Matt Lauer to Bill Clinton, “Does being a vegan suck?”

Maybe that crude question will lead to a new world-changing, top priority for the Clinton Global Initiative

Yesterday former President Bill Clinton was interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today Show — with most of the discussion devoted to talking about jobs, the financial crisis and politics. But as the interview was about to end, Matt said something about wanting to wrap things up on a lighter note — at which time he mentioned Clinton’s recent change in diet-style.

Matt Lauer quizzes President Clinton about being a "vegan" after a formal interview about the Clinton Global Initiative and getting the global economy back on track.

Matt said, “you’ve just turned 65, you’ve had quadruple by-pass surgery and now you’re a VEGAN??? Bill muttered “Who woulda thought?” Then, with an incredulous look on his face, Matt crudely asked, “Does that suck?” But the unflappable President Clinton handled the answer perfectly; chuckling and saying,

“No, no; you know, when you get older, your appetites change and abate and you’re more interested in having another good day — so I’d like to have as many good days as possible and this seems to be the best way to do it.”

I absolutely love it. A former president of the United States talks candidly about a plant-based diet without being defensive; but rather being positive about the implication that eating a plant-based diet will help you maximize the number of good days in your future.

And Mr. Clinton was very impressive during the earlier part of the interview when he talked emphatically about the need for more “cooperation” and a lot less politics. He said that conflict works much better for TV ratings and for getting elected, but when you’ve got big problems on your hands, the only way you’re going to solve them is with cooperation.

As for big problems, they were talking about the great recession that started three years ago and almost crippled the world’s economy. And they talked about how that it will be another few years before the U.S. and the global economy recovers.

This is how much arable land is lost to land degradation in the world every year.

I will admit that a global economic collapse is a huge problem, but it pales in comparison to an entire world running out of food. And that’s the track we’re on right now — a track of eating a completely unsustainable diet throughout the Western world. And it’s getting worse day-by-day; not better — for four primary reasons:

  • It takes 20 times as much land on a per calorie basis to produce animal calories as compared to plant-based calories.
  • We’re losing land to degradation and erosion every year at an alarming rate — an area about the size of South Carolina.
  • The population of the world is growing at the rate of a new Grand Rapids, MI, every single day — 197,000 more people every day.
  • Hundreds of millions of people in China and India beginning to adopt our incredibly wasteful Western diet-style just as soon as they get a little money in their pocket.

Roughly 200,000 new people on planet Earth every single day -- about like having a new Grand Rapids, MI, every morning.

In addition to all of the above, our Western diet is destroying the environment and subjecting billions more animals to horrific suffering every single year. Right now, the number stands at 60 billion animals per year to feed the wealthiest 2 billion people in the world. With that number headed to 100 billion and higher, just consider what kind of problems we’re creating for ourselves — especially in light of the above four points.

As Mr. Clinton says, “What we need is cooperation” to solve big problems. And how do we get cooperation? With leadership that can build consensus, sell ideas to the people, develop a plan and make things happen. Since that kind of leadership is almost impossible in a politically controlled government, that’s why I recently suggested the concept of a “one-term” president who would not be distracted by having to get re-elected.

He/she would simply be focused on building the global cooperation needed to tackle the single greatest problem in the history of the world — bringing humankind back to a diet-style that enables us to feed our growing population while living in harmony with nature on planet Earth. So instead of that “one-term president” that I mentioned earlier, how about Bill Clinton? A former president who has first-hand knowledge of the power of a plant-based diet, I can’t think of a single person on the planet better equipped to pull together the cooperation we need. And he already has his “Clinton Global Initiative” up and running.

How about it Mr. President? With your influence and deft leadership skills, you could easily pull together a powerful and well-funded team with the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Ted Turner. Of course, you’d first have to ensure them that plant-based foods will provide them with plenty of protein — but after you cross that hurdle, it should be downhill from there — as those three great leaders have their own blinding flashes of the obvious, realizing that we can easily feed all of the world’s people with far less land, far less water, far less energy and far less environmental destruction.

We’re talking about a simple return to harmony — the way Nature always intended for it to be. Oh, and by the way, we can also eliminate up to 80% of our health-care dollars by simply teaching people how to take charge of their own health — and every human on the face of the Earth can join Mr. Clinton and have a lot more good days in their future.


J. Morris Hicks, author and activist. Working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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3 Responses to Matt Lauer to Bill Clinton, “Does being a vegan suck?”

  1. maule5662h says:

    Jim – I left a message on your phone re — the DVD and Streaming Video are now available and I purchased both today.
    That is good and fast-moving and has McDougall, Campbell, Fuhrman and Barnard in it. Worth your giving support and publicity to. You probably have already seen it? The DVD is $25 via The Streaming Video is $5.99 via Paypal and lets you play it on your computer for five times. I have four plays left, I did capture the first play via my video camera, but I want the quality of the DVD from them. Good to give them financial support! Now I have to give thought to buying a case of your book!

  2. Donna Hughes says:

    How about one-term congressional limits too so that they are less easily owned by special interest groups and do not have to worry about being tossed out of office for not being in lock-step with party ideology? Clinton also said that the influence these people who were so ideology-driven have, without even real facts to back it, were scaring others around the world.

  3. Jim Morris Hicks,

    Great article.

    It won’t happen even if Abraham Lincoln advocated it. What the world needs is for a cataclysmic event to occur-say global starvation, maybe then….(?)

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