The Challenge

It was a vegan lovefest over at Harpo Studios this week. La Grande Dame got a large integer figure–378, in fact–of her staff members to sign up for a one-week “vegan challenge” at the behest of Kathy Freston, who apparently wrote a book and as such has earned the right to terrorize at least 378 hard-working TV-industry folks and, by proxy, approximately 11 billion hard-watching TV-viewer folks.

“It can really affect you in your body and your spirit”

Among those who jumped at the challenge was Rich the video editor, who claimed that he used to eat a sausage muffin every day for breakfast. After ditching the sausage muffin, Rich lost 11 pounds and “felt better than he had in ten years.” Of course he did! Sausage in a muffin!

Another employee, Jill, signed her whole family up for the funtimes. “After she emptied her refrigerator of all items that came from animals, Jill said there was almost nothing left.” Yep, that sounds about right on several levels.

Anyway, Kathy helped Jill to “veganize” all the now meat-bereft meals on her daily menu.

WE ARE VEGANS FROM THE PLANET, UH, SEITAN. WE HAVE COME TO VEGANIZE YOUR PALATES. “SOY” GOODBYE TO YOUR TASTE FOR FLESH.

Jill is “going to lean into it,” she says. “It will not be full-throttle, but I will lean into it for sure.” She’s not raging against the machine, merely pressing up against it to feel its warmth and soothing hum.

Another staff member, Veronica, was a fast-food fiend before Kathy got all up in that shizzle. Veronica finds that eating vegan makes her “angry” but she’s somehow undeterred from this new path, even when Kathy warns her not to become a “‘junk food vegan,’ only eating things like cookies and chips” and soysage muffins and sadness.

HUMANS, WE MEAN NO HARM. PUT DOWN YOUR LAMB SHANKS AND BASK IN MY COULTER-ISH GLOW.

And where was Dr. Phil in all of this? Or Dr. Oz? Or any doctor, for that matter? Anyone with a modicum of training or actual, hmm, knowledge about, well, anything? Not that it would have made much of a difference.

But but but, Ozzie has been comin’ around a leeeetle bit lately… “Replace grains with broccoli or cauliflower for one week, and eat garlic, chives and leeks.” It’s a good start, but a little too overseasoned with cognitive dissonance. What’s with this goddamn fascination with “cleansing?” If leaving out grains is a good idea for a week, WHY THE HELL ISN’T IT A GOOD IDEA ALL THE TIME? Trick question, of course, and I, for one, will be watching closely to see if the sly dog has the savvy to massage his way into a full-on acknowledgement of this deceptively simple (and damn right) concept without losing too much face.

OUR ATTEMPTS TO VEGANIZE THE GOOD DOCTOR APPEAR TO BE MEETING WITH RESISTANCE. ALSO, I HAVE GAS FROM THAT CHREESY SOY DOG. BACK TO THE MOTHERSHIP.

And even if he comes around less than gracefully, cookies will surely crumble. He’s Oz, for heaven’s sake. MDs in training would give their left stethoscope for a shot at Mehmetian media ascendancy. The guy makes Gawande look like a day trader. Who among the teeming masses isn’t going to follow where he leads?

Not holding my breath on that one, of course. But still, in spite of the aliens and the muffins and the emptiness of fridges comes some sense in all this. From the Big O herself: “Half the battle is just being aware of where your food comes from and how it makes you feel.” Maybe more than half, even.

Now, paleo sausage muffins: coconut flour, or would that make them too dry?

3 Comments

Filed under Food, Health, Media

3 responses to “The Challenge

  1. Wenchypoo

    If any of these so-called “vegans” actually ATE vegetables in their natural state, and not compressed into chunks, dogs, biscuits, or other forms, then they’d truly get the idea that they are DEPRIVING themselves–the crutch foods like soy dogs, soy pasta, soy this or soy that are just workarounds for what they’re trying to avoid, but what they need in their diets most: lean meats.

    This reminds me of the Atkins craze of the 90′s, where he was cranking out every kind of imaginable food to get around “evil” carbs: fake pasta, fake bread, fake sweeteners, and fake flavorings to make it all tolerable, instead of telling people to AVOID the offending foods!

    An all-veggie diet isn’t good for your hormones–in fact, there are several “good” foods that can disrupt them entirely…I’m naming YOU, broccoli. The Paleo auto-immune diet named in this carnival elsewhere is just about as close to heaven as I can get, given both my arthritis and my food allergies, and about as close to heaven as a low-carber can get and still eat real foods.

    I and many others just need to realize we can’t eat certain foods, so we must truck on without them in our lives, but it does present some boredom and ruttishness when it comes to preparation and presentation. The writing’s on the wall for me: EAT ONLY MEAT, CERTAIN FRUITS, AND CERTAIN VEGGIES. Now I just have to settle down and learn to do more with the less I’ve been given genetically.

    You Paleo folks have been more helpful to me than the Celiac folks, so I will continue to read your carnivals.

  2. Wenchypoo

    As for Oprah, I hear she’s been binge-eating macaroni and cheese lately…vegan, yes, but good for you? Nope. I’m more apt to listen to Dr. Oz. Besides, Oprah gained all her weight back even WITH gastric bypass surgery!

    Am I going to take Oprah’s advice when it comes to my health? I’d rather listen to you guys. :) Oprah never went to college and studied medicine, or even became a naturopath, so what does she know about health, besides what some fame- and-publicity-seeking book author tells her (other than Dr. Oz)?

  3. Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Wenchypoo (I bet that’s not your real name, now…). I hope the Oprah folks (and anyone who’s made the leap from a crappy standard American diet) realizes that what they’ve actually done is take the first step towards dietary awareness, that the benefits they’re seeing have as much to do with what they’ve given up (as with what they’ve adopted), and that the most important thing is to (re)develop their perception of their own bodies and how food (among other things) affects them.

    In a way, it’s the whole “give a man a fish, eat for a day; teach him to fish, eat forever” thing. Hell, we could probably solve half of America’s diet problems if we did just teach people to fish.

    Oprah’s great for free cars and such, but yeah, we should take a pass on her menu-planning advice. At least for now.

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