Wednesday, November 27, 2013


(CNN) - Bill Clinton and Al Gore were on the 1992 Democratic ticket. But 21 years later, you might say the Clinton/Gore theme song has gone from Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow to don't stop thinking about tofurkey.

They have gone from Southern fried to southern fennel, from serving up political red meat to serving up no meat, no fish and no dairy.

According to Forbes magazine, Al Gore has joined his running mate, becoming a vegan a couple of months ago.

"It's like playing the piano and deciding one day, ‘Well, I'm only going to use the white keys now. I'm not going to use the black and the white keys.' It does take a little bit of time to actually get used to it," White House Chef Walter Scheib said. He served as chef for 11 years, cooking up meals for President Clinton back when he and his VP had broader dietary ranges.

"President Clinton was a little bit more diverse in his dining," he said. "That's sort of a euphemism saying he ate pretty much everything, his diet probably not the best."

Clinton described his updated diet to Dr. Sanjay Gupta in 2011.

"I like the stuff I eat, the vegetables, the fruits, the beans, the stuff I eat now I like," he said.
But the vegan lifestyle isn't as new to the Clinton/Gore ticket as you might think. 

"Chelsea Clinton became a vegan or very close to a vegan," Scheib said. "She'll tell you that she didn't, but I was actually there with her, and she was actually a vegan by the time she reached her senior year of high school. And she came down and worked in our kitchen at the White House the summer of her senior year for a couple of weeks."

It is a far cry from the fast food and short shorts that were such an indelible presence on her father's campaign in 1992.

In this week of gleeful national gluttony, it is important to note that U.S. high-level leadership has, for the most part, adopted high-level nutrition.

"They say diplomacy is a matter of carrots and sticks, and since Mrs. Obama got to the White House, so is dinner," Jimmy Kimmel said.

"Food at the White House didn't delineate along political lines," Scheib said. "It delineated very much along gender lines."

Sure, he might sneak into 5 Guys for a burger every once in a while, but it does seem President Obama is mostly toeing the line.

George W. Bush, with all his working out, always seemed fit. The only food that gave him trouble? The pretzel that he choked on.

The menu in the White House has always been a bit fickle. George H. W. Bush hated broccoli. Ronald Reagan loved his jelly beans. Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer.

"We try to keep them on the straight and narrow on terms of a healthy diet, but he is the president and he eats what he chooses to eat," Scheib said.

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