Bill Clinton, Plant-Eater

"I went on essentially a plant-based diet. I live on beans, legumes, vegetables, fruit." Former President Bill Clinton on the foodie details and health impact of his newfound whole-foods, low-starch, mostly vegan diet.

Sounds basically like what Joi Ito and our own Cory Doctorow have blogged about previously (both also noting positive personal impact). Full disclosure here: I made a similar switch earlier this year, as an experiment, and have had a similarly positive experience. I've also been working with a very skeptical MD to do blood tests and other measurements, to test the theory: so far everything checks out far better than either of us expected.

Read the whole transcript. I dig his empirical, pragmatic, "self-experimentation" approach.

(Photo by Xeni Jardin.)


  1. On the first of July I became a ‘weekday vegetarian’, eating mostly low starch, modestly cooked vegetables during the week (and soul food, fried chicken, and bbq on the weekends). As of today I am 30lbs lighter, lower blood pressure, and I’ve had more ladies check me out in the last month than in the last five years.

    Yeah, it works. Who woulda thought :)

  2. One thing I’ve found is your body generally knows what’s good for it. When you pick up a piece of KFC, deep down inside you know this isn’t good for you. When you eat a Snickers bar, you know it’s not good for you. When you eat something healthy, fruits, veggies, lean meat, etc. you just “know” that it’s good for you.
    Sometimes my body will “ask” for fruit, sometimes salad, sometimes ice cream but it always knows that too much ice cream is bad.
    Listen to your body.

    1. I wish it were that simple. But if I listened to my body, I’d be eating a lot more frozen Zebra Cakes than I do now.

      1. Sorry if you’ve all heard this before (and Maggie undoubtedly knows this), but our prehistoric bodies send valid information, while we in the “Developed World” unfortunately live in a “food-toxic” environment. Our sweet tooth made sense when anything sweet was a ripe, vitamin-filled fruit; our craving for fat made sense when we might not see anymore for days or weeks. I really do trust my body; it’s drive-thrus and convenience stores that trip me up!

      1. I don’t think that anon is claiming to have completed a scientific study. He or she is noting what they have observed.
        And I don’t disagree with them. The human body is pretty amazing. And it WILL tell you when you are abusing it. Ever had a hangover? Sugar high, then crash? Felt like crap after eating an unhealthy meal?
        Yes, you have, and so has everyone else.

  3. An ex once had the perfect retort when a stranger on a plane gave him a hard time about being a vegetarian while they were being served their meals. How he had the presence of mind in that moment, I don’t know. Most of us always think of the right thing to say afterward.

    He said: “I prefer my flesh in bed.”

    Shut the guy right up.

  4. I was vegan for close to 10 years. Then I was hospitalized for an unrelated issue. They told me that while I was not malnourished, my “reserve protein” was so low it could interfere with my recovery. This was a shock to me, since I’d developed a fondness for soy protein foods. I still don’t eat much red meat, but I do eat a lot of chicken now.

  5. he says he eats fish on occasion, so he’s not vegan, but it’s really good to see such a high-profile, intelligent person embrace a plant-based diet and espouse its benefits.

  6. I’ve tried Eat to Live. I was eating two pounds of salad and a couple pounds of veggies and I still was only eating 500-600 calories a day. I was full and hungry at the same time which was an odd sensation. The thing is, I had trouble because I didn’t like eating the higher calorie foods like beans and fruit.

    My girlfriend on the other hand went on Eat to Live and loved it.

    Whatever works for people.

  7. I’m pretty sure that if he didn’t have a quadruple bypass a few years ago, with his cardiologist probably telling him to fix his diet, he’d be on the hamburger-a-day diet. Going mostly vegan was forced on him.

  8. It’s funny, I’ve had exactly the same experience (easy weight loss, better blood profile, more energy, etc. etc.) going from a relatively vegetarian diet to a mostly animal foods + vegetables and fruit diet – basically the paleolithic diet. I think what both ways of eating have in common is getting rid of sugar, refined grains, and craptastic industrial seed oils.

    One thing for sure, though, is that you can be a vegan or a carnivore and still eat a crap diet. I suspect Clinton’s health has more to do with eliminating the crap than with going vegan per se.

  9. I think a vegan diet might be a bit extreme, but one thing I did learn while living in Asia was that North Americans eat WAY too much meat.
    Upon returning home, I was appalled by the North American diet.
    it’s all crap. nothing is real, it’s all processed, refined crap.

    When it comes to meat, I eat in a week what most people eat in a day, but I cook so the delicious meat flavour saturates the dish, so I don’t miss it.

    One very simple motto is “food shouldn’t have ingredients. food should be ingredients”
    If I look at something, and I can tell exactly what’s in it, it’s probably healthy. If I have no idea what must have gone into something, its probably refined processed crap and should be avoided.

  10. Got to sign in again now that I’ve read the Clinton article. He promotes Colin T Campbell and the China Study, which has some very, very serious weaknesses. I strongly disagree with anyone arguing that the vegan diet is healthier than a diet containing animal food based on that book. (Have to admit that at this point I haven’t seen much credible evidence for a vegan diet over an animal-foods-based diet, period.)

    1. If you’re referring to the Blitzer interview, I think it’s a case of he’s poorly lit, 64, and almost crying, although the last one is a bit hard to determine from the snippet I saw. People can get emotional when discussing their mortality. Just sayin’.

  11. I myself subscribe to the “Don’t eat anything that didn’t exist in grandma’s time” a la michael pollan. (Also the food should be ingredients theory, I suppose)

    It was discouraging and challenging at first, but it has REALLY made a difference in my energy and health.

    I used to crave fast food, especialy Wendy’s, but after a month of unprocessed food, i can’t even stomach it.

    We still eat meat, but only local organic humanely killed meat. And only about twice a week.

  12. I was vegan for 9 years, and felt huge health benefits for the first five years, then like most long term vegans (some estimate 90% +), I started suffering from auto-immune issues and chronic fatigue. Once I started researching I found out how common this was among vegans and why such a small percentage of vegans make it past the 9 year mark (less then 1%). I had created huge hormone and enzyme issues for myself even though I was eating healthy whole foods and not vegan junk food or processed soy besides eden soy milk.

    I had been raised vegetarian and never had any issues with health, so it was a harsh eye opener that the vegan diet could affect me so differently then a vegetarian diet. Since then I’ve learned about what a heavy load getting all your protein from plant sources puts on the brush border enzyme systems in caucasians who take up to seven times as longer to regenerate then other ethnicities, and the huge impact it has on the various hormonal and regulatory systems. The brush border enzyme system regeneration times are why asians and east indians can handle a much larger percentage of their diets coming from plant sources. They regenerate them in up to 24 hours, while in caucasians it takes up to 7 days.

    I would have been fine had I just occasionally supplemented my diet with eggs or cheese or heaven forbid meat, but because i had identified as being vegan, that didn’t seem an option. I had shut myself off to the possibility completely. I don’t eat that stuff right?

    5 years later I am still rebuilding my health from the issues I created from following a vegan diet.

    I encourage people to try a mainly plant based diet, it is good for the earth and your body, but please listen to your body. If you start to feel weak or depleted, please take care of yourself and allow yourself to find the right balance for your body. If you need animal protein once in a while that is fine. don’t worry about the flack from the die-hards who have pendulumed to the opposite extreme and never eat anything animal. there is nothing wrong with eating vegetarian/vegan most of the time, but supplementing your diet with eggs, dairy, meat, etc. however often you feel is best. Animal based foods are incredibly dense nutrient rich foods which is why they are bad in excess, but that is also why it is bad to eliminate them altogether. It is a case of it being too much of a good thing, not a bad thing we need to eliminate completely.

    In fact a well moderated diet is the healthiest diet, any extreme is potentially going to cause issues.

  13. Last week marked two straight years for me for an exclusively raw vegan diet — fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, all uncooked. This regimen definitely saved my life. Prior, I’d weighed ~240 lbs. and was on beta blockers. I quickly dropped in weight to the high 160s (and have kept it off effortlessly), am med-free, enjoy more satisfying foods than ever before, and have as much energy as I had in my 20s. Glad to see the former Prez spreading some great info!

  14. So you’re saying one size may not fit all? Can we cover the “I’ve never been a vegan but I think I might benefit from it because once I ate less meat and I felt OK” angle, too? I can baconazi with the best of them, but wow, I’ve never experienced the sheer wordiness of the ex-vegan movement.

  15. Just go to Dr.Fuhrman site! I’ll tell you, 30 minute and you will be scared of dying.

    Just watch the little video – Nobody needs to die – We can live for ever.

    Maybe the guy as the cure, but could he be less polarizing. He attacks everything that does not fit is product (Vitamins supplements and books).

    Here is a quote for one of is book.
    “This complete two–book set actually teaches you how to prefer a health–promoting diet–style over a disease–promoting diet”

    Come on! If you do not choose is way you will die of disease.

    I was really interested, but after seeing that site I just want to punch some watermelons and kill some watersprouts.

  16. The biggest problem with refined grains/carbs is that they make it so easy to get calories. If you listen to your body, your body says “This bread is delicious! OM NOM NOM.” A fresh loaf of crusty italian bread is still “bad” for you, because it’s easy sugar and easy energy.

    I was talking to my wife last night, since we’re doing a 10k in a week, and was struck by the idea that a straightforward way to put carbs in perspective is carboloading. Endurance athletes carboload, and often eat very carby foods (white breads, sugary foods, etc) when doing marathons, century rides, and so on. I’ve done a century ride — your body REALLY likes that quick energy around mile 80! But if you’re doing doing endurance athletics… why should you eat carbohydrates? You don’t need quick energy because you’re likely sitting at a computer, walking, maybe cycling 8 miles or running 3 miles. You can eat foods that stick with you longer (proteins) and will fill you up (veggies) and save the carby stuff (delicious) for a mild dessert. Or port!

    1. “But if you’re doing doing endurance athletics… why should you eat carbohydrates?” (I assume that was meant to be “not doing endurance athletics)

      Because I want to eat what I enjoy.

  17. I eat a low-fat vegetarian diet, but I make up for the health benefits with excessive beer consumption. So it evens out.

    1. Hey, the homebrew beer diet has worked for me too :D

      Actually I am very, very close to not drinking anything I don’t make. It’s fun, tasty, and has actually reduced my alcohol consumption.

    1. To be fair, babies are a delicious source of protein.

      (Relax, I’m a kid’s librarian. I only eat free-range children.)

  18. Good for him and all those who have the strength of will to make similar life choices. You’ll probably all live longer than me… if you can call life without ice cream “living.”

  19. I’m another ex-vegan. 15 years in my case. And yes, I was a pretty healthy, environmentally-aware, organic vegetables type of vegan, not the processed ‘meat-substitutes’ type. I was also incredibly self-righteous and let’s just say, ‘vigorous’ in how I was with other people who were not vegan.

    What changed for me? Well, several things and gradually. One was that in visiting places in the world where they could not afford to be so bourgeois about their food choices. I learned to be grateful for anything offered and accept hospitality even when it involved eating meat. I also rejected the egocentric approach that characterises the obsession with personal health in favour of an approach that was about myself as part of a multilevel, sustainable ecosystem. I did the sums on food miles and the environmental impact of what I was doing. One thing that I found through this process is similar to what George Monbiot said in a recent article in The Guardian newspaper , that some of the basic assumptions I had about the environmental impact of meat were just wrong – and you see these wrongly-based assumptions everywhere at the base of the ‘environmental’ arguments for veganism.

    However, it is true that most westerners eat way too much meat (and way too much of everything). It is also undeniable that industrial meat-production (and a lot of industrial agriculture more broadly) is both cruel and damaging to the environment. We try to minimise the negative ecological impact of our consumption, and further more to actually create positive ecological and community economic effects. We do this by growing everything that we can (and that’s an increasing amount every year, which will be expanding to include egg-laying chickens and honey-making bees next year, and an orchard of native fruit and nut trees). The land we have – and it’s only just under an acre BTW – is rapidly being transformed into a more varied productive ecosystem than the grass monoculture that it was when we arrived. The rest we get from local farms and we exchange and barter produce and stuff we make. We still eat as little meat as possible, but what we do eat comes from within about 10 miles of where we live and is organic and free-range. I also catch the occasional fish from the nearby lake. We don’t buy imported pulses, and particularly not soy, which whatever the label says, is more than likely to be grown on land that was rainforest.

    And no, we don’t spend all out lives doing this (I have a full-time job in a completely different field), it isn’t ‘back-breaking’ labour, it doesn’t rely on extreme theories of diet or neo-puritan morality, but on ecology, community-building and pleasure in being alive (remember that?). This means that other people want to do it too, and they are. They don’t need to be made to feel like moral failures for not following an extreme dietary code. And BTW, it just happens that this all also seems to be very healthy too.

  20. Xeni, I wonder why you used “vegan” in your article to describe Bill Clinton’s diet. It’s confusing. “Vegans” eat only vegetal foods (not even eggs or milk), and indeed most of them have a hard time keeping it on the long run – because it’s not easy to get enough proteins to stay healthy, since we don’t have a cow’s stomach! (The “weekday vegans” don’t have that problem, of course.) Since Bill eats some fish, he’s not even vegetarian. Furthermore, he says he takes a “protein powder”, precisely because you would have to ingest huge quantities of “fruits, legumes and beans” to get what our bodies need to keep functionning.

    The modern Western industrialized diet is certainly too rich in animal products and refined foods, but I’m puzzled by the urge to jump to the inverse extreme, as if all food wasn’t made of the same basic bricks of protids, sugars and fats…

  21. “Once I started researching I found out how common this was among vegans and why such a small percentage of vegans make it past the 9 year mark (less then 1%)”

    Wow, that statistic would be in defiance of every vegan I know.

    “Since then I’ve learned about what a heavy load getting all your protein from plant sources puts on the brush border enzyme systems in caucasians who take up to seven times as longer to regenerate then other ethnicities (…)”

    So to demystify that comment for other readers, what you’re saying is that you took in too many carbohydrates to get the proteins you need, and that put a strain on your system. You probably ate the wrong stuff, then; there are plenty of plant-based foods with a high protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, but you won’t e.g. get that fruit.

    Try eating tofu, legumes and nuts a bit more often, and salads and veg a bit less often, and you should be good. Their protein-to-carbohydrate ratio exceeds that of most cheeses (not eggs, admittedly), and is more than adequate for most.

    I think the lesson to learn is to never go on any dietary expedition without knowing what you’re doing. Don’t blame it on the diet, blame it on your inadequate understanding. And yes, this advice goes for any diet.

    Lastly, don’t call something chronic fatigue when it’s not. Chronic fatigue does not mean you’re tired/lacking energy a lot, it’s a more comprehensive set of symptoms the cause of which is researched with a fair amount of urgency, as any suffered would tell you. Oddly enough, many of the sufferers I’ve spoken to report that a vegan or even raw vegan diet helped them recover.

    1. Thanks Anon, I appreciate the thoughts, but those assumptions are incorrect.

      I at tofu, temphe, nuts, legumes, took hemp protein powder etc. and made sure I had a healthy whole foods diet. No processed vegan soy meat for me. Protien balance was not the issue, neither was efa depletion. I know those are common issues among vegans, but they were not my issues.

      The issue is how protiens from most plant sources are stored in the plant and the enzyme systems that the human body uses to extract those proteins. Particularly the brush border enzyme system in caucasians. It has nothing to do with the protein to carbohydrate ratio.

      You’d probably find reading about those systems and the difference in them between different ethnicities and their related traditional diets both interesting and informative.

      The other issue was the impact on the hormonal systems cause by a strict vegan diet that does not happen in a vegetarian diet.

      I also was officially diagnosed with CFS and know the difference between that and energy problems.

      Wow, that statistic would be in defiance of every vegan I know.

      Every vegan you know has made it past the 9 year mark? That is great. I’m glad they are doing well.

      I lived in an intentional vegan community and had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of vegans including john robbins and howard linman and many other high profile proponents of the vegan diet. Most saw good health results for the first 5 years or so just like me. The 9 year mark was well known and talked about in our circles, I’m surprised that you hadn’t heard this before?

      I was raised vegetarian and still promote healthy whole foods mostly plant based diets. I just think most people find greater health from occasionally ingesting animal products in moderation. I think that BOTH extreme diets are potentially unhealthy, that is the problem with extremes.

      In fact a well moderated diet is the healthiest diet, any extreme is potentially going to cause issues.

      I agree 100%! Find out what makes you feel most healthy and listen to your body.

  22. I am, in general, trying to eat less-processed food in less-Texas-steak-house-sized quantities.

    But I really believe that the secret to being happy and eating/living well is not making food a religious exercise. By which, I mean, I think dogma and hard, fast rules which must never be broken are obnoxious and lead most people to just feel guilty about how they eat, rather than actually eat better.

    For instance, for various ecological and social reasons, I’ve been eating a lot less beef. I don’t say that I don’t eat beef, though, because I treat myself to a really good hamburger every once in a while and I enjoy the hell out of it. (Like this one:

    The way I figure it, it’s about eating what makes me happy. Most of the time, that’s whole foods and not a lot of meat. But every once in a while, it’s a Blizzard or a Hardee’s meal. And I think that’s probably just fine.

    1. Maggie, I’m with you. My husband is a strict vegetarian for personal reasons, so we eat pretty vegetarian at home. I make a lot of Indian food, but we like Indian food.

      Me? I’m a pseudo-vegetarian. I trend naturally towards fruits, veggies, etc, but I do need meat in my diet. I don’t really eat it at home at all, but if we eat out, we are usually eating at an ethnic restaurant where meat is part of a meal, but not the whole thing. And I do get cravings for McDonald’s and Wendy’s burgers.

      Food is to be enjoyed wisely and in balance. The poster above who said you can’t enjoy life without ice cream, I have to agree with that. :D

  23. You Vill eat bacon. Ja! If you do not eat bacon there vill be a bacon gap und President Muffley vill not allow that.

    *wrestles with his right hand a bit before losing control of it as it strangles him*

    -abs isn’t normally in favor of Nazis, even fictitous ex-Nazi kinds of Nazis, but for Bacon he’ll Godwin this thread and declare the vegetarians the winners

    (Seriously now, my wife’s a vegetarian so my diet is fairly low-meat, and I’ve definitely seen improvements in my health as a result. I have a hard time going over 180 lbs. now, and I used to be mid-190s pretty consistently. That said, I love meat, just couldn’t go full-time veggie. Though after I have my chest opened, almost inevitable given a congenital heart issue with my valves, I will almost surely rethink that.)

  24. Not all of us can do well on a plant-based diet.

    The stomach does not have a conscience and does not differentiate between plant and animal.

    Reactions and allergies to plant-based gluten, amines, salicylates, nightshades, nuts, etc. are quite common. I have found that banana hits me like a sleeping pill. Onion and garlic makes my muscles ache. Nuts and salads go right through, better be near the toilet after that. Gluten makes me itchy and tired. Cutting down on gluten based and processed food has helped me quite a bit.

    I do best on lots of chicken, turkey and fish with some select vegetables, legumes and fruits.

  25. All of my vegetables are non-organic and laced with pesticides. I don’t want pests on my food, I don’t want them in my body. I only eat meat from animals that want to be eaten – battery farm raised livestock made to suffer such that death is a sweet and welcome release. I never have to take antibiotics – they’re already in my food! My desserts are purely artificial, spun wholesale from base chemicals into candied perfection. Maybe it’s the bovine growth hormone, but I’m built like an ox and hung like one too. I’m the healthiest of all my friends, but I try to preach the least about it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    In all seriousness, I suspect it doesn’t matter what you eat nearly as much as breaking out of the automatic eating habit, and being a little bit aware of what you eat. That’s the common feature in all of these diets. Clinton was a fatty who would jog to mcdonald’s every day for a fifteen hundred calorie meal as a matter of routine; now that he can only eat other stuff he can’t do that. Although he probably doesn’t count his daily calorie intake, I’d wager he can eyeball it to within a few hundred calories, and that it’s nowhere near what it used to be. Whether he’s eating meat or plants, carbs or fats or proteins, is nearly inconsequential in comparison.

    1. “only eat meat from animals that want to be eaten – battery farm raised livestock made to suffer such that death is a sweet and welcome release.”

      Truly awesome!

  26. I went vegan about a year ago and gained weight, but I’ve been eat a lot of vegan cupcakes and cookies since they are healthier. And, since it is vegan fat at least it is healthy fat.

  27. redesigned: “there is nothing wrong with eating vegetarian/vegan most of the time, but supplementing your diet with eggs, dairy, meat, etc.”

    Wait up, this dairy you speak of is it the stuff produced at places like this ?

    Irene Delse: But then what is your take on all the literature on the so called protein myth?

    Weird thing how ex-vegans spilling the beans (sorry, spilling the blood and guts) tend to have previously been motivated to their foodchoice chiefly out of some vague health concerns rather than concern for the basic rights of other animals. Is that a coincidence? A well planned vegan diet can fit anyone also in the long run. But time constraints, habits and whatever else one goes through in life might trip things up. That’s life. But no one should just jump ship from anything on a whim. If you feel ill consult a physician and/or dietician. For example, many vegans still downplay the need for B12 supplementing. Despite the fact that it is the easiest thing in the world to supplement (check for details on that and much more). But ok, some will still fall out, take a break or shift down periodically and later on step it up again. All understandable, that’s how it is with everything. But that does not change the underlying animal rights rationale. I can imagine a time in the future where I will not have the spare time to do leafleting for Amnesty like I do now. But even if that happened I would never do a 180 and start cheering for human rights violations. I would on the contrary regret that circumstances prevents me from doing as much HR activism anymore and would aim to step it up again. The behaviour of “born again meat-eaters” who try to whitewash the blood filled slaughterhouse floors by anecdotes of the crazy love they now have for the taste of someones burned body only indicate that they weren’t very serious about the issue to begin with.

    1. good points.

      Yes, I do buy local ethical compassionate environmentally friendly alternatives wherever possible. I get my eggs from the farmer down the road and subscribe to several organic csa farms.

      I became vegan for primary for ethical reasons, but when discussing with non vegans almost always would speak about the health benefits because it is a safer approach that is less likely to come across as judgmental or alienating. They were more receptive to a health discussion approach. If they were open to talking about the ethical or environmental side I would gladly discuss those.

      Now i eat dairy, meat, eggs, animal protein on occasion because I have to for my own personal health. That was a very hard transition and quite a struggle. I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t necessary, afterall I was raised vegetarian so I didn’t even have that childhood meat taste nostalgia. It was a gross strange thing to try and eat dead animals when my mindset was vegan, but I wouldn’t have gotten so sick if I hadn’t clung so tightly to the label of vegan and everything it stood for.

      I still eat a primary plant based diet. The hardest part of changing diets was the ethical component for me, but I came to terms with it by befriending the natural order of things. Do i judge cats or other animals for eating meat? no because they are carnivores. So slowly I learned not to judge myself for needing it to maintain health as well. My body does best as a mostly whole foods omnivore. I started eating meat with some first-nation (north american indian) people that had hunted it themselves and thanked the animal for its sacrifice, which helped me overcome the environmental and ethical blocks I’d created in my mind on those subjects.

      I hope that helps address the lack of talking about the other side of this issue from the ex-vegan crowd. Hopefully hearing my experience will be helpful to someone out there. Health is easy to take for grated until you lose and have to struggle to get it back.

      I support eating the way that makes you feel best whatever that may be.

    2. Animals do not have rights. People have rights. That’s not to say that animals must be treated like objects but it is far from saying that human diet is a matter of ethics.

      1. Wrong! Animals have the right to be smoked, shaved and stuck between two pieces of rye with a splash of yellow mustard. Oh, and a pickle.

  28. “vegan fat is… healthy fat”


    The illusion that one or two things are responsible for fitness and health is pervasive and virulent.

  29. I’m a pesco-ovo vegetarian, not a vegan, and I’ve managed the last twenty years of marathoning, climbing and mountaineering on a diet of delicious veggies, eggs, beans and cheese. I never worry about baking up a pie or some banana bread because I know any calories will be burned up on our evening walk. I also never worry about being able to finish a race or reach a summit. I eat a ton of great, mostly homemade food and try to steer away from the inside aisles of the grocery store – there be dragons.

    I’m forty-one, one hundred and five pounds (perfect for my height) and stronger than I ever was at twenty. I can tell this is a diet that works because I can still outhike my Gen Y nieces and nephews. It’s a lifestyle I would recommend to anyone.

  30. Why is everyone forgetting the fungi? I was vegan for many years starting at the age of 15, and like a few posters above I eventually began to weaken and started eating meat again. I did regain a lot of strength and athleticism when I began to eat animal products (mostly eggs, fish and chicken) again. However eventually the moral implications of eating meat started to catch up with me again. I also got a nasty case of food poisoning from some chicken from a restaurant and didn’t feel right in my guts for weeks afterwards, which forced me to re-evaluate my meat eating.

    Now I’m a dancer, cyclist and enthusiastic lovemaker, so I need a lot of energy, and I did notice my energy drop off a bit when I stopped eating animal protein again. Then I remembered that mushrooms have more protein by crude weight than any plant. Since then I have made choice mushrooms (mostly shiitakes and maitakes, but lots of other kinds too depending on the season) a large part of my weekly diet and I am happy to say that I have as much strength as I ever did when I was eating animal protein. The difference is that now I feel no ethical dilemmas and am not nearly as afraid of food-borne contamination.

    Remember everyone, Fungi is its own kingdom, they are not plants and have more DNA in common with you and I or a cow than they do with any kinds of plants. They also provide more vitamin D than plant foods and have all kinds of complex ergosterols and beta-glucans that intelligently boost the immune system, protect the body from cancer and potentially boost cognition. I don’t feel like tracking down refs right now but if you do some googling you’ll find all kinds of studies coming out about the health benefits of mushrooms.

    So in short if you think you can’t be vegan/vegetarian because you aren’t getting enough “power” try replacing your meat dishes with some mushroom “steaks” or a big maitake and veggie stirfry.

  31. I am convinced the “feel better/more energy” part of the vegan diet resides largely in the fact that you’re cutting out a couple pounds of preservatives out of your diet each month, in addition to replacing refined sugars with complex ones, or simply cutting them out altogether. Do that with any “special diet” and of course you’re going to have vast improvements in your perceived well being.

  32. There’s a great book called “The Anti Cancer Diet” that gives great research support for a vegetarian diet. And I’m all for it.
    That said, we could all stand to eat more veggies and less processed food, BUT some folks simply aren’t designed for an all veggie diet. I’ve tried vegetarian and vegan diet before, and all it did was cause my protein reserves to plummet and made me ITCH like crazy from dry skin! :-)
    Two really great, scientifically sound books to read on how to eat healthy are “The Anti Cancer Diet” and “Good Calorie, Bad Calorie”.

  33. I did the same thing and saw huge, phenomenal improvements in my health, including dramatic improvements in cholesterol and related markers, losing 80 pounds, and a whole range of fantastic results. For a non-skeptical MD, check out Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I owe him my life.

  34. #3:“One thing I’ve found is your body generally knows what’s good for it. When you pick up a piece of KFC, deep down inside you know this isn’t good for you.”

    I may know that intellectually, but what my body tells me deep down inside is: “Meat wrapped in starch, grease and salt? It’s a four-fer!

    1. my body may know what is good for me, but my tongue on the other hand is a bastard that loves the taste of fat, salt, and sugars.

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