Typical Western Diet, Typical Western Disease
Stacey Miller is editor of ADVANCE for Hearing Practice Management
Watching a PowerPoint presentation isn't the most exciting way to spend a night in front of the TV, but I've found myself in this scenario since discovering various TED Talks on Netflix.
If you're unfamiliar with TED Talks, it works like this: TED, an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a nonprofit organization that describes its missions as "devoted to ideas worth spreading." During various events and conferences throughout the year, speakers are invited to present on a topic of their expertise. In fact, they're told to "give the talk of their life (in 18 minutes of less)." The end products are usually educational speeches, so entertaining you may find yourself watching one after another in your living room.
I recently watched one that is a perfect fit for February - National Heart Health Month. In his TED Talk, Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., MD, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, presented findings from his research on the impact of plant-based diet on heart disease.
He argues heart disease is actually a "foodborne illness," "a toothless paper tiger that needn't exist."
When he started to examine cardiovascular disease through a global lens, he saw low rates in countries where the people ate mostly plant-based diets. Back in Cleveland in the early 1990s, he took 24 patients with heart disease and put them on this diet. Within 15 months, he started to see striking results in the vascular lab and on angiograms: arteries were no longer blocked and patients' health was improving. This study, he points out, was conducted before the invention of statin drugs, now the common way for doctors to lower cholesterol.
The study, he says, proved "with nutrition we can not only halt this disease, we can reverse it."
"It's striking to see what actually can happen when you give the body every opportunity it can, the healing capacity is incredible," he tells the audience.
Various foods, he points out, destroys the endothelium, a thin layer of cells inside the arteries. They include oils, fish, poultry, dairy, meat, caffeine and coffee - "anything with a mother or a face."
"When you eat a typical Western diet, you'll get a typical Western disease," he says.
Foods you should eat, he says, are whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables - "green leafy vegetables are like water on the fire."
Conventional cardiology, he says, is expensive, has high mortality and morbidity, and doesn't cure the disease. "When you're treating causality with plant-based nutrition, there's no mortality, no morbidity and the benefits improve with time."
It's remarkable to think the leading cause of death in women in the U.S. can be treated with a few changes in the kitchen. If I were someone in need of intervention for heart disease, I'd go on a vegan diet. Just look at Bill Clinton!
Until then, in an effort to stave off heart disease, I'll continue exercising and following the diet a dietitian friend of mine once suggested - anything is fine, in moderation.
Share your thoughts! Do you know anyone who has gone vegan to reverse heart disease?