• Day 224: Bill Clinton’s New Vegan Diet & the Candy Problem

    Date: 2010.10.04 | Category: Uncategorized | Tags:

    Bill Clinton’s new vegan diet sounds terrific and laudable, except for how oddly old and fragile, almost fey, he looks post-diet.  The Telegraph has a piece (just below) with all the details.  But who knew that all good vegans, like Clinton, have to be careful about certain candies – turns out some of them are as verboten as a Big Mac.

    from wiki….

    >>>>Some candy, including marshmallows and gummi bears, contain gelatin derived from animal collagen, a protein found in skin and bones, and is thus avoided by vegetarians and vegans. “Kosher gelatin” is also unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans, as it is derived from fish bones.[3] Other substances, such as agar, pectin, starch and gum arabic may also be used as setting and gelling agents, and can be used in place of gelatine.

    Other ingredients commonly found in candy that are not vegetarian or vegan friendly include: carmine, which is a dye made from the cochineal; and confectioner’s glaze, which may contain wings or other insect parts.<<<<<



    At his daughter Chelsea’s recent wedding, a beaming Bill Clinton was not only singing the praises of the bride and groom. He was also extolling the virtues of a book called The China Study.

    The scholarly work so enthusiastically recommended by the former president was not, however, an analysis of Asian geo-politics. Rather, it was the blueprint for the strict diet to which he attributed his new svelte look.

    Mr Clinton’s penchant for burgers and barbecue and his battles with heart disease are well documented. But he has now gone public in America with the secret he shared with guests at his daughter’s nuptials – he is following a near-vegan regimen.

    He was under orders from Chelsea, who is a long-standing vegan, to lose weight before he walked her down the aisle.

    But he opted for a plant-based low-fat diet, free of dairy or meat, because of bold claims that it naturally reverses coronary disease. He underwent bypass surgery in 2004 and then earlier this year had stents inserted to hold open his clogged coronary arteries.

    “I went on essentially a plant-based diet,” the former president, 64, who is back on the campaign trail stumping for Democratic candidates in next month’s mid-term congressional elections, told a television interviewer who asked about his weight loss.

    “I live on beans, legumes, vegetables, fruit. 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 up.”

    Mr Clinton, who as a candidate for the White House would break off his jogs with Secret Service bodyguards to pop into McDonald’s, said that he occasionally eats “a little fish” but does not touch meat of any kind – “no chicken or turkey”.

    In the process, he said he had lost 24 lbs [1st 10 lbs] – his daughter had reportedly set him a target of shedding 15 lbs – and is back to the same weight he was at school.

    But he said the clincher was research indicating that more than four out of five people who keep to the plant-based diet experience a dramatic improvement in arterial blockages, cholesterol levels and coronary calcium deposits.

    “I thought that, well, since I needed to lose a little weight for Chelsea’s wedding, I’ll become part of this experiment,” he said. “I’ll see if I can be one of those that can have a self-clearing mechanism.”

    The former president singled out Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn, two prominent US doctors, and Colin Campbell, a nutritional scientist who wrote The China Study with his son Thomas, as leaders of the movement.

    Prof Campbell, a Cornell University academic who grew up milking cows and slaughtering animals on his family’s Virginia farm, began his research to back up his belief that traditional Western diets rich in protein from dairy and meat “was the best you could get”.

    Instead, he told The Sunday Telegraph, after studying diets, lifestyle and disease in 2,800 counties across China and Taiwan, he concluded the opposite – that plant-based diets dramatically and rapidly reduce heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.

    “The evidence is overwhelming that cutting protein from animals dramatically and rapidly cuts rates of heart disease and cholesterol,” he said. “I knew that President Clinton had been sent a copy of The China Study some time ago. But then after Chelsea’s wedding, I heard from another guest that he was raving about the book and telling others that this was how he’d lost weight.”

    Dr Ornish, a professor of medicine at the University of California who has long promoted a plant-based diet combined with yoga, meditation, stress management and exercise to reverse heart disease, has been giving medical advice to Mr Clinton.

    “Our studies show that simple changes in diet and lifestyle can have a powerful effect not only in preventing disease but can reverse even severe coronary disease,” he said.

    “We tend to think of advances in medicine as being a new drug, new laser or something so hi-tech that we can have a hard time believing that simple changes we make in our lives each day can have the powerful effect that they do.”

    Dr Ornish, who runs the Preventive Medicine Research Institute said that key to people keeping to the diet was focussing on the positive impact and avoiding “toxic” emphasis on fear and failure.

    “If you indulge yourself occasionally, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Shame, guilt and humiliation are toxic emotions that do not help anyone’s health. People will benefit much more if they make these changes because of the joy of living rather than the fear of dying.”

    Dr Ornish first gave advice to Mr Clinton in 1993, soon after he won the presidency for the first time, when the new First Lady Hillary drafted him in to train White House chefs to cook healthier meals for her husband.

    The former president talked about his lifelong battle with his weight in his 2004 memoir My Life, describing his days as a podgy child as he grew up on traditional, artery-clogging Southern fare such as fried chicken and barbecued ribs.

    Clinton is a recent convert to the low-fat diet cause. Indeed, in 2004, he said he had lost 35 lbs [2 st 7 lbs] thanks to an entirely different regime – the South Beach diet. This controversial alternative to the plant-based approach focuses on replacing “bad carbs” and “bad fats” with “good carbs” and “good fats”, and allows followers to eat meat and dairy.

    His new plant-based diet is criticised by some dietitians and nutritionists as too radical and lacking balance. They argue that low-fat dairy and lean meat are important parts of healthy nutritional high-protein weight loss regimens and say that plant-based foods, while low on calories and high on fibre, lack key minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium, as well as the nutrient omega-3.

    Indeed, Angelina Jolie, the actress, recently returned to the carnivores’ fold, declaring: “I was a vegan for a long time, and it nearly killed me. I found I was not getting enough nutrition.” So Mr Clinton is overnight being hailed by America’s vegans and vegetarians as their unlikely new champion.

    But while he clearly delighted with the physical impact of his diet, some commentators have questioned whether he has lost too much weight. “From our estimation, the lighter former Pres looked older and more haggard,” observed a commentator on one social and entertainment website tartly after his daughter’s wedding. “Rather than appearing more fit, Bill looked a little gaunt.”

    Copyright The Telegraph

    Full article here