Vegan diets aren’t just for hippies in Berkeley anymore; even Oprah is on board, and so is her staff. She challenged her staff to eat a vegan diet for one week, and collectively lost over 400 pounds. Kathy Freston, author of Veganist and nutrition adviser to Oprah and her staff, spoke to the benefits of a vegan diet in this interview with CNN reporter (and very enthusiastic vegan) Jane Valez-Mitchell:
Freston says that when you switch to a vegan diet, you’ll start to see the following changes within the first month:
In one week you’ll start to lose weight, and may notice improved digestion.
In two weeks your blood pressure drops and your blood sugar drops.
In three weeks your cholesterol drops significantly.
Her promises are pretty mind-blowing, but we wish she’d qualify those statements. She doesn’t specify which foods will get you results. (There’s vegan junk food too, you know, and we doubt you’ll lose much weight by eating it.) She doesn’t pinpoint who will see the most drastic benefits, either. If you’re switching to salads from a diet of Big Macs and KFC, sure, we’re guessing you’ll notice drastic changes. But if you’re someone who feasts on salads, yogurt, and sushi, you may not achieve the drastic transformation that Freston describes. (When I went vegan for the first time, I didn’t see the scale budge a bit; I was eating big bowls of pasta and buckets of soy ice cream, not replacing my dinner with spinach and kale.)
We’re all for trying a vegan diet, or going “vegan-ish” as Oprah’s done. As Freston says, “it means you’re leaning into a plant-based diet,” and making the gradual change to a healthier diet.