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Jeb Bush Adopts a Paleo Diet – and Drops 30 Pounds

While Jeb Bush has yet to announce whether he will officially enter the 2016 presidential race, he’s already getting into shape for the role – and he’s relying on the Paleo diet to do it.

The former Florida governor, 62, has long struggled with his weight – unlike his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and brother, former President George W. Bush – but has made positive changes in recent months, according to the The New York Times.

The trendy Paleo plan involves a diet devoid of any grains, sugar, dairy, alcohol or processed foods. The name draws from our Paleolithic ancestors, and is meant to emulate their simplistic diet.

Bush has reportedly lost nearly 30 pounds since adopting the diet in December, friends told the newspaper. The rapid weight loss has also led to a new wardrobe.

Jeb Bush Adopts a Paleo Diet – and Drops 30 Pounds| politics, Politics, Politics and Current Events, Bodywatch, Celebrity Weight Loss, Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush in 2012

Daniel Acker / Getty

Along with the diet, Bush is reportedly hitting the gym as well as taking to the pool to swim laps on a daily basis.

The politician’s friends told the Times he’s long been open about his body struggles, and has adopted a self-deprecating approach to his weight.

“I am always hungry,” he told the paper.

Despite his strict adherence to his new healthy lifestyle, the newspaper reports he still “cheats” occasionally. On such occasions, Bush reportedly indulges in wine, and just last week in New Hampshire, blueberry pie.

Bush is expected to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016, and while he has yet to announce his candidacy, his brother told Fox News in October that the former governor “wants to be president.”

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Jeb Bush has lost weight using one of the trendiest diets out there

Former Florida Governor and probable 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian SnyderThomson Reuters

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Jeb Bush is eating like a caveman, and he has literally shrunk in size.

The former Florida governor, expected to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, is on the popular Paleo diet, which is based on what are believed to be the eating habits of the Paleolithic hunters and gatherers.

For Paleo practitioners, lean meat and fruits and vegetables are in and processed foods, dairy products, and sugary delights are out.

For Bush, the results have been noticeable. Late last year he was something of a pudgy doughboy with a full face and soft jawline. Today the 6-foot-4 Bush sports a more chiseled look. His campaign-in-waiting would not say how much he had lost, but he looks to have shed 20 or 30 pounds.

His son George P. Bush, the newly elected Texas land commissioner, talked Jeb and Jeb Bush Jr. into trying it, a source close to Bush said.

Bush, who associates say has been dining on grilled chicken and salad while snacking on nuts and also exercising, is hardly the first politician to aim for a leaner look ahead of an expected campaign.

Politicians entering a presidential campaign often decide to lose a few pounds to project a more vigorous image. Usually when they do so it means they are seriously considering a candidacy.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee lost 110 pounds in the years before his 2008 bid for the Republican nomination. (He has gained some of it back). New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is also considering a run for the Republican nomination, underwent Lap-Band surgery two years ago and lost some of his considerable girth.

Bush’s friends have noticed the weight loss and are envious.

“Like a lot of us, Jeb has struggled with his weight at times. I’m slightly irritated that I seem to have found every pound he’s lost,” said Bush friend Ana Navarro, a Miami-based Republican strategist.


‘It’s just a fad’

Some nutritionists are opposed to Paleo because it involves eating a lot of meat, which could lead to a higher consumption of fat since many high-protein foods have higher fat levels than carbohydrates. Bush is not known to consult a nutritionist about the diet, and his team declined to answer questions about criticisms of it.

“It’s just a fad; there’s no magic to it,” said Dr. Christopher Ochner, a weight-loss and nutrition expert at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “If you called it something else and just ate more lean protein and fresh fruits you would lose weight.”

Ochner said there were “other more well balanced, less faddish diets out there.”

But Loren Cordain, one of the people who popularized the diet, defended Paleo as a “lifetime program of eating.”

“More power to him,” Cordain said of Bush.

“Paleo is all about health and well being for all of us,” said Cordain, who is professor emeritus at the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University.

It is unclear how well Bush, 62, can stick to the diet given the various tempting delicacies that pop up on the campaign trail during long, stressful days.

There’s the tantalizing fried Snickers candy bar that is a staple of the Iowa State Fair, Kringle pastries in Wisconsin, the jelly-filled “pazcki” doughnuts of Michigan. And there is pretty much a slice of pizza everywhere you go.

APJeb Bush in 2014.

“When you go to a diner or a coffee shop, you’d be surprised how often patrons will offer you a doughnut, a piece of pie, something that is deep-fried, has sugar on it,” said Kevin Madden, who was a frequent flier as a senior adviser to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

“At the Iowa State Fair, everything is deep-fried and on a stick. It’s hard to resist,” Madden said.

Bush has been known to stray on occasion from the diet. Sometimes in the evenings he’ll have a glass of wine, which is not Paleo compliant.

Just last week at a “politics and pies” event in New Hampshire, suddenly he was holding a plate with a slice of blueberry pie on it.

“To hell with the diet,” he said as he dove in. “Where are the french fries?”

But he’s trying hard.

Faced with a heaping pile of scrambled eggs, hash browns, and pancakes at a recent breakfast in Colorado, Bush snatched up the single slice of bacon on the plate and skipped the rest.

Nice try, Cordain said.

“He would be better off replacing the high-salt bacon with a grass-produced pork chop,” Cordain said.

Those around Bush find themselves eating the Paleo way when they’re with him because quite often that’s all that is available.

Dr. Staffan Lindeberg of the University of Lund in Sweden has done several studies of the Paleo diet. He said people report they were satisfied after eating fewer calories than on a standard diet.

But often, he said, Paleo dieters underestimate how many calories they’ve consumed so they might feel hungry again sooner than otherwise and need to eat again.

“I tell my patients they need to beware of that: If they start feeling hungry between meals and there are no healthy foods available, they might reach for the junk food,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Sharon Begley and Bill Berkrot in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)

This article originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

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Preventing Alzheimer’s: How to eat on the MIND diet

You’ve probably heard about the Mediterranean diet— an eating plan that emphasizes consuming vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, poultry, olive oil, and even wine in moderation—that has been shown to improve weight and even cardiovascular health. What may not have popped up on your radar yet is the MIND diet, which derives from the Mediterranean diet and shares many of its characteristics, including the ability to help reduce Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study compares how following three different diets— the Mediterranean diet, the MIND diet, and the popular DASH diet— can affect Alzheimer’s risk. The research followed nearly 1,000 senior men and women for about five years. Those who followed the Mediterranean diet saw the biggest benefit, with a 54 percent reduced risk of developing the disease, followed by the MIND diet, whose followers saw a 53 percent reduced risk, and the DASH diet users, who saw a 39 percent reduced risk. Those results were independent of factors like age, sex, physical activity or obesity.

The findings suggest that even modest changes like incorporating fruits and nuts over sweetened and refined energy bars for snacks, or an occasional fresh fish entrée with a side of leafy green vegetables, can mitigate some of the scourges associated with the modern Western diet. With appropriately less emphasis on the simply caloric constituents of our diet, we can be mindful of the fallacy of the calorie— and mindful well into our senior years.

But reaping the benefits of these dietary changes depends heavily on adherence, the study suggests. Participants who could not closely follow the DASH or Mediterranean diet didn’t see a decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s, but those who followed the MIND diet still saw a 35 percent risk reduction. Still, the Mediterranean diet appeared to be the easiest for users to follow,  with an adherence rate of about 57 percent, compared to 49 percent for the MIND diet and only 41 percent for the DASH diet.

That difference may depend on the dietary restrictions, and the ease with which users can follow them, of each eating plan. While the DASH approach imposes limits on daily consumption of calories, saturated fat and sodium, the MIND diet and Mediterranean diet don’t restrict classes of food, ingredients or the like. Consequently, these approaches appear to rank significantly higher in adherence compared to the DASH diet. Being able to follow the dietary guidelines suggested by any given method is critical: After all, Diets are useless if their recommendations are so unpalatable as to be intolerable.

The main way in which the MIND diet differs from the Mediterranean diet is that it emphasizes consumption of leafy greens and berries. A typical day following this way of eating is a dizzyingly delicious exploration of varied flavors and contrasting textures.

For those interested in trying the MIND diet, here’s a taste:

Poached Pears Topped with Frumenty, Dried Fruit and Nuts

A sample breakfast may include frumenty with nuts, fruit and kefir or yogurt served in a poached pear. Frumenty from the Mediterranean region is often made from boiling cracked bulgur durum wheat. This whole grain is served in a poached pear and additional fresh or dried fruits can be mixed in. The addition of kefir or yogurt brings the benefits of probiotics, while nuts add the healthful balance of fats common to the Mediterranean and MIND diets. The final product is a mouth-watering, hearty blend of crunchy, toasted nut flavors accentuated by mild fruit sweetness, which is surprisingly light on the palate.

Citrus Poached Shrimp Couscous Salad

A lunch dish consisting of citrus poached shrimp and couscous salad introduces the seafood component, common to both diets while emphasizing the leafy green vegetables encouraged in the MIND regimen and associated with neurocognitive preservation. Using Israeli or Mediterranean couscous with quinoa assures that highly refined wheat products like white bread, which are eschewed by both diets, are replaced by grain and seed choices high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. The delicate citrus kissed shrimp marries beautifully with the crisp, leafy greens by the application of a fine extra-virgin olive oil. The couscous and quinoa provide a slightly earthy and nutty framework to support this ethereal union.

Lemon Rosemary Pressed Chicken with Honey Mustard Greens and Lentils

The rosemary and lemon pressed chicken captures the Mediterranean roots of both programs. The chicken is marinated with herbs and spices as opposed to layer upon layer of sugar, salt and fat found in the modern Western diet. The poultry, beans and olive oil, also staples of both approaches, are served with the leafy greens specifically targeted in the MIND diet. Paired with the perfect wine this meal is the epitome of how delectable food can feed the body as well as the soul.

Honey Barley Fruit Tartlets

By serving the dessert as a small tartlet, there is built-in portion control. The 2,000-year-old recipe for honey barley cakes delivers more whole grains for dessert. Berries macerated with honey and wine provide that extra serving of ingredients uniquely highlighted by the MIND diet for their potency in preventing neurodegenerative decline. The only challenge with such a dessert, indeed with such a menu, is in limiting the servings! Food for thought, and preservation of thought, never tasted so good.

Michael S. Fenster, M.D., is a Board Certified Interventional Cardiologist and has published original cardiovascular research that has appeared in peer reviewed scientific and medical journals. He is the author of, “The Fallacy of the Calorie: Myths, Misdirections and Machinations of The Modern Western Diet,” which was a follow-up to his first book, “Eating Well, Living Better: The Grassroots Gourmet Guide to Good Health and Great Food.” Dr. Mike has served as a teacher, thought leader and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the North East Ohio University College of Medicine. He received his culinary degree in gourmet cooking and catering from Ashworth University.

A slimmer Bush seems intent on staying that way

Steak Tips Susanne, the $21 entree at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, arrived as a carefully composed plate: strips of sirloin, sautéed peppers and caramelized onions atop a bed of linguine with a side of garlic bread.

Then the dish underwent the Jeb Bush treatment. The garlic bread was instantly banished to the plate of a nearby aide. The pasta was conspicuously pushed aside.

A sympathetic guest at the table, convinced that Bush, 62, could not possibly be sated, offered him a piece of her salmon.

Was it true, the guest asked him, that a stomach shrinks during a diet, easing the pangs of hunger? Not at all, Bush replied.

“I am always hungry,” he said.

Bush is thinking of running for president. And he is starving.

As he prepares to challenge an almost universally younger and svelter field of Republican rivals, Bush has adopted a drastic weight-loss program that is melting away pounds at a staggering rate even as it inflicts an unhappy toll: regular bouts of dietary crankiness.

The monthslong experiment in deprivation — little to no starch, dairy or refined sugar, in adherence to the in-vogue Paleo diet — may seem extreme. But unlike a mountain-biking brother, and his still-trim nonagenarian father, Bush has long struggled to keep the pounds away, trying everything from climbing 22 flights of stairs a day to joining the low-carb Atkins craze of the early 2000s.

The rigid abstemiousness runs the risk of putting him at a dietary distance from an American electorate that still binges on carbohydrates and, after eight years of a tea-sipping president, craves a relatable eater-in-chief.

Breaking bread with Iowans? Try having almonds, Bush’s preferred high-protein snack food.

Bonding over hamburgers in New Hampshire? How about salad with grilled chicken, his monotonous go-to lunch.

During a meeting with veterans in Colorado Springs a few days ago, a thick stack of pancakes was placed in front of Bush at an IHOP, along with a second platter of eggs, bacon and hash browns. The veterans dug in. Bush left his breakfast untouched, to the disappointment of the restaurant’s staff.

So far, Bush has shown remarkable fidelity to the diet, inspired by the simple ingredients available to our Paleolithic ancestors, losing around 30 pounds since December, according to envious friends and close observers.

In South Florida, Bush’s culinary home base, his leaner 6-foot-4 frame is the source of constant conversation and speculation.

Nino Pernetti, the owner of Caffe Abbracci, a popular power-lunch spot in Coral Gables, Florida, where Murano glass sculptures stud the walls and Miami politicians fill the seats, noticed the changes immediately (an untouched bread basket; a less jowly face).

But, bound by what he said was the unspoken diplomacy of an Italian restaurateur, he dutifully delivers Bush’s sautéed branzino with clams and mussels (hold the risotto) without commentary.

“You don’t want to say, ‘A year ago you were chubby,'” he said.

“You say nothing,” he added. “Of course I see it. I notice it.”

Old friends have dispensed with the etiquette. “It’s really working,” said Al Cardenas, a longtime Bush confidant and adviser.

So well, in fact, that Bush has started buying a new wardrobe to replace oversize shirts and having wide pants that no longer fit his diminished figure taken in. Besides following the Paleo diet, Bush is subjecting himself to almost daily sessions on a treadmill or laps in a pool, aided by a successful knee operation recently.

This is not, of course, Bush’s inaugural stab at slimming down.

“I went through several different diet phases” with Bush and his wife, said Josh Butler, the executive chef at the governor’s mansion during Bush’s tenure (among them: a vegetable phase).

One spring, he tried giving up breakfast and lunch for Lent, telling a constituent that the lengthy sacrifice left him famished.

Those who know Bush say he is refreshingly candid and, for a man in public life, self-deprecating about his difficult relationship with weight.

“He’s been very open about his own struggles,” said Art Smith, a Chicago chef and author who has cooked for Bush family events in the past.


Not even schoolchildren were spared Bush’s frankness. As governor, he received a stream-of-consciousness email from Matthew Ross, a middle school student who wondered whether Bush liked pizza. “Mom and me had pizza for dinner. We like Little Caesars,” Matthew explained.

“I love pizza,” Bush wrote back, “but I am too old and fat to eat it often.”

In Tallahassee, he confronted the endless sugary temptations of a state government office: doughnuts, sheet cakes and holiday candies. Bush insisted on jogging up and down the stairs in the Capitol, daring lawmakers and aides to join him.

The invitation was not always welcome. As they chatted in a Capitol hallway, Bush once asked Dominic M. Calabro, the ample-bodied president of Florida TaxWatch, to tackle the steps with him. Calabro demurred.

“Jeb,” he said, “you don’t have enough liability insurance.”


At the governor’s mansion, Bush and his wife, Columba, requested a menu of lighter fare, recalled Butler, now a chef at Zac Brown’s Southern Ground, a restaurant and social club in Senoia, Georgia.

Butler recalled the Bush family’s typical daily intake: oatmeal and fruit for breakfast; roasted fish atop a salad with oranges and fennel for lunch; Mexican meatballs in a tomato sauce for dinner; fruit sorbet for dessert.

Butler spoke admiringly of Bush’s recent weight loss, but he admitted to feeling sensitive about Bush’s comparative heft when the governor was under his culinary watch. “People say the chef fattened him up,” Butler said. “I tried to make their meals as nutritious as possible.”

The new diet has seemingly blacklisted two of Bush’s favorite Mexican dishes: enchiladas and chilaquiles, a shredded tortilla dish that his wife loves. But Bush is the first to acknowledge that he occasionally cheats. He confesses to a weakness for wine, a calorie-laden no-no for Paleo-ites.

During his campaign swing through New Hampshire last week, Bush held up a plump slice of blueberry pie on a paper plate for every last camera to see. Then he slid a plastic fork into it.

“Hell with the diet,” he declared mischievously. “Where are the french fries?”

Bush, however, did not finish the slice.



Jeb Bush Drops Pounds With The Paleo Diet — But Is It Healthy?

Jeb Bush Drops Pounds With The Paleo Diet — But Is It Healthy?

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has embraced the “caveman style” of eating to lose weight. (Photo: Getty Images)

Even politicians are going Paleo.

And for Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and potential U.S. presidential candidate, it’s helped him achieve weight loss.

Bush, 62, has lost around 30 pounds since December by abiding by the Paleo diet, which is based off the foods ancient humans supposedly used to eat. It involves consuming lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, and avoiding processed foods, refined sugar, dairy, and cereal grains. The diet is especially popular among those in the CrossFit community, but it’s also gained steam among the general public.  

Of course, it’s no secret that the campaign trail is the opposite of a healthy food crawl. Doughnuts, pie, and deep-fried foods are often waiting at every diner or coffee shop a candidate makes a stop at, Reuters reported. But Bush has been eating grilled chicken salads for lunch, and his snacks of choice include nuts and seeds. 

However, as The New York Times points out, the diet isn’t exactly leaving Bush’s stomach satisfied: “I am always hungry,” he said. 

But is the Paleo diet actually a good option for weight loss?  

“It all depends on where they’re coming from. If someone is eating McDonald’s and ice cream every day and they move to a clean Paleo diet, they will lose weight very fast,” nutritionist Keri Glassman, MS, RN, CDN, founder of Nutritious Life, tells Yahoo Health. “If someone already eats clean, the results won’t be as fast, but it will still be effective.” 

There hasn’t been a ton of research on the Paleo diet. Some small, short-term studies show possible heart and weight loss benefits, but don’t address the effects of following the diet over the long-term. 

“I don’t think of it as a quick fix; most people adopt Paleo as a lifestyle and stick with the principles of it,” Glassman says. “Many things about Paleo are great, and it is extreme for some people, but it includes many things everyone can follow like focusing on healthy fats, vegetables, high-quality lean protein, no sugar or process packaged foods.” 

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