Bill Clinton: A Mostly Vegan Diet May Have Saved My Life
Want to become a part-time vegan? Start with these tips
It’s election season, but at a vegan café in Nevada, it’s the subject of food that came up with Bill Clinton. The former president, known (among other things) for embracing a mostly vegan diet after heart surgery in 2010, told the restaurant owner the diet “changed my life. I might not be around if I hadn’t become a vegan,” according to Politico.
There’s plenty of research suggesting various health benefits of a plant-based diet. It may help stave off type 2 diabetes, for instance. One study found vegans had lower cancer rates than meat eaters or vegetarians. Another found the average body mass index of vegans was lower than those of vegetarians or meat eaters.
You don’t have to quit animal foods cold turkey to reap the benefits. (And in fact, even some vegan proponents note that eating fish or other animal foods on occasion can help close nutrient gaps common in vegan diets.) Here are some tips for going “veganish.
If you’re really used to eating a lot of meat, start with Meatless Mondays. You’ll find an array of recipes here.
Go vegan until 6:00 p.m. In his book VB6, cookbook author and food columnist Mark Bittman laid out a diet plan that involves eating healthful vegan foods during the day, then eating (mostly) what you want after 6:00. The plan lets you enjoy the foods you love most while improving your diet.
Eliminate one animal product at a time. Karen Cottenden, a self-described vegan coach from London, suggests starting with dairy.
Swap your burger for a vegetarian burger, such as a portabella mushroom burger. This tip also comes from Cottenden.
Choose “real” food and avoid imitation meats or cheeses. Mielle Chenier-Cowan Rose, chef and author of “Veganish,” says, “these products are often made of unhealthy ingredients.” Her suggestion? “Buy ingredients that you recognize from nature, and cook from scratch as often as possible.”
Occasionally add animal foods to vegan meals. While Rose’s book offers more than 100 vegan recipes, she says, “Be judicious, but go ahead and add grass-fed ground beef to my chili recipe, replace oils with organic butter, or serve my recipes alongside wild fish or pastured chicken, if need be.”
Cook ahead. Making a stew, chili or casserole on Sunday can help solve the “what’s for dinner?” problem for a few days. Here’s an eggplant stew from blogger @vegancook101.
Related: The Best Nuts for Your Health
Think cashews for creaminess. “If you have soaked cashews it only takes a couple of minutes in a blender to make a nice, smooth cashew cream. As a vegan, I'm always soaking cashews because I want to make creamy things,” says vegan cookbook author and blogger Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She uses cashew cream in her vegan enchilada casserole.
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