Former president Bill Clinton regularly cheats on his vegan diet, but is still embraced by the vegan community, ABC News reported Monday. This is noteworthy because most vegans are very strict about their 100 percent plant-based diet.
“There is some latitude, he is primarily a vegan,” said Len Torine, executive director of the American Vegetarian Association. “Whatever amount of vegan you are, I support it. I support him. He’s bringing enlightenment to a huge population because of his popularity.”
Freya Dinshah, president of the American Vegan Society, agrees that whatever level of vegan Clinton is, it's great for the vegan movement because he has brought a lot of attention to the diet and lifestyle, which shuns the consumption of animal proteins and the use of animal products such as leather. "[Clinton is not a vegan] according to strict definitions, but we applaud everyone doing the best they can,” said Dinshah.
Clinton's Weight-Loss Coach Put Bill on Sugar-Free Detox Diet
Dr. Mark Hyman, a weight-loss expert and regular guest on the "Dr. Oz Show," has been Bill and Hillary Clinton's dietitian since 2004. Hyman recently revealed that he forced Clinton to get off his vegan diet.
"It's hard being a vegan to eat enough good, quality protein and not have too much starch," Hyman told the NYTimes. "I know a lot of fat vegans."
Instead of avoiding animal protein altogether, Hyman prescribed for both Hillary and Bill a sugar-free diet of unprocessed foods and plenty of non-starchy vegetables. Clinton now eats fish and eggs once a week.
Avoiding sugar is the one thing that will make the biggest difference in your health, said Hyman, author of The 10-Day Detox Diet. After adopting Dr. Hyman's detox diet, Clinton reversed his heart disease and enjoyed an effortless 30-pound weight loss.
Clinton, 67, began following a vegan diet in 2011 after undergoing heart surgery in 2010. Clinton, who has a family history of cardiovascular disease, underwent a quadruple heart-bypass surgery in 2004 and in 2010 had two stents placed in his coronary artery.
The surgeries led to a dietary epiphany when the former president realized that his poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle had ruined his health. After adopting a mostly plant-based diet, Bill lost 30 pounds and dramatically improved his heart health. He also began exercising daily, and now walks two or three miles a day, lifts weights and plays golf.
Clinton's improved heart health and weight loss on a mostly vegan diet is not surprising to obesity experts like Dr. Joel Fuhrman. “The more greens you eat, the more weight you will lose,” said Dr. Fuhrman, author of The End of Dieting.
Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, said her dad's heart health is better than it was a decade ago, thanks to his weight loss and mostly vegan diet. “His doctor told him that his heart today is much younger than it was even 10 years ago,” said Chelsea. "He’s probably the world’s most famous vegan."