The 3 Week Diet

Bill Clinton’s Vegan Diet: CNN Last Heart Attack, Sanjay Gupta, M.D. (Video)

Former President Bill Clinton appears in a CNN Documentary entitled The Last Heart Attack with Sanjay Gupta which will have its broadcast premiere on CNN on Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 8 p.m. ET.

4th UPDATE: Watch the full episode video via the embedded player above.

3rd UPDATE: The program has been rescheduled for Sunday, August 28 at 9pm and 12 ET, 6 and 9pm PT. The program will be rebroadcast on Saturday, September 3 at 8pm and 11pm ET, 5pm and 8pm PT.

2nd UPDATE: The program has again been preempted due to continuing live coverage of Hurricane Irene. CNN has not yet rescheduled it; I will post the new time and date as soon as it is available.

UPDATE: The program was preempted due to live coverage of the unfolding events in Libya. It will be broadcast on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET.

The original article is below…..

The program will explore the pioneering work of Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. of The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute as well as other doctors, including including Dean Ornish, M.D. — founder of The Preventive Medicine Research Institute — who are on the cutting edge of heart disease prevention and reversal through a plant-based low fat vegan diet. The diet is outlined in Dr. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure.

The former President reveals his own personal journey of coping with heart disease and his commitment to a vegan diet to reverse the damaging affects of the coronary artery disease that led him to seek quadruple bypass surgery in 2004 and a follow-up operation in early 2010 in which doctors added two stents.

News first broke regarding President Clinton’s vegan diet a year ago when he lost 24 pounds for his daughter, Chelsea Clinton’s wedding and appeared slim and trim in pictures showing him walking her down the aisle. Shortly thereafter, he discussed his diet in an interview on the CNN program The Situation Room with host Wolf Blitzer.  (Click here to watch video.)

At the time, he said:  “Since 1986, several hundred people who have tried essentially a plant-based diet, not ingesting any cholesterol from any source, has seen their bodies start to heal themselves — break up the arterial blockage, break up the calcium deposits around the heart. 82 percent of the people who have done this have had this result, so I want to see if I can be one of them.”

As a follow-up, Wolf Blitzer also interviewed Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish and and discussed in detail the changes Clinton made and how such a diet reverses heart disease. Click here to watch video.

This drew much attention as Clinton was infamous for his love of fried foods and fast foods, which was even parodied in a Saturday Night Live skit, Clinton at McDonald’s, with the late Phil Hartman.

And in turn this has drawn attention to the pioneering work of Dr. Esselstyn with patients at the Cleveland Clinic, as the work of Dean Ornish, M.D. as documented in a landmark 1990, entitled Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease?

Dr. Ornish is a longtime friend of the Clintons and in the early 1990s, former First Lady Hillary Clinton invited him to consult with White House chefs in the 1990s during his Presidency to provide a healthier cuisine. It was a conversation with Dr. Ornish, after Clinton’s 2010 heart procedure that provided the final impetus for him to make radical changes in his diet and to abandon his moderate dietary modifications which had proved to be insufficient.

In an interview from the program, Clinton talked about making the transition to his new plant-based diet.

I essentially concluded that I had played Russian roulette,” Clinton said, “because even though I had changed my diet some and cut down on the caloric total of my ingestion and cut back on much of the cholesterol in the food I was eating, I still — without any scientific basis to support what I did — was taking in a lot of extra cholesterol without knowing if my body would produce enough of the enzyme to support it, and clearly it didn’t or I wouldn’t have had that blockage. So that’s when I made a decision to really change.”

The former president now says he consumes no meat, no dairy, no eggs, almost no oil.

“I like the vegetables, the fruits, the beans, the stuff I eat now,” Clinton told Gupta.

Watch video clips from the program below. The full program replay video is above (via VegSource). Check back for the transcript text.

See also: The ‘heart attack proof’ diet?

More and more, word is getting out that it is the whole plant-based foods that are the healthy foods for weight loss and just as importantly, the foods that not only  maintain health, but as studies have demonstrated can reverse such serious, degenerative conditions as heart disease. Along with T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. co-author of The China Study) and was prominently featured in the Lee Fulkerson documentary Forks Over Knives: How a Plant-Based Diet Can Save America. The movie has received critical acclaim from Roger Ebertand the New York Times, among others.

With a powerful and influential vocal proponent such as former President Bill Clinton we can look forward to a more widespread attention to the profound effects of diet on both preventing and reversing heart disease. Having been on my own journey from vegetarian at age 11 to adult vegan — flourishing and maintaining my weight on a low fat plant-based diet — I for one am very excited to see this vital information reach the mainstream after so many years.

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