I continue to be amazed by the wealth of information in every stage of Dr T Colin Campbell's Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition. As I approach the end of stage 3, I have enjoyed lectures from (obviously) Dr Campbell, but also Dr McDougall, Dr Esselstyn, Dr Popper, Jeff Novick, RD, and many other experts in nutrition and even environmental and sports science. Every single lecture has vital information for improving your health.
Here's the next in the series of my answers to course discussion questions:
A common approach to dietary change includes the combined strategies of moderation and incremental progress: resisting overindulgence while taking small steps toward a dietary goal.
Dr. Esselstyn is unsympathetic to this approach, and with doctors who say his approach is too extreme. According to him, "moderation kills."
A close friend has heart disease. He is willing to consider altering his diet, but his cardiologist tells him his condition could be easily managed with medication, and the friend is concerned about missing out on all that is good (and fatty) in life. Without giving medical advice, discuss his options with him, as you see them.
It must be a real shock to find out you have heart disease - what a difficult time for you and your whole family.
I'm sure it's a relief when your cardiologist tells you your heart disease is easily manageable by medication and some small changes in your diet. You might also want to talk with your doctor about another proven treatment option recommended by other heart disease experts, including Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.
On the one hand, using medication and moderation will get you a bit better. You will be able to return to an almost normal lifestyle, and when you have pains, you know that you can take your medication. Your cardiologist knows that you will probably not return to the hospital for some time with further heart disease symptoms, and that is one marker of success. But statistics show that you will return eventually.
A comment from the editor of the Harvard Heart Letter shows the usual medical attitude toward heart disease: “The best that can be hoped for in this disease is to slow the rate of progression.”
On the other hand, the cause of your heart disease is already known, and you could actually heal it yourself - for life.
When anybody eats fatty foods, their blood vessels harden almost immediately and blood can’t get through to deliver oxygen. Heart disease is the damage to your body from years of a high-fat diet several times a day. Everyone in the USA who eats meat and eggs, or drinks milk, or uses oil, has this damage to their blood vessels by they time they reach adulthood. But this damage is reversible, simply by eating low fat plant based foods like grains, beans, fruits and vegetables instead of animal foods like meat, eggs, milk, and by avoiding oil.
People of all ages and stages of heart disease have regained blood flow throughout their bodies by changing their diets to low fat plant based foods like grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. If a 75-year-old who had a 248 cholesterol level can drop to 137 in 2 weeks, you have a great chance too.
In one of Dr Esselstyn’s studies, 18 patients had suffered 49 coronary problems (strokes, angina, surgery) prior to starting his program. 17 of them had no further coronary problems in 12 years! Whereas the six patients in Dr Esselstyn’s study who returned to their cardiologists for standard treatment had 13 new coronary events between them – and one of those “events” was death.
When you stop damaging your blood vessels with fats and oils, your amazing body sets to work and repairs the cells very quickly - within weeks. And you'll probably lose weight as well.
I don't have heart disease symptoms, but I did lose a lot of weight with this way of eating, and it really changes what you can do with your body. It may sound weird to give up so many familiar foods that your own doctor says you can still eat, but just imagine: life with no more angina pains.
And it’s not just your heart that improves. Your whole body needs oxygen from blood. How you would feel: lighter and with blood carrying oxygen to your heart and brain and arms and legs again like it should? Imagine staving off senile dementia and lack of muscle control that so many aging people suffer due to reduced blood flow to the brain.
Imagine who you would be again, to your children and grandchildren. Imagine not fearing that return trip to the hospital (or fearing that you won't even make it to the hospital). And all this while still enjoying some of your favourite meals but using different recipes - you can still have hot pizza and Mexican bean burritos!
If you want to read more about this other option, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr has all the information and references you need. I'd love to see you cured of your heart disease.