Former President Bill Clinton, who was famous for his love of hamburgers when he was in the White House provided AARP magazine with an inside look into his plant-powered/largely vegan diet. He not only shared the amazing health benefits he’s experienced because of it (weight loss and increased energy), but also shared his experience transitioning to a diet of whole plant foods.

It all began when Clinton received “received a blistering email” from his physician (Dr. Dean Ornish, the renowned diet and heart disease expert) not long after his 2004 quadruple-bypass surgery. Clinton realized that his poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle had ruined his health.

“I just decided that I was the high-risk person, and I didn’t want to fool with this anymore. And I wanted to live to be a grandfather,” Clinton explains. “So I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival.”

He shares that giving up yogurt and cheese was much harder than giving up meat, turkey, chicken and fish, but he managed to do it by keeping a food journal and looking at ways to substitute things that he needed to give up.

These days Bill Clinton starts off his day with an almond-milk smoothie, blended with fresh berries, nondairy protein powder and a chunk of ice. For lunch, he usually enjoys some combo of green salad and beans. He snacks on nuts, or hummus with raw vegetables, and dinner often includes quinoa, or sometimes a veggie burger.

Clinton revealed that he does eat animal products like organic salmon or an omelet on occasion, but avoids all red meat, dairy and even processed carbs like bread.

Worried by the increasing prevalence of diet-related disease among Americans of all ages, he and the Clinton Foundation are now committed to promoting healthier lifestyles, with what he sees as far-reaching effects on the nation’s finances, quality of life and even climate change, which is exacerbated by meat production

“You have to make a conscious decision to change for your own well-being, that of your family and your country,” said Clinton.

We couldn’t agree more!