Oh, Bubba, why have you forsaken us?
I mean you, Bill Clinton.
For carnivorous snackers, your years in Washington were heaven deep-fried on a stick. Our 42nd president jogged, yet had a weakness for any food served from a crinkly bag. Your two terms were marked by stretches of doing the right thing (eating-wise) dotted with wild veers off the dietary highway with doughnuts and greasy burgers. We related. You were one of us.
You shared our bipolar eating habits that lead us to consume a diet drink with a candy bar. (The diet soda absorbs the calories from the snack - didn’t you know?)
You also shared our exercise-eating relationship. Everyone has worked out to justify eating a second pork chop or scoop of ice cream. I’ve found that the best place to swap recipes is at my gym, because food is all that those people on treadmills are thinking about.
In those halcyon Clinton years, there was brief hope that bacon would be declared our national food. You were from Arkansas and understood the pull of pork.
We believed that you really did feel our pain - the pain of slinking to the fat-clothes sides of our closets after a holiday binge.
But it’s all over now.
Bill Clinton has become a vegan.
Yes, a vegan - what TV food personality and professional snarker Anthony Bourdain once called “the Hezbollah-like splinter faction” of vegetarians.
You told CNN recently that you removed meat, seafood, eggs, dairy products and most fats from your diet to combat the heart disease that runs in your family. You’ve had bypass surgery and two stents implanted.
You originally went to a low-fat diet, but doctors said it was not producing the needed results in lowering cholesterol. Daughter Chelsea has been a vegan for some time, so the idea was already floating around.
Technically, you’re a dietary vegan, because you haven’t tossed out the nice leather shoes and silk ties. Those who go whole-hog into being vegans (sorry, couldn’t resist) neither eat, use nor wear any animal products.
You told CNN that you have lost more than 20 pounds, and added: “I like the vegetables, the fruits, the beans, the stuff I eat now.”
Sure, Bubba. Just like that, you’re happy with lentils after years of ‘cue?
I once read an article by a historian who had a theory that Americans view their presidents and first ladies as our national parents. If that is the case, you were the dad standing over sizzling burgers on the backyard grill on the Fourth of July, PBR in hand, decked out in a “Kiss the Cook” apron. A kid wouldn’t be afraid to ask you for a second ice-cream sandwich.
The Obamas, well, they have placed a wonderful emphasis on eating locally produced food, and have been educating kids about nutrition with the garden at the White House. All that’s nice. But our 44th president is more like the father who gives out toothbrushes to trick-or-treaters.
Someone who does that is just begging for his house to get egged in the middle of the night. And I guess it has, sort of.
But it looks like you’re serious about this, Bubba, so good luck and happy grazing. Just don’t forget the mini-Milky Ways on Halloween.
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