People may think that because we eat mostly raw, all vegan food that our diet is full of boring, plain greens and vegetables. They may think that we don’t care much for food and it’s easy for us to just nibble on a carrot throughout the day. People who have never considered eating a vegan diet often think that they could never give up their favorite foods because the taste would just never be as good in a meatless version. Maybe some of these popular misconceptions are keeping the Food Network producers from creating even one out of their entire lineup of shows devoted to vegan cooking.
As this wonderful Ecorazzi article explained it’s been established that the Food Network channel concepts are created with people in mind who like to “watch people cook and eat, and not necessarily those who want to learn to cook” according to the anonymous source allegedly in-the-know at the network (as quoted in the aforementioned article.) It has also been said that they are catering to the large percentage of male viewers. But that doesn’t take into account the huge number of vegetarians and vegans who would watch a plant-based cooking show! There are foodies in the veg-world too who are making gorgeous, healthy, delicious recipes every day. At the end of that article, there is a list of fabulous ideas for show concepts that we would love to see on the Food Network. Especially considering the recent scandal centered around Southern-fried buttah queen herself, Paula Deen (who has four shows by the way) one would think that maybe now would be the time to at least get some healthier options in for those who are pleading for it now more than ever. (I’ve avoided writing a post about her this week- it’s been done. But I must say- I’m saddened that she “features” vegetables meant for “side dishes” on her site. Subtle, but still frustrating. I really hope she accepts Dr. McDougall’s bet!) Of course, there will always be the fans of rich dessert cooking shows and shows that are all about grilling meat. And to each his own! But why, out of the hundreds of shows, can we not get at least one in there for those of us who would watch people cook and eat plant food?
Rays of Light
At least this year was dedicated to the almighty veg (albeit with lots of cheese!) by one the most beloved of all the Food Network personalities, Giada De Laurentiis. Giada recognizes that many people want lighter fare and need to get more creative with the healthy foods they are learning to love. Speaking of gluten-free flours and alternative sweeteners, she says “I’m trying to find fun ways to incorporate these things that have actually been around for a long time, not necessarily in our culture, and make them more mainstream.” Yes, thank you Giada! “Mainstream” and “vegetarian” are always words we like to hear in the same sentence.
Enjoy this video of the lovely Giada explaining her decision to feature more meatless meals.
Now if we could get someone to take it all the way to cruelty-free- 100% vegan! Here’s a hopeful: I loved this article explaining how Chef Matteo Silverman was scoped out to be on the Food Network competition show Chopped, but clearly explained he would only participate in a totally animal-free kitchen. Chopped casting director Beth Schiff had paid a visit to the restaurant where Chef Matteo worked, and later commented that the network is actually considering running a vegan version of the competition sometime in the future. Way to hold your ground and be true to yourself, Chef Matteo! We’re holding out hope for that Vegan Chopped! All the amazing vegan and raw chefs out there deserve a chance to shine. The food speaks for itself, people just need to see it and taste it for themselves!
Pseudo-Healthy Finds From Food Network
For all the picking and pleading, there are some gems to be found and appreciated off the Food Networks current offerings. Not all their shows feature all unhealthy meals, by any means. We really like a lot of the fresh recipes we’ve seen scattered throughout the line-up. Whether they masqueraded as appetizers or side dishes, or even made their way to the middle of the table, we appreciate all the plant-based recipes ever made.
Here is their page for vegetarian cooking, which looks to be filled with highly-rated meat-free recipes. Their Healthy Eating page has some good, clean food, plant-based or not, so that’s a step in the right direction. They only have one show (Ellie Krieger’s) listed under healthy, out of hundreds of shows on two channels. This is sad- a) because they have a huge influence and thus a huge responsibility in my opinion to help bring healthy eating into the spotlight considering the sad state of the country’s health. b) because this obviously reflects what really matters- the demand, this is obviously what the people want- they are just giving it to them. And c) Yes, the host of the one “healthy” show Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition; no, that doesn’t mean she teaches people about truly healthy food! Anybody who is willing to sell out to the meat & dairy industries and continue to promote their cancer-promoting, misunderstood products in not going to get any points in my book for teaching true nutrition.
Weigh In, Leave a Comment!
What do you think? In this world where you probably know someone who’s either watched Forks Over Knives or Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (if not both) in the past month, is there a place for veganism in the mainstream? Can it happen? I’m talking healthy fast food restaurants with drive-through windows. I’m talking 5 star restaurants having plant-based menus. And yes, that could mean a show… nay, a channel dedicated to preparing food with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, herbs and spices. Is this a pipe dream or do you see this as a reality by the end of 2012? Come on people, the world is ending, it’s now or never. Wink, wink.