When Bill Clinton revealed back in September that he had embraced a "mostly" vegan diet (no animal products; with the exception of the occasional fish), people were intrigued. The former president's daughter is a vegan and it was well-known that he had lost a lot of weight at her request before her big wedding last summer.

During an interview, the 64-year-old said that he eats a lot of fruit and veggies, along with almond milk.

"I'm trying to be one of those experimenters," he said. "Since 1986, several hundred people who have tried essentially a plant-based diet — not ingesting any cholesterol from any source — have seen their bodies start to heal themselves; break up the arterial blockage, break up the calcium deposits around the heart. 82 percent of people who have done this have had the result, so I want to see if I can be one of them."

For his part in spreading the word, PETA announced yesterday that Clinton is being honored with the 2010 Person of the Year Award.

“Bill Clinton won not only because he’s the most prominent person to go vegan this year but also because he used his platform to articulate the reasons why a plant-based diet is the most healthy diet,” says PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews. “And of course, it doesn’t hurt that he has Chelsea’s lead to follow. She went vegan at 10, though her motivation was simply not wanting to support cruelty to animals.”

Whether Clinton sticks with the diet is anyone's guess, but he certainly feels energized more than in the past; especiall when it comes to his body. “It changed my whole metabolism and I lost 24 pounds, and I got back to basically what I weighed in high school,” he said.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

PETA's Person of the Year is Bill Clinton
Former president recognized for his work in spreading the word about the health merits of a plant-based diet.