Former president Bill Clinton has shocked many by announcing that he has adopted an almost completely vegan diet.
Citing his desire to lose weight and avoid more cardiovascular troubles, the former president told Wolf Blitzer he had sworn off all dairy, eggs, and all meat except for the “rare” small piece of fish.
Clinton had quadruple bypass in 2004 and earlier this year had to have surgery to supplement part of the surgery after complaining of mild chest pains. The follow-up surgery was a wake up call for Clinton, who appeared slightly emotional when he said it wasn’t something he wanted to go through again.
Most Americans remember Bill Clinton as a glutton and a fast food fanatic. Those of us who grew up during the Clinton presidency remember reports of his jogs to McDonald’s and the brilliant portrayals of the president by Phil Hartman on SNL.
But it turns out an old dog can learn new tricks.
In order to lose weight for his daughter Chelsea’s wedding, he gave up all dairy, eggs, and almost all meat. He has since lost 24 pounds and says he feels great.
Among other things, he said the famous book, The China Study influenced his decision and referenced studies of people who adopt a plant-based diet in order to cleanse their body of the cholesterol and calcium deposits that clog their arteries.
People on a plant-based diet consistently have lower rates of heart disease, and research by physicians such as Caldwell B. Esselstyn shows that a vegan diet can cure heart disease. Bill Clinton also mentioned Dr. Esselstyn in his interview with Blitzer.
The proven health benefits of a plant-based diet certainly increase Clinton’s chances of seeing his dream of helping his daughter and son-in-law to raise their grandchildren.
Even if issues of animal cruelty were not at the forefront of his decision, his decision is benefitting not just his own health, but the well-being of animals as well. If he followed through with being vegan he would not only rid himself of harmful chemicals like mercury that are found in seafood, but would be making a profound positive impact on the lives of sea creatures and the ocean ecosystem.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Photo: World Economic Forum