TV stalwart, Oprah Winfrey decided to experiment with a raw vegan diet for seven days, and just for kicks she took 378 of her staff at Harpo along for the ride. She was joined by NY Times best-selling author on health and conscious eating, Kathy Freston who provided the queen of television with a diverse selection of vegan food to try.
Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that excludes the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans endeavour not to use or consume animal products and it is a lifestyle that is becoming more and more popular with the rich and famous as well as us ordinary earthlings.
A vegan plant-based diet – which is just that, might sound a little dull but is in fact a very clever and inventive way to eat. The diet contains mostly fruits and vegetables and is said to have the ability to reverse cancer, heart disease and diabetes, reduce high-blood pressure and positively affect most degenerative diseases – not to mention obesity.
Nutrition researcher, Dr T Colin Campbell, details the connections between what we consume and the diseases that humans constantly battle with in his book, The China Study. His research spanned twenty years but by the outcome of its compilation he found that diets rich in protein, in particular animal protein, were the causes of liver cancer and obesity to name but a few. By switching people to healthy plant-based diets these cancers started to reverse.
Earlier in his career, Dr Campbell worked as a researcher promoting the healthy effects of a diet rich in eggs and meat. He conducted his studies diligently and with great enthusiasm, convinced that the American diet was the healthiest in the world. His later studies led him to research the role of protein in the development and treatment of cancerand his startling findings could not be ignored.
“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease,” he reported.
For those of us willing to make changes to our diet but worried that a life full of limp lettuce and fruit salad will drive us to culinary suicide, fear not. Consummate vegan chefs are more than capable of preparing delicious, inventive gourmet dishes that are rich in goodness but tasty and filling with it. Restaurants such as Pure Food and Winein New York City and Café Gratitude(which has eight locations across California) specialize in raw vegan cuisine.
Through centuries of meat and dairy consumption we have lost touch with the natural way of eating. What’s worse is that heavy meat and dairy based diets are condoned and encouraged by the food industry, opportunistic scientists and even the FDA/WHO. There is a vicious circle of bad food and unnecessary medication that accompanies it; all keeping us consumers unhealthy and mega-rich food and pharmaceutical corporations, well, mega-rich.
Oprah’s lead is a good one to follow as she threw herself into it and spoke of the virtues of the diet, the health benefits that she felt for herself and the compassion extended towards animal life as a result.
In her show Oprah also discussed introducing “meatless Mondays” at the network, adding “let’s try not to get sued for it,” referring to the risible case in 1996 when she disparaged the quality of beef on her show during the ‘mad cow disease’ outbreak and was subsequently sued for food defamation by Texas cattle farmers.