Elizabeth Kucinich keeps up the vegan battle in the House cafeteria

Kucinich was on hand Monday to add a bit more green to the grub offered at the Capitol, as more than 200 congressional staffers poured into the Capitol Visitor Center to check out the good-for-you goodies at a lunchtime reception. The newly formed Vegetarian Caucus and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine hosted the food-filled event, which included snacks such as kale chips and vegan cupcakes from Sticky Fingers bakery.

While Kucinich, the director of public affairs for the Physicians Committee, touts the benefits of a plant-based diet, she says she understands lawmakers and staffers who have a love affair with their carnivorous side. Kucinich, who went vegan eight years ago, was still hooked on one particular food item when she met her future hubby: “When I first met him, the thing that I really loved was to eat pork. But not pork, I used to love eating the fat. I could do without the meat. I just loved the fat ... covered in tons of salt.”

Now her edible obsession of choice? “Kale. It’s really sad,” she says with a laugh. “And it’s really interesting how the body switches.”

John Pierre, who has trained celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, says the pair isn’t pushing for anyone to give up their favorite foods — just to add healthier options in.

“I think they have a very stressful job and they’re prematurely aging,” he says of lawmakers. A plant-based diet, he contends, “helps counteract the aging process.”

He added, “If you cut an apple in half, it starts to brown. If you cut an apple in half and squeeze lemon juice on there, it stays. And that’s the high level of antioxidants in the lemon.”

Kucinich insists that when giving the body the chance to eat healthy, bad eating habits can melt away (even when you’re tempted by pork fat) — and says some of the cravings “completely disappear.”

Photos: Greg Nash