Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oprah and Crew Adopt Vegan Diet

Interestingly, as I typed in the title for this blog, my predictive browser brought up another title I'd written a while back "Oprah Says She'll Never Diet Again". Gee, I guess once a chronic dieter, always a chronic dieter? Even Oprah can't keep her word when it comes to health and weight loss but this time it's a little different.

Oprah managed to convince 378 of her staff members to go vegan for a whole week in order to highlight their experiences on last Tuesday's show. She also brought in guests including Michael Pollan, the author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma", and Kathy Freston, whose new book "Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World" is currently Amazon's top seller to talk about the benefits of going meat-free.

Following a vegan lifestyle means avoiding all animal-derived items. Aside from meat and dairy, eggs are not vegan and neither is honey. The good news is that properly balanced plant-based diets are not missing any key nutrients and have been shown in numerous medical trials to reduce the incidence and severity of illness and chronic diseases, including heart disease. With all the plant-based food substitution items out there like vegan cheese and meats, one must still take care to avoid taking in too many calories each day, since overweight is a primary risk factor for heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, among other ailments.

Veganism is becoming as mainstream today as any other diet you can imagine. Even Food Network's "Cupcake Challenge" winner was vegan, creating 4 vegan delicacies that won all the judges over. The judges called her ginger nutmeg spice cakes with vanilla bean buttercream frosting, date drizzle and sweet almond topping "perfect". Her other creations included chocolate strawberry shortcake, raspberry tiramisu, and dark chocolate orange. The catch? There was no butter, no milk and no eggs. All plant-based substitutions, and nobody could tell the difference. Who said anything about deprivation?