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Oprah and Alicia Silverstone Talk Vegan

Written by PETA | January 28, 2010

What do you get when two of our all-time favorite people—Oprah Winfrey and Alicia Silverstone—tackle the topic of America’s addiction to cheaply raised, unhealthy animal products? An episode of Oprah that’s both a chilling reality check and a charming hunger-inducer.

Oprah’s never been one to shy away from the hard-hitting issues, and on yesterday’s show she took a critical look at modern factory farming methods. Viewers were given a glimpse of modern farming methods and were, no doubt, shocked to see footage of chicks tumbling down a chute—as though they were nothing more than paper clips on an assembly line—and adult chickens, belly up, struggling to breathe in jam-packed, stench-filled sheds. But, never one to leave her audience without a solution to an issue, Oprah invited the vivacious and lovely Alicia Silverstone to the show to teach viewers about delicious, satisfying vegan alternatives to meat-laden and dairy-drenched foods.


themesotheliomaadvisor / CC
Alicia Silverstone book


While Alicia set to work making mouthwatering recipes from her cookbook, The Kind Diet, she also revealed that her acne, insomnia, and asthma all vanished when she went vegan. If I weren’t already dining on a cruelty-free diet, those facts combined with Alicia’s recipe for Artichoke, Mushroom and Leek Crostinis would have been enough to get me to try it out. So tell us: Was it the food or the health benefits that finally convinced you to try a vegan diet?

Written by Karin Bennett

Commenting is closed.
  • Mike Quinoa says:

    TG Perhaps but as soon as the animal is marketweight off to slaughter she goesthe same chamberofhorrors slaughterhouse as the factoryfarmed animals. Farmers are in business to make money. Whatever quality of life an animal raised for food has that life is still cut drastically short. Socalled humanely raised animals are great though for quelling the gnawing guilt that meateating people who know better have.

  • TG says:

    I have to disagree with all of those who are taking Brittany to task. Sure she probably should have said “More Humane” rather than “crueltyfree” which I agree is a misnomer. For those that are trying to say that pastureraised grassfed animals are not raised in a more humane fashion well that’s simple ignorance on your part. There is a world of difference in the level of cruelty between factory farming and humane farmers who strive for caring husbandry practices. Its like saying that there is no difference between beating a child and raising a child with love because eventually that child will grow up and die. Sorry how life is lived IS the difference that matters most. To impose an excruciating death is a horrible thing. To impose an excruciating life is an abomination. And I say this as someone who is 100 Vegan.

  • John says:

    ” grass fed cruelty free local meats” Brittany THAT DOESN’T EXIST! It is just marketing by smaller farmers. They try to pretend that eating “locally produced” meat is more humane but it is not! They still practice some of these same cruel things and the slaughter is horrific torture big farm or small local or not! It makes me so angry that these farmers will tell any lie they can think of to sell meat. I am not blaming you. The lies these farmers tell is just wrong. However I think you are great for cutting back on meat as much as you can.

  • cilla says:

    Kim post from Jan 31 Don’t dispair. I know it is difficult when you are used to eating meat and your trying to stop. Here is my advice…. Perhaps start with one meal a day. Try to plan your lunch or dinners meat free and then add on from there when you feel comfortable. As far as recipes I have a few suggestions. First it is sometimes hard to go Vegan right off the bat if that is your goal. Try going Meat flesh free first. there are lots of great vegetarian cook books out there. Second try some of your favorite recipes but just eliminate the meat and add beans or some other form of protien. Involve your daughter in the cooking i.e. make a vegetarian meal together Kids love to cook and I find my kids are more excited about dinner when they have taken part in cooking it. I usually start by thinking “what do I like?” or “what do I feel like right now?” and often just through something together no one said you have to use a cookbook to create something yummy. Remember every little bit helps and is a benefit to your health. Hope this helps.

  • matt in chicago says:

    I agree with all those who still hold Oprah and all other celebs to her hypocrisy when she shines a light on the horrific abuse and murder of animals on her shows once or twice a year but then goes RIGHT BACK to eating flesh. NO it is NOT enough that her show is seen by millions and shes shining a light on something if she then goes right back to supporting that very thing she is showing to be unjust and awful…think about if this were any other issue…racism sexism domestic abuse…would you give her priase for speaking out on it then continuing to support racism sexism etc? Before PETA goes off again about how amazing she is they should ask themselves how many MORE shows she can devote to factory farming horrors before she herself decides to stop supporting it….otherwise hypocrisy.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Kim You probably already make some delicious meals that are vegetarian or vegan so you’re part way there. It’s very easy to invent tasty veg recipes yourself. I never follow a recipe myself but if you consult any of Dr. John McDougall’s excellent books the second half of the book is usually just recipes. Stock up with veg essentials so you always have them on hand. Get a huge bag of brown rice some steelcut oats kidney beans chickpeas lentils split peas sweet potatoes tons of fruits and vegetables almonds peanuts walnuts sunflowers seeds Brazil nuts soy milkthe list is endless. I usually buy canned beans I don’t seem to have the time to prepare dried beans and rinse them off to reduce the sodium content. A bulk food store is a good place to visit. Don’t worry about getting too esoteric in your choice of staples just buy what you and your daughter enjoy. For example for breakfast I might make steelcut oats with sliced banana walnut pieces cinnamon and soy milk. Or perhaps have cooked quinoa with almonds blueberries and soy milk. Believe me these meals are as visually attractive as they are tasty. Tonight for dinner I with some help from Loblaw’s made vegetarian chili. I cut up some raw broccoli stalks and florets and some tomato. On top of this I put a bed of brown rice. And then on top of that a can of President’s Choice Blue Menu Vegetarian Chili. Easy to make and very delicious and satisfying. I live in Canada and buy the President’s Choice Blue Menu Vegetarian Chili at Loblaw’s or No Frillsnot sure if you can get it in the US. Anyway there’s tons of good books and info on the internet and PETA I’m sure would be more than pleased to mail you a Vegetarian Starter Kit. Just remember all the good things you’re doing for yourself the animals and our planet.

  • Kim says:

    I love Alicia Silverstone. I think that she’s a great role model for kids and adults. After watching movies like Food Inc SuperSize Me and Fast Food Nation I feel sick but Days later I’m back to eating meat and I feel so Guilty and Ashamed but I can’t stop cold turkey believe me I’ve tried! It’s really hard for me and I need help. My 6 year old daughter recently expressed an interest in becoming vegetrian and I totally support her but like me she has eaten meat almost every day of her life. I’m looking for guidance. If we are truly going to make a change then I need some serious support and help finding meal ideas someone to talk too…someone who WILL NOT judge me when I slip. I’ve never in my life tried or every seen tofu. I’d never even heard of seitan or tempeh untill very recently. I need to take baby steps. So far unfortunatly the vegetarianvegan’s that I have come into contact with have been NO HELP. They all act like holierthanthou zelots and want to have nothing to do with me! I am looking for a mentor and I’m asking for help and it feels like a slap in the face! Please Guys I understand you love animals and want to help them but when another HUMAN asks for help you should treat them with as much respect Don’t be a hater!

  • Erica says:

    It was the realization that consuming dairy is equally cruel as eating meat. The life of a dairy cow is continuous impregnation supplying the veal industry then ultimately being sold for slaughter to the highest bidder. This info encouraged me to go vegan but also makes me stay vegan. Cheese sucks. Whenever I hear someone utter they “used to be vegan” I cringe. Oh and eggs are just nasty.

  • Claire says:

    Just regarding Rebecca’s comment earlier on the insomnia it could relate to note enough protein in the evening it actually helps you sleep. I suffer the same issue and find that a soy hot choccy with some protein powder i use a pure pea protein mixed in does the trick

  • Daniel Manahan says:

    Oprah and all other hypocrites to animal rigthts need to be asked this simple question Do you believe that both humans and animals deserve EQUAL dignity? she will likely answer NO. Or she will likely spin her answer. She is interested in ratings not changing the world. A hypocrite is someone that tries to get someone else to do something they are not willing to. It matters most what she does not what she advertises. Imagine this situation where she never exposes animal cruelty but everyone who knows her sees her at AR protests and only eats vegan. That would say a hell of a lot more than what she is doing now. Action not words!

  • tina says:

    if people would just educate themselves on what meat and dairy do to their body they would think twice about eating it…people just wont look at the videos…they dont want the truth…it might make them have to reconsider their lifestyle..and how inconvenient that would be! people say they care about animals but continue to support these industries..u cant have it both ways people !

  • Toby says:

    I went vegan for ethics alone… other reasons are secondary to me. Like if you are opposed to slavery because of the health benefits you receive instead of for ethics then WTF you are cold! p.s. If you pull an Ingrid Kirk at a resturant and respond to a waiter offering duck muscle with “…I prefer that ducks be left to fly free” you might be mistaken for a weirdo reality bites. Words like ‘ethics’ probably come across better than hippiestyle poetic waxing.

  • vegancoin says:

    there is no such thing as happy meat please educate yerself. that is just some dull thick and ordinary proconsumerist propaganda. geeze.

  • Michelle says:

    What is a ‘HUMANE’ method of killing an animal? That is just a meat eater’s rationalization of the murder of an innocent defenseless living being. Humane murder is what it boils down to.

  • farah says:

    Its really not about whether Oprah actually practices veganism or not. its about the publicity that she’s giving to this issue a topic that u seldom see on the media. kudos to oprah and alicia.

  • Kat says:

    Brittany try going to the slaughter of a “cruelty free” farm animal. It’s just as horrific and they still cry and moan and fight for their lives. I’ve been to many “cruelty free free range or happy” farms and they’re all as bad or worse as a typical factory farm. Please educate yourself before you spread harmful and wrong information like that.

  • Alyssa says:

    Brittany honey there is no such thing as cruelty free meat… I’ve always thought that was such a ridiculous oxymoron.

  • brittany says:

    I was a vegetarian for a year 9th grade. I handed out kfc cruelty stickers at school and was really on board with it. I even got in trouble for handing out flyers that show graffic images of chickens but i opened a lot of minds up to the fact that these animals are being treated so cruely. I have since started eating meat again but now i eat nothing but grass fed cruelty free local meats and thats not too often anyways. I think if everyone at least just supported cruelty free meat then we’d be in a lot better place with this issue.

  • Brian says:

    Hey Pauly Keep up the good work man! Trust me it gets a lot easier as time goes by you’ll start to discover new recipes and once you’ve got a couple of years in you’ll start wondering why you ever ate meat in the first place. Brian.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    All the grains soy and corn inhumanely fed to mistreated “food animals” could humanely be used to feed all the hungry people on the planet.

  • Shirley says:

    I think the fact that Oprah drew attention to the inhumane treatment of animals in factory farming is more important than whether she isn’t vegetarian or vegan. She might change her eating habits later but I’m sure many viewers have certainly changed to a crueltyfree diet through the issues highlighted in this programme. Once we are ‘educated’ as to what happens in these factory farms we no longer have the excuse of pleading ignorance her show reaches millions of people worldwide and will have a positive effect.

  • Olivia says:

    I saw Alicia on Oprah yesterday and loved how she went shopping and showed thoes amazingly yummy mudpies icecreams! LOVE THOES….And I agree with everyone above me For Oprah it was a fad diet not a life change she always complains about gaining the weight back well lay off the dairymeat sweetie I eat like a pig and never gain an ounce!

  • vegancoin says:

    what Chris said. eating vegan was just a fad diet for Oprah she didn’t stick with it. i put exactly no credibility in her statements or her actions.

  • pauly says:

    I stopped eating meat in Dec of 09 after doing some Paul McCartney research that led me to “Meet Your Meat” and “Glass Walls”. I had no idea that factory farming was so horrific. It is absolutely appalling how these animals are treated. I now check the PETA website daily and heck I even have PETA wallpaper on my cellphone today. I would like to add though it has been quite the struggle for me as I have been a meat potato guy for 40 yrs. I just look back at the videos and other things. Thanks for listening.

  • Chris says:

    Yes Oprah may address the subject however she still goes home and eats the very animals that she just showed being cruelly killed. I seriously doubt that she even eats tofu seitan or tempeh. Nope I bet every meal except maybe the occasional breakfast has meat. She’s a very nice woman but she has zero credibility with me on animal issues.

  • Tasha says:

    I stopped eating meat after watching one of those factory farming videos.I have been meat free for 2 years and feel fantastic!

  • Aneliese says:

    Agreed with Dawn the reason I stopped eating animals was because I didn’t believe it was right. I didn’t even think about doing it for health reasons. Unfortunately my insomnia hasn’t gone away but other than that I feel great.

  • Rebecca Ettlinger says:

    I tried a vegetarian diet because of the challenge oprah took in a past episode…I’m working up to vegan. But after a year it is definately the best thing I have ever done for myself both mentally and physically. I considered the diet for Heath reasons but then when I researched animal cruelty I made the decision so not to be a part of the problem. I commend oprah for tackling an issue that most people really don’t want to know about…that’s why we love her!!

  • dawn says:

    Health benefits for sure. But most importantly to not participate in the cruelty and destruction of the earth that goes along with it.