What do Bill Clinton, former President George W. Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully, and the Rev. Al Sharpton have in common? They’re all politicians who don’t eat meat. So awesome! Sharpton first got an idea of what happens to animals on factory farms when he appeared in PETA’s video exposing cruelty in slaughterhouses that supply KFC. His message to the colonel? “That’s foul!”
I overhauled my diet after a 40-day hunger strike when I was in jail for the Vieques [military bombing practice] protest. … I dabbled with weight loss ideas, wanting to keep off the pounds I lost. First, I gave up red meat, then chicken. I ran into Bill Clinton, who told me how he has more energy, needs less sleep, and can think more clearly since going vegan, and I can tell you the same thing happened to me. I also kept in mind the words of another vegetarian friend—Coretta Scott King—who always spoke of the ethical reasons to give up meat.
Sharpton dedicated his PETA Humanitarian Award to King when he accepted it at PETA’s awards gala in New York City in 2006. “Avoiding meat is the way to eat for anyone with a highly charged life,” Sharpton says. “A vegetarian diet has a way of absorbing the stress and gives you greater endurance. I don’t eat many starches or [refined] sugars. I just love greens and grains. I eat a lot of salad and fruits. I feel like a new, improved me.”
To date, the reverend has lost more than 120 pounds. How’s that for vegan power?