After successfully losing weight for his daughter Chelsea’s wedding in July 2010, Bill Clinton went vegan (mostly) to improve his heart health. In the first few months after beginning his new vegan diet in early May2010, he lost 24+ pounds.
Clinton said that although he is down to the same weight he was in high school, he didn't do it solely as a weight-loss trick.
"I mean, I wanted to lose a little weight but I didn’t ever dream this would happen. I did it because after I had this stent put in, I realized that even though it happens quite often that after you have bypasses, you lose the veins, because they’re thinner and weaker than arteries. The truth is that it clogged up, which means that the cholesterol was still causing build up in my vein that was part of my bypass."
Clinton mentioned that he wanted to reverse heart damage by eating an "essentially plant-based diet."
“I’m trying to be one of those experimenters,” said Clinton. “Since 1986, several hundred people who have tried essentially a plant-based diet, not ingesting any cholesterol from any source, has seen their bodies start to heal themselves — break up the arterial blockage, break up the calcium deposits around the heart. Eighty-two percent of the people who have done this have had that result, so I want to see if I can be one of them.”
It seems like Clinton is citing Dr. Dean Ornish’s study that was released in 2007. The Preventative Medicine Research Institute showed that when people followed a plant-based diet, exercised, reduced stress, and stopped smoking, they were able to reduce (and sometimes reverse) plaque in their clogged arteries.
Clinton also said he is trying to stay healthy for his future grandchildren, and by fighting heart disease with a plant-based diet, he is on his way to doing so. While once in a while he says he eats fish, besides that he's stays to a pretty strict vegan/vegetarian diet.
As to questions about what exactly the Bill Clinton vegan diet consists of, he says, "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 out."
Various sources say that Clinton may have read books on heart heath and the vegan diet, such as:
A Bill Clinton vegan diet, experiment or permanent, has so much potential to change the world. It's incredibly exciting for the vegan world!