As I was enjoying my morning breakfast of Earth Balance buttered toast with sliced bananas and cinnamon, I decided to see what was happening in the world. The Today show bored me so I flipped to the local Fox 9 News channel. Their “Morning Buzz” show was just beginning. Two of the three hosts started off the segment by saying they were going vegan for the week. There are a few clips you can access on-line, such as a “Health Aspects of a Vegan Diet” and, “Going Vegan: Good Choice?”
My first reaction to this was, “hey this is pretty cool.” However, as I continued to tune in throughout the week, I grew irritated with their mocking attitudes. On Wednesday, the crew sampled Tofurky pizza made with Daiya cheese. Two of the men (Jason and Keith) were dramatically disgusted with it. One of the men referred to the pizza as “spackle,” which he then proceeded to mash against a container. I am sure if he stuck a slice of dairy cheese pizza on the same container it would stick in a similar fashion. The woman, Alix, seemed to enjoy the pizza.
I am not upset that they weren’t as enamored with Daiya cheese pizza as I am. What bothered me was their “comical” bashing of a lifestyle that I work hard to promote each day. It is challenging enough to reach out to certain audiences and flip their skewed perceptions of veganism. Antics like this just make the efforts of those working in the movement much more difficult.
I wonder whether vegan “challenges” are a good thing. I think the answer is yes, but it is important to explain why these challenges fail. For example, on Oprah they aired a clip of a family at home sitting down to eat a pasta dish with Tofurky sausage and Daiya cheese bread. The family had nothing but negative things to say about the dinner. Ok, let’s pause here. Do meals containing animal ingredients come out fantastic and gourmet each and every time? No. This is reality, you won’t like every vegan dish you try. But why not show the family enjoying a dish that they do like?
In the case of the local newscasters who went vegan for the week, I think it’s important to note that not everyone can adapt to veganism over night. In fact, I would say for the majority, it is a gradual progression. Don’t get me wrong, I know of a few people who went from eating meat to being vegan in a matter of hours, and more power to them! The most important thing in this transition is to have the proper support and resources. If you don’t have veg friends or family, then seeking out groups on Meetup or non-profits like Compassionate Action for Animals can be a great way to find like-minded people.
It’s also important to keep an eye on what you’re eating. If you consume large amounts of processed vegan junk food, then you’re going to feel like crap.
I appreciate Jason and Alix from Fox 9 taking this challenge. All jokes aside, I hope this can be a lesson for others. Maybe rather than diving into veganism, viewers will do their research and make the transition at a pace that works best for them. Now, if we could only get them to do a blurb about CAA….