You’d never guess what Google’s top-trending question about Bernie Sanders was in Iowa last night.
As news trickled in about the caucuses, which Sanders barely lost to Hillary Clinton, Iowans weren’t so interested in who Sanders was, what he supports or how his campaign is faring.
They wanted to know what he eats. Specifically, they wanted to know if he is a vegan.
For anyone curious, no, Sanders is not a vegan. He sticks to a mostly meat-and-vegetables diet, according to a Jan. 20 People magazine profile. His stepdaughter Carina Driscoll might have put it best: “He was Paleo before Paleo was a thing,” she told People.
Sanders has also been treated for gout, according to his doctor, a condition sometimes tied to over-consumption of meat. He even wrote the foreword to a 2010 book called “Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat.” (People notes that Sanders likes to grill.)
So where did all the questions come from?
It’s a bit of a mystery. Sure, there’s been some talk about Sanders’s record on animal welfare. He received a perfect score from the Humane Society Legislative Fund last year. And eight days ago, a Reddit user mentioned that he as a “history of pro-animal voting.” The post now has 99 comments.
But there are just as many Internet users worried about Big Government Veganism:
Could some of this explain the sudden rush of interest in Bernie’s diet? It’s hard to say.
We’ll leave you with excerpts from Sanders’s Good Meat foreword, where he endorses organic, local food production:
“In my view, the challenge that we now face, in terms of food production, is to break up the dangerous concentration of ownership that exists in agriculture and the food industry, and do everything we can to protect and expand family-based organic and local food production.”
And makes no bones about the fact he likes eating meat:
“Some of the recipes in this book preserve the wonderful rich flavor of good meat, the kind of meat our great-grandparents took for granted, but which years of factory farming have displaced. Some of the recipes address the fact that good beef is leaner than what we are accustomed to — and, interestingly, good pork is fattier. Some of the recipes teach us to use cuts of meat we don’t encounter at the supermarket: Yes, there are wonderful recipes for chuck steak and leg of lamb, but there are also recipes for the parts of the animal that get made into bologna and hot dogs in conventional meat processing … Good Meat draws on a wide array of cooking traditions … to show us how, as we eat more healthily and sustainably, we can also cook, and eat, with great delight.”