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Style & Living

Here's Why Jamie Oliver Is "Split" on the Whole Vegan Thing (and Why Some Vegans "Hate" Him)

Groups of "scruffy, weird-looking fellas" are part of the problem.

By Maggie Shi

Celeb chef Jamie Oliver has been fighting for healthier school lunches for more than a decade. He's been crusading against childhood obesity, raising awareness about the importance of quality food and healthful eating. And in fact, he's currently studying for a master's degree in nutrition.

So it's a little surprising that the dad of five isn't totally on board with the current trend towards veganism. “The vegan diet tracks better than anything on longevity, health and lower cases of disease,” he acknowledged in a recent interview with The Sunday Times. “I am split these days because vegans do annoy me, but I also do care for them."

Passionate vegans can be problematic at his businesses, Oliver revealed, explaining that groups of "scruffy, weird-looking fellas putting iPads of slaughtered animals in front of kids having spaghetti bolognese on a Saturday lunch” will disrupt his restaurants.

“They hate me because we do stories about higher welfare meat, which I am deeply passionate about, but for them it is on or off—there ain’t no stepping stones, whereas I’m all about stepping stones," he said, describing their black-and-white viewpoint of meat.

In fact, the chef said that in most of his cookbooks, about 65 percent of the recipes are vegetarian. “I have done more to push plant-based diets than any of them,” he claimed, adding that he's written a still-unpublished cookbook that's entirely vegetarian.

What's stopping him from publishing it? He wants to shoot an accompanying TV show, but his network is balking due to the failure of an earlier vegetarian program it aired. "But I wrote that book because the public told me to—the data tells me they want it.”

A meat-free Naked Chef back on TV? We'd watch it.

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