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Fit In My Genes

I first heard of Dean Ornish not long after I had a triple bypass in February of 2009. I remember asking my then cardiologist about Ornish’s dietary program. He told me that wasn’t necessary and that I should just eat a balanced diet. What I believe he meant was that it wouldn’t do any good. About a year a and a half later, after graft failure, new blockages, a diagnosis of not only advanced cardiovascular disease, but advanced peripheral vascular disease as well, I was enjoying life  within the confines of my physical limits. I could clearly see an advancement of disease and had been dismissed by that original cardiologist to just enjoy what time I had left.

Then a good friend heard of plant-based eating and called me. A few days later, my brother-in-law called and said he’d seen Bill Clinton on CNN talking about the same eating plan. I looked up Dean Ornish on-line. I read of him and others who believed that heart disease, even advanced disease like I have, could be stopped and even reversed by eliminating fat from the diet. They even have studies to back up their claims, including imaging of constricted coronary arteries who have widened. They claim results can be seen and felt in only a few weeks. This is not a diet to stay on until you lose the weight or lower the cholesterol.

I’m not talking about the low-fat diet recommended by the American Heart association.

This is an extreme absence of the standard American manner of cooking and eating.

I, whose favorite food is milk chocolate, and my spouse Lee (Lisa), decided in what now feels like the blink of an eye, to drastically alter the way we cook and eat.

So, I ordered three books.

1. Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish, by Dean Ornish. M.D.

2. The Spectrum, A Scietnifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose weight, Gain Health, by Dean Ornish. M.D.

3. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.

There are many more books on the subject and these even two doctors don’t completely agree on the best approach. What they do agree on though is that the more severe the disease, the more extreme the elimination of fats should be from the diet. My hope is to at least stop the progression of the disease. I would love to be able to take a walk again though.

Lee’s goal is to support me, lose weight and gain health. She has Systemic Lupus which causes chronic pericarditis along with other effects of the chronic inflammation of an autoimmune disease.

We began the the program October 2, 2010.

3. Update Janury 28, 2012

Cover of "The China Study: The Most Compr...

Cover via Amazon

The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. with Thomas M. Campbell II, MD

The front cover quotes Dena Ornish, MD

“Everyone in the field of nutrition science stands on the shoulders of Dr. Campbell, who is one of the giants in the field. This is one of the most important books about nutrition ever written- reading it may save your life.”

If you think a plant based diet is only for those with heart disease, think again.


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