Behind the Scenes of Harpo's Vegan Challenge
A vegan diet is completely plant based, and no animal-based products are eaten at all. If Oprah agrees, Sheri, senior supervising producer Lisa and producer Eric plan to bring in vegan expert Kathy Freston to lead a workshop on giving a vegan lifestyle a go. "It's one week out of their life. And maybe it's not on everybody's to-do list," Lisa says. "But if they do it, maybe everybody will move a little bit more in the direction of compassion towards animals and eating less meat."
Sheri pitches Oprah, who also pledges to take the challenge. "I think that's exciting," Oprah says. "I thought that was a really good idea because there's always pleasure in greater numbers."
Watch Oprah share her vegan tips during a preshow meeting
Watch Lisa counsel supervising senior producer Jill through a vegan dinner roadblock
Watch Oprah's visit to the café
During lunch, Oprah sits with three Harpo staffers. "It really bonded people in a way that they'd never been before," Oprah says. "Because when you could sit up and talk with your co-workers about passing gas, that means you've created a level of intimacy like no other.
Still, Oprah has one concern about the challenge: "What happens when 375 people have had beans for lunch?"
Some Harpo staffers say they're ready to make a permanent change. "Many years ago, I was a vegetarian, and so this really agrees with me," director Joe says. "I have more energy."
Oprah says Stedman wants to continue, but she's ready to incorporate some animal products back into her diet. "I thought it was great for all of Harpo, but it was a little hard for me for the first four days," Oprah says. "I'm not fully ready to never have another piece of fish. ... I would say I'm veganish."
Find out how other Harpo staffers reacted to the challenge
After taping, Oprah is happy with the entire experience. "I think that that show accomplished exactly what it set out to do," Oprah says. "The show was not set out to make everybody become a vegan. The show was to explore the possibility of you thinking differently about a plant-based diet and perhaps maybe leaning in to being more healthy. And I certainly think it accomplished that."
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