Tasty and Meatless Vegan logoAvoid the V words, producer Joy Waters says. Vegetarian – that’s scary. Vegan – even scarier.

“I think the term ‘vegetarian’ is still very alternative, all these stereotypes of skinny people eating sprouts,“ Waters says. She prefers the word “meatless,” which is how she refers her own lifestyle of flesh-less eating. It’s also the term she uses in her new cable television show, “Tasty and Meatless,” premiering this week on Oceanic Cable 16.

Her target audience, she says, is not already meatless, but the carnivores who for health or other reasons want or need to cut back.

Waters, a video producer with Sunshine Media Productions, began this venture as a single video production on meatless living, then realized people need a more consistent source of help. “If you want to be a better vegetarian, there are all kinds of cookbooks, Web sites, guidebooks… but there’s nothing for the person who is just starting their transition.  I realized there’s a gap in the resources available.”

Her idea:  a weekly program that covers the spectrum.  Not just cooking, but also shopping, eating out and health concerns.  Oceanic premiered “Tasty and Meatless” Monday, with repeats tonight and Saturday.

Waters didn’t want celebrities on her show. Her focus is on ordinary people who can lead by example. The initial episode, for example, features a couple of her friends in a cooking lesson. They won’t be back, though. Waters wants that section, called “In the Kitchen,” to feature different cooks weekly – “local aunties,” she says, people in the community who have a meatless lifestyle.”

Other segments will be anchored by regular hosts.  Karl Seff and Helen Wells, active members of the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii, will teach coping skills, such as how to go meatless in a restaurant, at a party or at the supermarket. Walleska Tepping, a yoga instructor and actually a meat eater, hosts “Meatless on the Move,” visiting local restaurants to talk to chefs about their non-meat menu offerings.

The closest the show has to a “star” is Dr. John of the Castle Wellness Center, who hosts “Dr. John’s Health Minute.”

Waters says eating less meat is a mainstream concern nowadays.  “But it seems like such a drag to give it up,” she says.

“This show is a safe place for people who just want to explore that lifestyle option. We think that eating meatless is a meal- by-meal decision.”

Originally published in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin by Staff Writer Betty Shimabukuro.