Reading Time: 3 minutes Bassem Youssef transformed his health and physique on a plant-based diet (Photo: Bassem Youssef)
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Comedian, physician, surgeon and TV host Bassem Youssef has revealed to Plant Based News the heartbreaking reason he adopted a plant-based diet – and how whole foods have changed his life.

Youssef, who has been dubbed the ‘Jon Stewart of the Arab World’, recently shared his physical transformation with his 3.4 million Instagram followers.

In recent years, the doctor has dropped pounds, become more active, and improved his general overall health on a whole foods plant-based diet.

Going plant-based

Youssef told PBN that he originally went plant-based after a friend of his was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

“I was devastated,” he told PBN. “Because I knew as a doctor that MS is the bogeyman of medicine.”

His friend started looking at nutrition, watching documentaries like Forks Over Knives, and told Youssef about the work of plant-based doctors, like Dr. Greger and Dr. Esselstyn among others

“That’s what made me make the switch, and I instantly felt much better,” he told PBN. “It was a great experience, not because of losing weight, but because of the byproducts of losing weight.”

Feeling the difference

These primarily included becoming more active, and having more energy. He added: “I feel good. You feel the difference if you cheat some days, if you’re traveling for example, and you can’t find any options, you feel the bloat, and it stays there. I’m much more energetic, I have a much better and more comfortable life, no more constipation.”

As part of his new lifestyle, Youssef undertakes physical activity. He revealed: “I am very active. I| work out five to six times a week. I recently increased my workouts, changed it a little bit – I do a lot of lifting.”

‘Enjoying my journey’

Discussing his plant-based transformation on Instagram, Youssef shared images of himself, taken six years apart. He wrote: “This month I will be 46 years old. Do I have a perfect body? No? Do I have flaws? Absolutely. But I work on it and I try to improve everyday.

“The difference between these two photos is six years. I was younger but not healthy. I had bad eating habits. Do I look good every day? No, but I try within my travels and my busy life and being a father to make it. I am trying to tell people you can still be healthy and athletic on a good plant-based diet.

“There will always be trolls out there and there will always be people who put you down and tell you that you are not good enough while sitting on their fat asses trolling other people. There are people who are half my age and have an opinion about what I eat and how I look while they are aging terribly. Don’t be bothered by those trolls. Work on yourself. I am not there yet, but I am still working and meanwhile, I am enjoying my journey. Enjoy yours.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.