Averting meat is not new to Oprah Winfrey. The daytime talk show host embraced a 21-day vegan detox diet in May 2008 with the assistance of chef and best-selling author, Tal Ronnen. On Tuesday, February 1, 2011, Oprah will air an episode about how she and her entire staff faired on a recent weeklong vegan diet.
Oprah was clued in to the atrocities of factory farming as far back as 1996, when her on-air comment that she'd been "stopped cold from eating another hamburger" (because of the risk of mad cow disease)—sent her and 'Mad Cowboy' Howard Lyman into years of litigation with Texas cattlemen. (The case was dismissed after 6 years in legal battles.) She's done shows on food with Michael Pollan before, who will again appear on today's program. Author of Ominvore's Dilemma and featured expert in the Oscar nominated film, Food Inc, Pollan is himself not vegan, but espouses a food mantra of "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much."
Though many vegans see Pollan's voice as damaging to their movement, he has been an advocate of safer food laws, and helping individuals come to better understand how food and conversely, food-like-stuffs, affect their bodies, the environment and the animals involved.
Along with Pollan will be wellness expert and NY Times best-selling author, Kathy Freston, discussing her newest book, Veganist.
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Oprah, who has publically battled her weight and health issues for decades, vowed to "never diet again," after recently regaining weight she had lost from her 2008 vegan diet program.
Her staff of nearly 400 went on the vegan diet with her this time and some are expected to share their own stories with viewers.
The vegan diet—which eschews all animal products including meat, eggs, dairy, honey and clothing such as leather, wool and fur, as well as products tested on animals such as cosmetics and household cleaning products—is estimated to be adhered to by only 1 percent of America's population. The vegan diet has been embraced by celebrities including Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson, Natalie Portman, Alicia Silverstone and Paul McCartney, and has been named one of the hottest food trends for the year 2011.
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Photo: The Oprah Winfrey Show