Why Bill Clinton Couldn't Hack It as a Vegan

He may not be vegan by definition, but he is well-respected by the vegan and vegetarian communities

Photo modified: Flickr / Kate Wellington / CC BY 4.0

Bill Clinton adapted a plant-based diet to become healthier. 

Beyoncé is not the only celebrity to try veganism temporarily. In 2010, Bill Clinton addressed his health problems by changing his diet. After several interviews and widespread publicity on Clinton’s love for quinoa, however, the former president is back to meat-eating.

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A vegan diet cuts out all animal products, which limits you to eating grains, fruits, and vegetables. After Clinton’s doctor, Mary Hyman, told The New York Times that he “cheats” on his diet, the questioning began. The thing is, though that these “cheats” are not exactly hamburgers and hot dogs. Hyman told the Times that Clinton occasionally eat fish and lean protein.

Clinton still claims to live a vegan lifestyle, but he has adopted fish and eggs in his weekly diet. He is respected by the American Vegetarian Association and the American Vegan Society despite his occasional lapses. Representatives from both of the organizations point out that although he may not be vegan by definition, he is still limiting animal product intake, which is admirable.

Clinton’s reasoning for including some animal products in his diet is to add back missing nutrients, such as iron and zinc, and to maintain muscle mass. Hyman suggested that Clinton make these modifications to aid in weight management and provide his body with enough protein. Although he’s not fully vegan, Clinton’s health has improved immensely, and he lost over 30 pounds after his lifestyle changes. 

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