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Jolinda Hackett

Is Bill Clinton vegan?

By August 25, 2013

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My friend and colleague Doris, who writes about Animal Rights issues for About.com recently posted an interesting take on Bill Clinton. As you may or may not have heard, Bill Clinton has been advocating the health wonders of his plant-based diet, inspired in part by his vegan daughter, Chelsea. Doris argues that the adjective "vegan" takes on different meanings when applied to what's on your plate versus a word used to describe a person. I think she makes a very good point. Here's what she has to say:

Is Bill Clinton really vegan?

What do you think? Does she make a good point? Is Clinton vegan, eating vegan, or just a guy who wants to live long enough to play with the grandkids? And, does it matter? Leave a comment to join in the discussion.

Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images

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August 27, 2013 at 8:01 am
(1) pnsret says:

President Clinton is following a plant perfect/plant strong lifestyle as advocated by Dr. Caldwell B. Essestyn, Jr., “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and his son, Rip’s, “Engine 2 Diet.” After seeing PBS special with the above, I started the same lifestyle. Since I’ve found saying I eat “plant-strong” is not yet understood, I say, “I eat like a vegan,” and my lifestyle is understood. I understand the word “vegan” to mean activist so in that sense, I’m not vegan. Main thing is vegan, plant perfect/plant strong–we’re all eating healthy and helping the environment.

August 27, 2013 at 9:10 am
(2) Sherry Mason says:

Mr. Clinton eats Salmon once a week.

August 27, 2013 at 10:03 am
(3) Ravi says:

He can refer to himself as “mostly-vegan” since he does occassionally eat flesh. But no big deal, if it’s bringing exposure and reducing animal suffering this is the important thing we need to pay attention to.

August 27, 2013 at 11:08 am
(4) Jeremy says:

I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying Bill Clinton is “mostly vegan,” though fish once a week seems like a lot. Eating that much fish would actually probably make him a “seagan.” The idea that animal welfare motivations are the only legitimate ones to embrace a vegan lifestyle or the vegan moniker seems unnecessarily divisive. If my motivations are primarily environmental, does it matter? Obviously animal welfare becomes a byproduct, and everybody wins, don’t they? I eschew leather and wool for the same environmental reasons that I avoid meat, dairy, and eggs. Is that less “vegan” than someone whose primary motivations are animal welfare related?

August 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm
(5) Susan says:

Bill Clinton has chosen a plant based diet.
The August/September issue of AARP Magazine featured a very interesting article (My Lunch With Bill) discussing this very issue.
Seeing that my husband and I took the CHIP Program (Complete Health Improvement Program–Plant Based Diet) , it was interesting reading about Bill Clinton’s transformation into healthy eating. This is what CHIP encourages…..a healthy lifestyle with fantastic plant based food choices.

August 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm
(6) Vegetarian says:

I like the idea of “I eat like a vegan.” What a great way to say it – thanks!

August 27, 2013 at 9:34 pm
(7) Erryl says:

The enemy is not those that are 90, 95, or 99% vegan or vegetarian. We all do the best we can. Perfection isn’t easy.

August 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm
(8) Rose says:

i’m all for the plant based diet however, avoiding silk and wool seems strange to me for a vegan. A silk worm is not slaughtered for its silk and sheep are not slaughtered for their wool. Unlike minks who are slaughtered for their fur. I can’t justify the silk and wool avoidance. Or rather I don’t understand that. Everything else I get.

August 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm
(9) Snowball Karen says:

I am proud of Bill Clinton for eating like a vegan and advocating for the vegan lifestyle. I am inspired to do so, also, having been a vegetarian for some time now. Bless you, brother Arkie, Bill.

August 29, 2013 at 7:26 am
(10) Vegetarian says:

Indeed, Karen. Great comment! Lead the way!!!

August 29, 2013 at 8:50 am
(11) Brak says:

I cannot see why it matters. I am vegan and have been vegetarian first for nearly 30 years then vegan the last 15 years. I originally went veggie because I did not like the taste of meat. Not to be an activist. Having said that the vegan diet is healthy and I am strong. I do not wear fur, leather or wool. I do believe in animal rights but other than using buying power I am not an activist. I believe the most powerful way to change the world is through money or through refusing to buy a product. After all in the end South Africa banned apartheid due to most of the world boycotting their products not due to world opinion. Money talks. Sad but true I am afraid. If Bill Clinton ( and anyone else) is happy to cut down their animal product intake it can only be good for the planet and for the animals and ultimately good for us all. Who cares if he calls himself a vegan or not? Why does it matter so much anyway?

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