It’s been a bad week for militant veganism. Oprah Winfrey’s three-week vegan diet experiment is over, and she won’t be trying it again any time soon. Childhood veganism is coming under fire. A new study left the case against milk without a leg to stand on. In short, while PETA and company continue to insist that adopting a meatless and dairy-free diet is tasty, convenient, and healthy, hardly anyone outside the animal rights community seems to agree.
Animal activists couldn’t have been happier when Oprah announced her experiment with veganism, calling it “one of the best things to ever happen to public health.” (Read our response here.) That party is definitely over. As it turns out, the wealthiest woman in entertainment — even with the help of PETA’s best vegan chef, Tal Ronnen — had this to say upon completing her “vegan cleanse”:
Reporter: "Did it do anything for your body? Did it cleanse you?"
Oprah: "Eehhhhh… It could have done something. But I was so mad I couldn’t tell! It might have done something, but I was so mad the whole time. I couldn’t tell what got cleansed, ’cause I’m like, ‘I’m mad! I want some cheese!’ … I mean, after four days everybody’s like ‘How do you feel? How do you feel?’ I feel like I want a cheese sandwich. That’s what I feel like."
Ouch. And that isn’t even the hardest hit the anti-omnivore case has taken in the last 24 hours.
Adding to Oprah’s clues about how appetizing and “easy” it is to go vegan, today’s London Independent sheds some more light on the pitfalls of subjecting children to strict vegan diets. Echoing last week’s story about a vegan girl in Scotland who developed the spine of an 80-year-old, today’s article, “How our vegan diet made us ill,” tells the story of another vegan family:
One morning over breakfast, Holly Paige looked at her daughter and realised things weren’t right. Lizzie should have been flourishing. Instead,her cheeks were pinched, she was small for her age, and although she had skinny arms and legs, her belly was big and swollen. When Lizzie smiled, Paige suddenly noticed her upper front teeth were pitted with holes.
Like many self-styled "ethical eaters" who aren’t properly educated about the raft of extra precautions necessary when denying children animal protein, Paige’s daughter was suffering from Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies. And the animal rights movement continues to promote child veganism — even to the point of insisting that “vegan diets are not only good for kids, it’s a preferable diet for kids."
Maybe. Then again, maybe not. A tofu-based diet is a fine choice for the tiny proportion of American adults who have thought it through. But it’s certainly not a "preferable diet" for Oprah. And if you ask vegan children how they feel about things, chances are they’ll want a cheese sandwich too. With bacon. Definitely bacon.