Oprah Winfrey Show episode, “The Vegan Challenge,” earlier this month? Oprah, along with New York Times best-selling author Kathy Freston, challenged the Harpo Staff to go vegan for seven full days. For the 378 staffers that participated, this meant no meat, no milk, no animal anything! At the start of the week, the staff was sent home with bags of vegan groceries courtesy of Whole Foods and their office cafeteria was transformed with vegan-only recipes.

Throughout the episode, the staff was shown at their high points – losing weight, trying delicious new products, cooking exciting vegan recipes for their families, enjoying consistent bowel movements… and their low points – struggling to kick their fast food addictions, the tough time adjusting to the vegan cuisine, finding family-friendly vegan recipes.

Also during the episode, the number one processor of ground beef in the world, Cargill, gave an unprecedented inside look at the manner in which meat is processed in our country.  Every step of the process was filmed, except the actual killing of the cow, as correspondent Lisa Ling gave the audience an eye-opening behind the scenes tour of the plant.  I have personally taken a tour of a processing plant as part of an Agribusiness class in college, and it was an experience I will never forget. The sights, sounds, and smells were indescribable. Similar to what Ling mentioned, though the tour didn’t turn me away from meat entirely, it definitely gave me an appreciation and understanding for where meat comes from and what it takes to get on the plate.

Also featured was Michael Pollan, author of best-selling books Food Rules, In Defense of Food, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan’s opinion was very clear – there is nothing wrong with eating meat, but we need to start thinking about where our food comes from. Though quite the contrast to Kathy Freston’s message, both authors have respectable reasons for holding the opinions they do. What’s important for us as an audience is arming ourselves with knowledge so we too can make informed food decisions.

The Oprah Winfrey Show staff had a few major transformations. The majority lost weight, many vowed to stick with the challenge through the month, and a few saw themselves remaining a vegan from that day forward. What did you think? Are you a vegan already? Could you successfully pass the one-week challenge? We’d love to help get you started if you do! Earnest Eats bars are 100% vegan and whether you’re a part-time or full-time devotee of a plant-based diet, use coupon code VEGAN at our online store for 20% off!

-Post by Jennifer Yniguez


One Comment

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  1. e / Feb 18 2011 2:35 am

    Yeah I could pass the week-long challenge, especially with those take home groceries. Been doing it for over 6 months now and buy my own groceries, lol.

    I’d love those Earnest bars though!

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