Calamity Jane: Q&A with Jane Velez-Mitchell

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If you’ve ever seen an episode of HLN’s Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, you’re familiar with the TV journalist’s outspoken style. A long-time vegan and animal rights activist, Velez-Mitchell takes the same tough stance when confronting America’s food addictions.

Q  In your book Addict Nation, you talk about America’s addiction to unhealthful eating. Why do you think we’re so hooked?

A  We live in an addictive culture, and the fact is, there are foods being manufactured today that are particularly addictive. Fast food is packed with sugar, fat, and salt—three ingredients we’re biologically programmed to crave. It’s nature’s way of getting us through times of famine, but there is no famine (in the U.S.) today, so what’s happening is, it’s creating times of obesity.

Q  There’s no lack of information about how to eat sensibly. Why aren’t we getting healthier?

A  Addicts don’t respond to reason. They’re likely to do the exact opposite of what’s advised. So, we’re lecturing people about their unhealthful diets, and it’s just getting worse. That’s why I wrote Addict Nation, because it’s a blueprint for change. And the first thing that people have to do is to get real and admit they have a food addiction.

Q  Do you hold out any hope for large-scale change?

A  We’re at the brink of a huge change, and I have a prediction: the first fast-food company where the lightbulb goes off, and they really embrace healthy eating and start serving vegan options, that will be the future.  Honestly, I think that one of the biggest companies is going to have an epiphany because we cannot keep eating this way.