What Do Bill Clinton, Steve Wynn, John Mackey, and Mike Tyson Have in Common?
These four powerful men have all declared themselves in favor of a vegan diet. I know of no other similarities between this ex-president, hotel tycoon, supermarket builder, and ex-prize fighter. At first glance you might think that the public support for not eating animals would be a reckless decision. Traditionally a vegetarian diet has been considered a sign of weakness—associated with an image of a pale listless hippy hanging out in the back of a health food store. These four men must have found reasons to ignore this common myth. Finding a fountain of youth becomes especially important as health declines with age, causing people to make desperate changes—as radical as replacing burgers and bacon for barley and beans.
What have these four men discovered that other men, women, and children have yet to learn?
The gladiator-like strength gained by adopting a vegan diet.
That’s right, extraordinary strength from plant-food. The men who centuries ago risked their lives for entertainment in public arenas of the Roman Empire were vegan. The remains of 60 Roman gladiators who fought and died more than 1,800 years ago in Ephesus (what is now Western Turkey) were recently found in a 200-square-foot plot along the road that led from the city center to the Temple of Artemis. Isotopic analysis of their bones for calcium, strontium, and zinc determined that the world’s fiercest fighting men were vegans. In the historical accounts of the lives of gladiators, these warriors are sometimes referred to as hordearii—literally, "barley men.” The starch barley provided the bulk of the nutrients for their remarkably strong muscles and bones, and for their endurance to win the ultimate sport of life and death. A Timewatch documentary is available to view. (Please note that the archeologists’ bias about starches “making people fat” lead to the wrong conclusion that the gladiators’ diet of barley and beans made them obese].
The Four Food Warriors
After losing 24 pounds, on September 21, 2010, Wolf Blitzer of CNN asked Bill Clinton, “How do you lose so much weight? What kind of diet did you go on? Our 42nd President answered, “The short answer is I went on essentially a plant-based diet. I live on beans, legumes, vegetables, fruits.”
Steve Wynn who operates several Las Vegas hotels made it mandatory over the summer of 2010 that every restaurant at his Vegas properties provides several vegan options. Although Mr. Wynn has not declared that he personally follows an animal-product free diet, his support has resulted in an extensive vegan menu at his restaurants.
John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods Market, began following a vegan diet six years ago. Two years ago he gave up the olive oil and shed 20 pounds of excess body fat. His efforts to encourage customers to pass by the high profit meats, dairy, and processed foods for whole plant foods has been accompanied by rising profits for the market and its stockholders.
Once famous for biting off his opponent’s, Evander Holyfield's, right ear, during a fight in Las Vegas, Mike Tyson has changed to a vegan diet and lost 130 pounds over the past year.
All of these powerful men have made a dietary choice that enhances their strength, personal appearance, and vitality.
Power by Plants
Making the change to a starch-based diet and forgoing animal-based foods, along with the other malnourishments found in the Western diet, results in many immediate changes:
1) Effortless loss of unattractive body fat. Studies show overweight people are less likely to succeed in business and other areas of life.
2) Improvement in the circulation affecting the performance of every organ and tissue in the body. Clearer thinking and enhanced agility are easily recognizable benefits.
3) Endurance is improved by the same foods that power marathon and triathlon winners (carbohydrates).
4) Reduction in the risk of crippling diseases, like heart attacks, strokes, and cancers. Nothing zaps power like paralysis or heart failure.
5) Improvement in personal appearance. After weight loss, “better looks” are most apparent from a person’s complexion, which turns from purplish-gray to pink as the flow of blood to the skin improves. (Dark-skinned people show a similar glow to their complexion.)
6) Pleasant body odor. Smell is an important form of communication. Replacing the repugnant substances that make up meat, poultry, fish and dairy with plants, cures BO and halitosis.
7) Sexual vitality is enhanced by the renewed strength and endurance gained from a vegan diet. Circulation to the penis is improved encouraging erectile function. A trimmer, fitter body with a pleasant odor is noticeably more attractive.
8) Respect from others follows. Most people know about the serious adverse health and environmental consequences of eating animal-derived foods. They are just too weak to make appropriate changes themselves, at least for right now. Powerful men, women, and children “who do the right thing” gain the admiration of others.
The Pendulum Now Swings toward the McDougall Diet
These four food warriors have announced the rebirth of dietary sanity by their actions and words. In the seventies and eighties there was a trend for giving up meat and dairy products and eating more vegetables and fruits. At that time I had several books on the national best selling lists (The McDougall Plan and The McDougall Program: Twelve Days to Dynamic Health being the top two). I was an important author at Penguin Books USA Inc. up until the early 1990s. Then there was a renewal of the Atkins Diet. I was approached by my book editor and told that it was time for me to change my writing style. “Dr. McDougall, your high carbohydrate books are of the eighties. The new diets will focus on meat and other high-protein foods. We would like you to make this change in your future books.” My response was, “You must be crazy. Essentially all of the respected science to date says that a diet high in animal products will give you heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. For the past seventy years researchers have clearly shown that a diet of starches, vegetables, and fruits is right for people.” “Besides,” I told my editor, “do you think I write these books just to make money?” As history shows, Penguin Books was right about the direction that diet books were headed at that time. But the pendulum is now swinging back towards the truth about the powers bestowed upon those who follow a healthy vegan diet.