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Bill Clinton, burger-free?

I've often said that I couldn't be a vegetarian because it would mean giving up cheeseburgers.

According to recent reports, former President Bill Clinton has shown me up, eschewing not just cheeseburgers but every other meat. In the interest of staying trim and maintaining his post-presidential good health, Clinton, until recently a big fan of burgers and barbecue, now eats mostly plant-based foods and no dairy at all. The only food that separates him from a vegan, it appears, is the occasional serving of fish.

You gotta admit the guy is looking good. So, what do you think? Should more of us follow in Bill Clinton's footsteps? I haven't had a cheeseburger in ages, anyway.....

Clinton now eats mostly plant-based foods and no dairy at all. (Brian Chilson/associated Press)

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | September 22, 2010; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  Nutrition and Fitness, Vegetarianism  
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Enjoyed the article but there is a mistake. A vegan is someone that eats nothing from an animal. No eggs, milk, etc. Technically if he only eats fish and no other meat he is a pescetarian.

Posted by: playnice1 | September 22, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

One big advantage of being a vegan, vegetarian, or having food allergies is that you simply aren't going to be able to go to the popular family restaurant chains because they won't have many options for you! So you will be avoiding a lot of the worst of the fattening foods in restaurants. You'll end up cooking a lot of your own meals.

Posted by: kimk1 | September 22, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Yay president Clinton!!. Good for you!!. There are so many problems linked to obesity and poor diet, its great to see an example of a public figure practicing what he preaches. Obesity is arguable the number one health issue facing this nation and by doing away with all the junk and processed foods that are so readily available we can be a stronger and healthier nation.

Posted by: sunnyside1 | September 22, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I can also recommend the diet president Clinton is now following.Last January my husband and I decided to cut out meat and dairy from our diet, for me not because of any problems with my health but for just general well being.My husband had high cholesterol, high blood pressure,high triglycerides, and a borderline diabetic. We are black and we know how those diseases affect the black community. We decided to change our diet along with exercise to see if things would get better. We did not eat a lot of red meat we ate mostly chicken but his numbers were still high.
Two weeks ago we went to the doctor, and to say the doctor was surprised with his numbers would be putting it mildly. His cholesterol which was usually in the upper 200 to 300 range is now 212. Still out of range but getting there. My cholesterol which was 170 is now 150. His triglycerides, A1C and blood sugar are within range. His blood pressure we are still workin on. We were never overweight that the doctor had to say to lose weight, but we lost a few pounds in the process. So if anyone has these problems give it try and see what happens.

Posted by: clarendon67 | September 22, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Why not try it? You can get a starter kit here

or use this website:

Posted by: sarahabc | September 22, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"Bill Clinton gives up meat"

Good gravy, the headline is just begging for a double entendre rejoinder!

But I won't provide it. No, I won't provide it.

The hell I won't...

All meat, or is white meat still allowed?

Posted by: sosueme1 | September 22, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

A contrarian position: I don't think he looks good at all. In fact, when I saw him on tv a couple of days ago, he seemed much older and not really as sharp as usual. It was alarming. I hope I'm wrong and that he's around for a long time. My husband who went through similar surgery a year earlier than Bill and is a year older than him looks and sounds a lot better.

Posted by: fran426 | September 22, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

the author misunderstood, Bubba said he now only eats vegans.

Posted by: simplemainer | September 22, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Being a vegetarian does not automatically lead to good health. Or to a skinny frame.

There are plenty of non-meat, non-fish, non-dairy foods that are unhealthy -- and fattening.

For example, a diet of Twinkies, Potato Chips and Coca-Cola may be vegetarian but it most certainly isn't healthy.

The best tip is to avoid, as much as possible, anything that is processed -- and anything that has/had a face or a sentient life form.

Posted by: WhateverHeSaid | September 22, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

So, now we'll get to hear about Clinton cheating on his diet too? Or does that depend on what the meaning of "burger" is?

Posted by: futbolclif | September 22, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

what about him feeding 'hot dogs' to others?

Posted by: v_khairin | September 22, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Yes! I believe in the next century most people will be vegans. It is logically the best diet there is, if practiced correctly. Eliminating all animal products and eating mostly fresh, raw fruits and veggies has changed my life and my health profile. My skin is glowing, I have tons of energy (no more need for caffeine) and I went down from a size 8 to size 4. Men ten years younger hit on me constantly and don't believe I'm in my forties with two kids. This was not the case before I changed my diet and lifestyle. If people at least tried to focus on fresh whole foods most days they would notice a difference. Start with your favorite fresh fruit for breakfast or a smoothie, and have a big salad with a diversity of veggies (no meat, cheese or fatty dressings) on it for lunch and/or dinner. Skip the sodas and opt for water with lemon or unsweetened green tea.

Posted by: DCcomm | September 22, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Is Slick Willy also giving up dropping his pants?

Posted by: nmg3rln | September 22, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Losing weight and staying trim is simple: give up the 'American' diet and get some regular exercise. Your life will be enhanced and lengthened. You can still 'treat' yourself to a grease-burger or walnut brownie once in awhile, just not every day. And, you know what? In time, you will NOT want that burger or brownie anymore. I'm doing it. I know it works. It's fun to button those jeans and have room to spare!

Posted by: ctenwith | September 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Between Kirtie Alley and Clinton, I think we have all the diet role models we need.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | September 22, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Definitely, it is very easy to be a terrible vegan or vegetarian. Contrary to what a lot of vegans might want to tell you, being vegan is not easy. You have to re-think what a 'meal' is. I grew up thinking of a meal as a vegetable, a starch, and a meat. I now think of a meal as a vegetable, a starch, and a bean. For example, for lunch I had chili (mostly beans, no meat, no meat substitute), brown rice, and steamed kale.

For anyone considering the transition to vegan, vegetarian or 'flexitarian' as Michael Pollen terms it, I recommend starting with a cookbook. Go to the bookstore, find a cookbook with recipes that sound appetizing to you. I highly recommend Mark Bittman's, 'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian' (even for vegans). It's basically an encyclopedia. Try a few recipes and see if you can incorporate them in your regular routines. Laura Uln takes beautiful pictures, check out her blog: I recommend Isa Chandra's Vegan cupcake book to anyone, including omnivores. Just really creative and it's great to not need to buy eggs but be able to make cupcakes. I also recommend buying a pressure cooker for cooking beans. I have "Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure" by Lorna Sass. Read the introduction on pressure cooker selection. Get one that has a 'quick release' feature. That's the most important thing.

Posted by: kimk1 | September 22, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

If you are only interested in health issues and not ethically bothered by eating meat, it isn't a bad idea to mix a very small amount of unprocessed red meat (like one small steak) into your diet. There are a lot of trace elements your body needs in red meat, and many of them are difficult to get and metabolize in sufficient quantity without eating red meat occasionally. I probably eat red meat maybe once every two months or so, which is plenty for these purposes. If you go without red meat for a month or two and then eat just a little bit of it, you'll notice that it makes you feel better.

Posted by: teamw23 | September 22, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Big Dog Bill still likes fur burgers once in a while.

Posted by: eaglestrk01 | September 22, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I saw Bill Clinton up close in person a year and a half ago at the Holocaust Museum opening in Skokie Illinois where he was a speaker. He looked good. He is tall and has a big frame -- something one doesn't see on TV or in pictures. I wouldn't follow in his footsteps though. I eat a lot of sausage and cheese and drink a lot of beer; I will not give that up. As far as I can reckon I am healthy too. Everyone's bodies and metabolisms are different. They are not one size fits all.

Posted by: pjs1965 | September 22, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

A healthy diet. I would amend it to include regular small portions of plain organic non-fat dairy. The latter is a very high-quality food. Other than that: long life, Bill!

Posted by: jerseyboy | September 22, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I saw Bill Clinton interviewed by Wilf Blitzer re this diet. I applaud Past President Clinton and his undertaking. If I have it correct, President Clinton has a stent , and he continues to have too much cholesterol, in his arteries. This diet he adopted, is being studied, as a method to eliminate cholesterol build up, if your prone to it, and the plaque you do have, should dis integrate. Common sense tells us, organic fruits and vegetables, is the best source of food. Clinton also said he eats no poultry as well, and very little fish. A supplement for protein is required in this diet. Sounds safe, probably effective, and for sure boring. Cannot imagine looking forward to a meal.

Posted by: dangreen3 | September 22, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

As a vegetarian, I am very pleased. My only caveat is that I wish he had done it more of the health of animals rather than for his own.

But a life saved is a life saved and I won't quibble about his reasons (more than I have already).

Posted by: rjpal | September 22, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

What about his wife, the Secretary of Steaks?

Or is she also already a vegetarian?

Posted by: rjpal | September 22, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

An article about Clinton's diet won't stop the 6th graders, or those whose sense of humor never evolved past that of a 13 yr old from making stupid dick jokes. They should write for ABC. I'm sure there is a sitcom in the can right now that could be punched up by a stupid dick joke.

Posted by: rcupps | September 22, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Meat is good.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | September 22, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

He looked good on the PBS Newshour tonight - in good form, physically and politically.

Posted by: cmckeonjr | September 22, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, he's looking thin, and thin looks better than fat, except if you were previously fat, when it's sort of a tossup. His face was pretty saggy on the CNN interview.

Why is vegan healthy? The China Study, which he mentions, doesn't concern vegan fanatics. It's about people who eats meat, but less than we do. Chinese eat fish and pork, and pork belly, but in smallish quantities. Moderation, anyone?

Posted by: mark16 | September 23, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I run a website about the benefits of a healthy vegan diet, and not only have I read countless books from doctors about the health benefits, but I've heard direct accounts from countless people about the differences a plant-based diet makes in their lives. I am so proud that Bill Clinton has been trying a (mostly) vegan diet, and I can only hope that his new svelte figure inspires others to try it. The great thing is that not only is it amazingly good for you (when done right, of course), but it's incredible for the world around us as well.

Posted by: cathleenwoods | September 29, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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