Sunday, October 28, 2012
Bill Clinton: A vegan diet helped me lose 24 pounds & saved my life
Former president Bill Clinton feels healthier than ever since switching to a vegan diet.
"I like the vegetables, the fruits, the beans, the stuff I eat now," Clinton, 65, told CNN in a TV special set to air Aug. 21, 2011.
The 6'2" Bill, who has been overweight all his life, no longer eats meat, dairy, eggs or oil, claiming the changes have made a marked difference in his health.
"All my blood tests are good, and my vital signs are good, and I feel good. I also have more energy," says Clinton, whose goal now is to slim down to 185 pounds -- his weight at age 13!
Clinton underwent a quadruple heart bypass surgery in 2004, and in 2010 had two stents placed in his coronary artery, so a diet overhaul was a necessity, given his family history of heart disease.
"I was lucky I did not die of a heart attack [in 2004]," says Clinton. After his first surgery, the former president cut back on calories and reduced his dietary cholesterol intake but continued to eat the hamburgers, steaks, chicken enchiladas, barbecue and french fries he so loved.
After his 2010 angioplasty, Clinton switched to a plant-based diet on the advice of coronary disease specialist, Dr. Dean Ornish.
"I shared with him that because of his genetics, moderate changes in diet and lifestyle weren't enough to keep his disease from progressing," Ornish, 57, recounts.
"Our research showed that more intensive changes can actually reverse progression of heart disease in most people."
After adopting a plant-based diet, Clinton lost 24 pounds and says his health has improved drastically.
"I went on essentially a plant-based diet," says Clinton. "I live on beans, legumes, vegetables, fruits. I drink a protein supplement every morning. No dairy. I drink almond milk mixed in with fruit and a protein powder, so I get the protein for the day when I start the day out."
The former president, who's now trying to help promote exercise and offer better lunches to children through his Clinton Foundation, realizes now how destructive his old diet was to his health. "I essentially concluded that I had played Russian roulette," says Clinton.
"Because even though I had changed my diet some and cut down on the caloric total of my ingestion and cut back on much of the cholesterol in the food I was eating, I still -- without any scientific basis to support what I did -- was taking in a lot of extra cholesterol without knowing if my body would produce enough of the enzyme to support it, and clearly it didn't or I wouldn't have had that blockage.
"So that's when I made a decision to really change. It's turning a ship around before it hits the iceberg, but I think we're beginning to turn it around."
Bill Clinton: A vegan diet helped me lose 24 pounds & saved my life - National Celebrity Fitness and Health | Examiner.com