DAMON WINTER THE NEW YORK TIMES
Dr. Mark Hyman, a nutritionist to the Clintons and a best-selling author
Doctor advises Clintons on how to stay healthy
By Amy Chozick • NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE
Nine years ago, on their 30th wedding anniversary, Hillary Clinton gave her husband a gift she hoped would ensure many more years together: Dr. Mark Hyman. • Hyman was charged with helping the former president after quadruple bypass surgery in 2004. In the time since, the doctor has become part of the Clintons’ circle of friends and advisers, but one with an important difference. • The Clintons have a small army of aides who offer political and policy advice, but not many who can tell a former and potential president to lay off the ranch dressing.
- One of the first things Hyman did was to wean Bill Clinton off his prescribed vegan diet. Despite persistent media reports that he is vegan, Clinton does occasionally eat fish and lean protein.
“It’s hard being a vegan to eat enough good-quality protein and not have too much starch,” Hyman said. “I know a lot of fat vegans.”
Hyman, 54, who has made a name for himself advising the moneyed urbanites who retreat to Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Mass., met Hillary Clinton at a fundraiser when she was in the U.S. Senate. The two dived into a wonky conversation about childhood obesity and his philosophy of healthful eating.
“She then called me, and we’ve just become friends,” he said.
In August, the two were spotted having a three-hour dinner at a restaurant in Litchfield, Conn., prompting speculation about 2016 and a New York Post article with the headline “Hillary Gets Healthy.” (Her meal, the newspaper reported: grilled salmon and fresh fruit.)
Trained as a family doctor, Hyman, who was born in New York, moved to rural Idaho after medical school to work in a small clinic. He then worked as an emergency-room doctor in Massachusetts before becoming co-medical director at Canyon Ranch.
His latest book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet (Little, Brown, 352 pages, $27.99), is a sequel to his best-selling The Blood Sugar Solution. The new book provides a 10-day cleanse for quick weight loss, but the splashy promise of pounds shed is mostly a way to get readers to quickly experience the benefits of healthful eating, he said.
- More broadly, he embraces a wellness philosophy called “functional medicine” — or the practice of addressing the root causes of chronic diseases (from diabetes and arthritis to insomnia and fatigue) through dietary and lifestyle changes rather than prescribing traditional medicine to treat the symptoms.
In February, the doctor made a blitz of media appearances, including a stop by The Dr. Oz Show.
But it’s his relationship with the Clintons that has brought him the kind of tabloid attention that a doctor with a practice in the scenic Berkshires rarely receives.
As she contemplates another run for the presidency, the 66-year-old Hillary Clinton has received much scrutiny on her health.
Meanwhile, there remain genuine concerns about her husband’s health, even though he is slim (about 30 pounds thinner) compared with his doughier White House years. Last month, Chelsea Clinton said her 67-year-old dad, who used to strategize over greasy steaks and tamales at Doe’s Eat Place in Little Rock, Ark., has a heart that is “much younger than it was even 10 years ago.”
Hyman’s is a diet that treats Oreos and Coke like addictive drugs and that emphasizes the benefits of mostly gluten-free whole foods, proteins and natural fats.
- “It’s eat real food, walk a little bit, sleep eight hours, do a few things to relax, write a little bit in your journal, take a multivitamin,” Hyman said. “It takes out foods that are very inflammatory and toxic.”
“We have the knowledge to relieve needless suffering for millions of people,” he said. “People like Hillary get it; Bill gets it.”
(What a joy to put up another post on Dr Hyman, one of my favorites. . . Jan)