Hear Exactly How Penn Jillette Made 100 Pounds Go Poof

Would you believe it involves potatoes?

October 5, 2016 9:00 am

Penn Jillette has a big mouth. Chances are, if you’ve seen the erstwhile magician outside of Vegas (perhaps on YouTube?), he was declaiming — on atheism, Islamophobia, politics, etc. — rather than pulling rabbits from hats: 

Sometimes his speechifying is edifying. Other times — well, the man’s a fundamentalist (“Christianity is wrong — I believe that like I believe I breathe”), and your opinion probably depends on whether you agree with him or not. 

Jillette enters fresh, less political territory with his new book, Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales. The title explains why Penn Jillette no longer looks like himself (or what we thought he looked like) — and the result is a nuanced, barebones report on one man’s transition from omnivore to whole-plant disciple, no longer seduced by chicken, hamburger, or steak. 

The short answer to Jillette’s substantial weight loss is simple: a two-week, perhaps surprisingly potato-centric cleanse, followed by a plant-based diet. The bigger story — about his motivation for losing weight and the success he found in dieting — is surprising affecting, even if you’re the God-fearing type he’s routinely denounced. The video below begins that story, and it’s well worth watching. 

Photo by Mitch Haaseth © NBCUniversal, Inc

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