Heather Moore of Peta praises Oprah's effort
Nearly everything Oprah Winfrey does is newsworthy - and what she eats is no exception. When she announced on her show that she was going to forgo all animal products - as well as wheat, alcohol, caffeine and sugar - for three weeks to become a more "conscious eater", I heaved a huge sigh of relief.
I've been trying to persuade people to go vegan for more than 16 years, but my voice is merely a whisper compared to that of the queen of daytime TV. When Oprah speaks, people listen. Even if only a fraction of Oprah's fans are motivated to try a vegan diet - for three weeks, three months or forever - it will make a world of difference for animals, for people and for the planet.
So far, Oprah is not only embracing her vegan experience, she's raving about it. During the first week of Oprah's "cleanse", vegan chef Tal Ronnen - who graduated from New York City's Natural Gourmet institute and started the nonprofit programme Veg Advantage to help food-service professionals integrate vegetarian options into their menus - prepared a meal that had Oprah gushing about being "baptised in Vegan Land".
"Wow, wow, wow!" she wrote in her blog on Oprah.com. "I never imagined meatless meals could be so satisfying."
She raises one particularly insightful point, something I hope others will ponder too: "How can you say you're trying to spiritually evolve without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?"
The answer, I believe, is simple: You can't. Animals must be included in our efforts to make the world a more peaceful place and Oprah is setting a great example. Animals feel pain every bit as much as we do, are terrified by the sights and smells of the slaughterhouse and are afraid to die.
So, follow in Oprah's footsteps - at least for seven days. Take the one-week "veg pledge" on GoVeg.com. It's easy. Oprah wouldn't steer you wrong - and neither would I.