There Is a Way to Help Avoid Heart Disease and Diabetes: You Are What You Eat!
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KF: Can it be stopped or even reversed?
CE: Yes. First we must look at the lessons learned from cultures where there is a virtual absence of coronary artery heart disease such as rural China, the Papua Highlands of New Guinea, Central Africa, and the Tarahumara Indians of Northern Mexico. Their nutrition is plant based without oil.
Beginning in 1985 I initiated a study of seriously ill coronary artery disease patients. Their nutrition became plant based without oil. Their cholesterol levels plummeted. Their angina disappeared. Their weight dropped. I have reported this study at 5 years, 12 years, and 16 years, in the peer reviewed scientific literature and again beyond 20 years in my book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. In some of the patients we had follow up angiograms (x-rays) of previously blocked arteries demonstrating striking disease reversal, which is a testament to my often quoted statement "The truth be known coronary artery disease is a toothless paper tiger that need never exist and if it does exist it need never progress." The greatest gift to these patients is the increasing recognition that they are the locus of control for their disease - not some pill or procedure. They have made themselves heart attack proof and lose the greatest fear of all heart patients and their families - when will the next heart attack occur?
KF: What about drugs, stents, and heart bypass surgery?
CE: Admittedly in the midst of a heart attack a stent or bypass may be live saving, however, for the remaining 90% studies confirm that they do not prevent future heart attacks or prolong life. They are associated with significant complications such as hemorrhage, heart attack, stroke, cognitive decline, depression, and death. The benefits erode with the passage of time as the stents and bypasses may themselves develop blockage.
Some drugs may decrease blood pressure and the heart workload. Others interfere with clotting which helps a stent remain open. Statin drugs lower cholesterol. None of these drugs or interventions addresses the basic causation of disease and not surprisingly the disease progresses with the need for more drugs, stents, and repeat bypasses.
KF: Why aren't physicians using nutrition therapy?
CE: Most physicians have no training or understanding of the power of nutrition. In a busy practice they would not have the time for it. It is my belief that physicians must accord the plant based lifestyle transition its due. Every patient with cardiovascular disease should be referred to a physician or nurse practitioner with the knowledge and expertise in these counseling skills.
KF: But I understand physicians don't believe patients will make this transition. How come?
CE: Nutrition counseling is a skill which physicians don't possess. Of all the encounters a patient with cardiovascular disease experiences, perhaps the least time and lowest priority is nutritional counseling. I see many patients with heart disease who recount that nutrition was never even mentioned. It is therefore unlikely that the patient feels that nutrition is important.
KF: What is that you do differently?
CE: In an intensive 5 hour counseling session for a group of heart patients, my first priority is to eliminate the mystery of what causes their disease. It has not been stress, or genes. It is their western diet of processed oil, dairy, and meat. Hypertension, diabetes, and smoking must be controlled but food trumps all. I spend at least an hour defining the protective role of endothelial cells and nitric oxide functioning as the ultimate guardians of our blood vessels. They quickly understand that their lifetime of ingesting these harmful products has totally overwhelmed and destroyed their endothelium to an extent where it is unable to protect them. They fully grasp that they must forever eliminate ingesting foods that will further destroy their already compromised endothelium. They understand heart disease is a food borne illness.