A newly svelte Bill Clinton adopted a new vegan diet to get healthier and fight heart disease following two heart procedures since leaving office.
The former U.S. president, who was notorious for his junk food eating habits, has given up eating meat in exchange for a vegan lifestyle. He also no longer eats dairy or eggs and barely uses any oil, trading his former favorites in for vegetables and fruits.
I like the vegetables, the fruits, the beans, the stuff I eat now, Clinton said in a CNN interview.
After suffering from artery blockages from years of poor eating habits, Clinton underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2004 and angioplasty in 2010.
I was lucky I did not die of a heart attack, Clinton said, whose family has a history of heart disease.
He is said to have sought out advice from his doctor, who helped the former president transition in to a vegan lifestyle. It is believed that a plant-based diet can prevent and, in some cases, actually reverse heart disease.
The vegan lifestyle is a big change for Clinton, who loved McDonald's hamburgers and other fatty foods.
I essentially concluded that I had played Russian roulette, Clinton said, 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.
He has lost 20 pounds since going vegan and he has significantly improved his health, adhering to new vegan dietary guidelines recommended by his doctor -- or at least, pretty close.
At Thanksgiving, I had one bite of turkey, Clinton admitted CNN.