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This is the second in a series of three articles about Bill Clinton; the third and final one will appear on Friday.
Since September of 2010 when Bill Clinton went public with his new diet-style to heal his heart disease, I have made very good use of his powerful testimony. I managed to reference it three times in our book and have since devoted blogs to this great example that proves many things to the entire world:
- We can get all the protein we need without eating meat, dairy, eggs and fish.
- We can lose weight effortlessly and permanently -- even though weight-loss was not our primary objective.
- Giving up meat is not a social disaster; Bill Clinton has never been more popular.
- If the former "Mr. burgers, nuggets, and ribs" can give up those harmful foods and learn to love the healthy plant foods, then anyone can do it.
As for explaining why he is now eating this way, his simple explanation on the Today Show was a thing of beauty -- a discreet nudge from a great leader, ""I’d like to have as many good days as possible and this seems to be the best way to do it." But for the man who asked him if "being a vegan sucks," the incredulous looking Matt Lauer may soon find that he is the one who is simply not "with it" any longer.
As a prominent force within the media-world, Matt may want to take a look at many of the world's great leaders who have eschewed the harmful, wasteful and gross unsustainable Western diet. Maybe sharing a healthy dinner with Sanjay Gupta at the the Candle Cafe on 79th Street would be a good place to start. I'm sure that owners Joy and Benay would take real good care of them.
As for Mr. Clinton's ability to provide that gentle nudge, a reader this morning provided the inspiration for this blog. When my alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m., the first thing that I do is check the latest messages on my iPhone next to my bed. And this was the first that I saw today -- from a reader in the UK:
Hello Jim, Thank you so much for the piece with Clinton's reply to Matt Lauer's question. It prompted me to take a look at some live streaming of his Global Initiative. He really does have pulling power to get together the world's movers and shakers to discuss the most pressing issues. And there he is, acting as chairman, summarising, clarifying and "nudging" the discussion along to include all the participants; he's very good at this.
The plant-based diet was not on the agenda this year and he obviously does not want his own diet to become THE STORY if it displaces the other important subjects on his agenda, but on the other hand, his willingness to be explicit when journalists ask about his diet indicates that in this matter, he is also giving "discreet nudges" to move the argument along and to bring other participants into the discussion.
Great observation, and many thanks to this frequent reader who prefers to remain anonymous most of the time. Now, regarding those "discreet nudges" from Mr. Clinton, my perception at this point is that the ONLY reason he is eating plant-based is because he learned that it could save his life. If my perception is correct, then the message to the average person (like Matt Lauer) is that this "extreme" diet is for sick people, but not necessary for healthy young people like himself.
Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to have Mr. Clinton's testimony out there and all the discreet nudges that go along with it, but how much more explicit would those nudges become if he were totally aware of the many global consequences of billions of people eating the Western diet. Things that go well beyond our personal health -- things like climate change, world hunger, fossil fuel consumption, land degradation, waste and pollution of water.
Clearly, the potential global impact of all of those issues is staggering -- and I would argue that, collectively, they outweigh any of the other challenging issues that the world is facing today. In my mind, Mr. Clinton is the right person, at the right time, with the right organization to turn those discreet nudgesinto powerful global initiatives that would give the Matt Lauers of the world some real NEWS to report for a change.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com