Wanna be prime minister? Go vegan (like Boris)?

June 19, 2019 6:47 am Published by Leave your thoughts

It’s not, in truth, apparent whether Boris Johnson has gone properly vegan. And of course, it’s not apparent whether he will yet become prime minister. But without dodging the question entirely, it’s clear that there are some dietary changes afoot in Team Boris – perhaps designed to help ease him into the top job?

Fancy becoming a world leader? Do you need to go vegan - like Boris?

In recent months, he’s got a new hairstyle, a new girlfriend and a slightly different physique. He has, it’s reported, started ‘eating vegan’, and has ditched alcohol.

It’s all a bit different from the situation ten years ago, when he took part in an interview with the Guardian and Observer about his eating habits:

“I think all food is delicious. I just can’t understand why people go on and on about it, especially restaurant critics. I mean, food is good, isn’t it? My favourite thing is probably bangers, mash and mustard, with red wine. I do drink quite a lot of wine: red, white, or champagne. It doesn’t matter if it’s expensive or not because all wine is good.”

He went on to explain his ferocious exercise regime of that period: ‘I just wander around with a newspaper’, and then documented his various meals, dropping in trademarked names with abandon. Cold spaghetti and leftover chops for breakfast. I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, Betty Crocker cakes, vast quantities of Diet Coke, and a few chocolate croissants mid-morning to ‘keep the wolf from the door’.

It’s fair to say that coming up with a healthier diet – if that is indeed what she has done – probably wasn’t too difficult for his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, a known conservationist with an interest in animal and planetary welfare.

The New Boris

Writing in The Spectator 10 years on , Boris revealed that the ‘late-night binges of chorizo and cheese’ are gone. So too are the wine and champagne. Here’s his new start to the day:

“I breakfast like some Georgian hermit on porridge with a luxury sprinkling of nuts.’

And the end:

“At drinks parties I guzzle water”

And thus he has lost ‘12lb in two weeks’, become lither and more agile, with keener sight and a renewed vigour.

“Is it working? You bet it is.”

Did he make a link between his new physique and Brexit? You bet he did.

Is this real veganism?

But has he really become vegan? And if so, is it a full conversion? Probably not – but in this, he’s in good company. In recent years the term ‘vegan’ has begun to be used in a different way. From being an overarching ethical standpoint, and full-on lifestyle, it’s become (in some quarters) something you can opt in or out of at will. So you might decide, like Boris, to ‘eat vegan’ for a couple of weeks – or over the course of a weekend – or even just for a couple of meals every week. You might, in doing so, describe yourself as a ‘relaxed vegan’, an ‘occasional vegan’ or a ‘chegan’ (cheating vegan). (More ‘militant’ vegans tend to have other words to describe these people.) It’s rather like being ‘a bit Catholic’ on a Friday if you feel like eating fish, but not having to bother with a lengthy mass on a Sunday if you’d rather go out for the day.

And many full-on vegans couldn’t be happier with this new trend. Get people to dip a toe in the water of veganism, they argue, and you’ll soon have them diving into it with enthusiasm. Forget about labels and strict rules: the ultimate aim is for people to avoid animal products. If they end up playing a few games in order to reach that goal, it doesn’t much matter in the long run. For some vegans, ‘cheganism’ is the future – and the best hope – of veganism.

There’s also been a shift in reasons for becoming vegan. Previously, a move to veganism tended to be all about animal welfare. Nowadays, it’s just as likely to have a basis in an attempt at weight loss, or in environmental concerns.

(Note that the latter may not be the case with Boris – though one can never be certain, of course. Back in 2008 again, in an article for The Telegraph responding to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report recommending that people reduce their meat intake, he wrote:

“If they seriously believe that I am going to give up eating meat – in the hope of reducing the temperature of the planet – then they must be totally barmy.” )

Wanna be prime minister yourself?


Let’s move on from Boris to some other political figures. There are some world leaders (past and present) who are – or were – vegetarian or vegan. Not all of them are to be emulated, however, and not all of them meet the requirements of full vegetarianism or veganism.

Let’s leave Adolf Hitler out of it for now. Look instead at Narendra Modi, vegetarian prime minister of India (although some doubts persist as to the precise type of vegetarianism he espouses, as they do with various former ‘vegetarian’ prime ministers of Israel). Quite definitely vegan, however, was Janez Drnovšek, late prime minister and president of Slovenia and reportedly the first ever vegan political leader of a country. At times, and in certain places, the Dalai Lama is also vegetarian. And at the other end of our own political spectrum from Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn is a dedicated vegetarian.

Veganism-in-leadership is a fairly new thing. But could it be the future? Perhaps you fancy the thought of one day throwing your own hat into the political ring? If so, you might like to get in training right now with Naturally Good Food’s range of vegan products!


Here’s what we can offer to vegan-would-be-leaders:

Naturally Good Food leads the pack for vegan products. Just possibly, we can also help some of you lead the country!

Naturally Good Reads v2

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This post was written by Yzanne

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