I Tried Hillary Clinton’s Diet and Now I Sympathize With Her

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

I am going to tell you all a fact that many people do not like about me. I am not a very political person. The personal, I have always thought, is something that should be subjected to several bruising rounds of Freudian analysis, while lying on a couch.

However, I do realize that a lot of people are interested in this election. I am no idiot. I have the Hillary Clinton and the person she’s running against, I forget, just debated each other. Is it hard to debate a large tower of yellowish athletic socks wearing a suit? This is something I would email Hillary if I had her private-server address.

However, despite my lack of engagement in politics, I am very interested in dieting. And female politicians (men can literally be a blob wearing a top hat and a monocle) have to diet. So I am going to try Hillary Clinton’s diet, because blah blah democracy, and you have to participate (God, Facebook. I simply cannot).


It has been reported that Hillary follows a diet invented by Dr. Mark Hyman, the director of functional medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. He wrote a New York Times Best-Selling Book called Eat Fat, Get Thin! (punctuation mine), which I buy, intrigued. Maybe I will eat ice cream every night? That has fat in it.

I also purchase White House Chef, a cookbook by Walter Scheib, the chef who cooked for the Clintons and the Bushes in the White House, as well as Hillary’s own cookbook and hospitality guide, An Invitation to the White House, which she maybe wrote under duress? Who can say??

Day One:

The basic premise of Eat Fat, Get Thin! is that low-fat diets are contributing to obesity, and instead you need to eat tons of fat to get thin. Unfortunately, Dr. Mark doesn’t mean delicious fat such as fudge, fried chicken, and baked stuffed shrimp. In actuality, he wants you to eat healthy, tasteless fat such as coconut oil, avocados, and animal lard. So you see, not as exciting as you thought!

As I read on, I realize that despite its unique and brilliant title, this diet is pretty restrictive. I start to feel even worse for poor H, whose husband — even though he’s ano now — used to eat Big Macs constantly when he was president. Dr. Mark also wants you to eliminate sugar, gluten, grains, dairy, and most fruits. A typical day looks like this: a smoothie with tons of oil and avocado in it, a salad with an oily fish (such as a sardine) on top of it for lunch, and a duck breast and steamed cauliflower for dinner. It sounds grim, but because of all the fat you will never be hungry, supposedly.

The first day of the diet, I am pretty motivated. I’ve eaten too much pasta this summer and it’s time for a new regime. I have looked at Hillary Clinton online and she is wearing THE most beautiful pantsuit in a shocking color. I am ready to go!

I start the day with a “Bulletproof coffee,” a.k.a. an organic coffee that has grass-fed butter and coconut oil in it. (Side note: I Googled the words “Hillary Clinton” and “Coffee” and one of the first results is a YouTube video entitled “Hillary Clinton Has Seizure? Or Demon Manifestation? Possessed? You Decide!” It is a video of Hillary drinking coffee and then shaking her head, but it’s in slow-motion? It has 134,171 views. Poor H!!!!!!) The Bulletproof coffee tastes a little bit like if you put cream in your coffee, but the cream tasted like Vaseline. Try as I might, I cannot finish it, and the butter congeals in reproach at the bottom of the cup.

By lunchtime, I am starving. I have a packet of fiber dissolved in water (a recommendation from Dr. Mark to curb hunger before meals) and then a piece of salmon with a side of steamed cauliflower. The salmon is tasteless because it is seasoned only with oil — still, I eat the entire thing, and am reminded briefly of a young Hillary’s summer job sliming fish in Alaska (she got fired because she asked too many questions). This sustains me for a brief time, but 90 minutes later I’m starving — way hungrier than I usually am after my typical lunch of toast with butter. I eat some cashews with oil on them for a snack, but am still ravenous. How could I negotiate a diplomatic agreement this way? For dinner, I eat a large slab of chicken and a sweet potato. When I go to bed that night I have an intense dream about eating an Oreo cookie.

Days Two and Three:

It is actually astounding how hungry I am on this diet. It is especially unusual for me because I have dieted many times before and thus hunger doesn’t usually take me by surprise. Hunger doesn’t take Hillary by surprise, either! At one point in her life, (according to her secretary) she “would show up for work with a big bag of lettuce and eat out of it all day.”

But nothing in my life has ever made me as hungry as Eat Fat, Get Thin! Not even eating lettuce out of a bag! And I have actually done that, too. The worst part is that I am eating more calories on this diet than I have ever eaten on a diet. Even after eating two tablespoons of coconut oil as a snack I’m hungry. The math does not make any sense. I’m so tired, too, because I am “detoxing” from sugar. It’s like I’m getting pneumonia but I can’t tell anyone.

To distract myself, I start reading the book Hillary wrote while at gunpoint called An Invitation to the White House: At Home With History. This is a very long picture book about how much Hillary loved decorating the White House and being similar to Dolley Madison, with nothing about her having a brain. It also describes different parties held at the White House and the millennium celebration looks particularly excellent.

I am losing weight, in a dull way that is sapping my will to live. But there are numbers behind it. In the space of three days I have lost three pounds.

Days Four, Five, and Six:

Today, I head out to my friend’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas. The minute I darken the door at an all-you-can-eat buffet at Caesars Palace, my resolve crumbles. I have every different kind of noodle possible. And a mimosa! I gain back all the weight immediately in real time while in Vegas.

While recovering from a hangover on the flight back, I start reading an interesting biography of Hillary by Carl Bernstein called A Woman in Charge. Although sometimes Bernstein will write things like “her ankles were thick” as the reason guys didn’t want to date Hillary in high school, he will also call the Clinton presidency a “boomer romper room.” Here are some of the things I learned about Hillary:

(1) She hated Catcher in the Rye as a teen.

(2) She chaired the Fabian fan club. (With Bernie?)

(3) She’s actually mad religious!

(4) One time, when they were dating long-distance (she was in D.C., he was in Arkansas), Bill had another GF. So then Hillary was just like, Well, you suck, I’m going to sleep with someone in Washington who is obsessed with me. And Bill cried!

(5) She has no sense of design and her apartment with Bill looked like “the lobby of a hotel in an old western movie.”

Days Seven and Eight:

When I get back, I resume Eat Fat, Get Thin! with a vengeance. I have a smoothie that is basically only avocado and lemon juice. I eat a steak even though I hate them. I slowly start losing weight again and I plan a state dinner for my friends from the cookbook White House Chef by Walter Scheib.

Walter liked working for the Clintons even though he constantly had to make tons of food, because Bill was always inviting people over at a moment’s notice to watch the Arkansas Razorbacks on TV. At the time, the Clintons wanted to have food that reflected the country, i.e., was diverse and varied. Sometimes Hillary would call Walter into her chamber and ask him What is jicama? and then request a dossier of information on jicama.

He didn’t like working for the W. Bushes all that much, as they loved aspics, which are gross jellies full of meat. Every day W. would say What’s for lunch? but all he really wanted was a BLT. But if you said to him Do you want a BLT? he would say No.

For my version of Walter’s state dinner, I am going to make the dish he first made for Hillary to impress her: pecan-crusted lamb with morel sauce and red curried sweet potatoes. (He also served lamb and sweet potatoes at France’s state dinner, so this kills two birds with one stone!) I am going to make some kind of ’90s phyllo-dough roasted-red-pepper monstrosity from Hillary’s cookbook, and finish the whole thing up with wine ice cream, which Hillary once said was her favorite dessert when she was a senator from New York. (It just so happens that wine ice cream is only produced in New York, because we are a crazy state.)

The state dinner is very fun. Two of my friends who most remind me of French diplomats attend. Everyone’s reactions are as follows: The lamb is considered “fantastic.” The phyllo-dough thing is “gross.” (But I expected that! Hillary wrote that recipe while being held for ransom!) The sweet potatoes are “a little too sweet.” (Whatever.)

The only thing that was bad was the wine ice cream. I was sad about that because wine ice cream was how I lured my friends to dinner! One of the warning signs re: the ice cream was that my friend looked at the ingredients before we ate it and realized that it was just frozen wine, sugar, and a thickener made out of seaweed. Then we ate it, and that was exactly what it tasted like! Hillary is very loyal to New York, is all I will say.


When it’s all said and done, I really enjoyed my brief foray into the political arena. I lost four pounds, all by eating fat! Once I “detoxed” from sugar I was less tired, but I was still pretty tired. I never stopped wanting to have a bread roll. I know the state dinner would have been better if there had been rolls there. I’m sure my two French heads of state would have appreciated it.

The whole thing did kind of make me feel bad for H. She shakes her head and 134,171 people think she is possessed by a demon? No one even wants to give her credit for the Fabian society. And all day, every day, she is drinking Bulletproof coffee and reading dossiers on arctic char (another dossier she requested) so you don’t have to! Honestly, I would rather be a gladiator in Ancient Rome.

I Tried Hillary Clinton’s Diet and Now I Sympathize With Her