This posting is for readers who wonder why I don’t eat butter because “butta has a mudda.” About two months ago at the recommendation of my uncle, I read the book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. In this book Dr. Esselstyn, a surgeon and researcher who worked at the Cleveland Clinic for thirty-five years, focuses on a study of patients with advanced coronary artery disease. Under his care, these patients changed their diets to all plant-based foods while staying on low dose cholesterol-lowering medications. The goal was to reduce cholesterol levels to below 150mg/dL and see how it impacted their health. The result was the arrest of coronary artery disease. How did they do it? They didn’t eat anything with a mother (mudda) or a face, no dairy and no oil. They ate legumes, whole grain products, fruits and vegetables.
Now, I don’t have advanced coronary artery disease, but two years ago my total cholesterol was high and I worked on diet and exercise with the goal of lowering it. Imagine my shock when a year later my numbers were up! My total cholesterol was 264! So I worked even harder following the current conventional wisdom on lowering cholesterol levels. About six weeks before I was due to have my blood work done, I read the doctor’s book and started following a fat free vegan diet. I had nothing to lose but some of my total cholesterol, right? Soon after I began eating this way, I was feeling better; I lost weight and dramatically lowered my numbers. Here’s MY proof. I went from a total cholesterol of 264 to 191, lowering it by 73 points, and a LDL of 187 to 126, lowering it by 61 points.
My goal is to lower my total cholesterol to below 150mg/dL and my LDL to below 80mg/dL (you'll have to read the book to understand why those numbers are so significant). Since then, I’ve read other books in support of this way of eating. Lately I have been following Dr. Esselstyn's son’s diet which is very similar (more about that later), but gives me a few more options and makes it easier for my family to enjoy eating this way.
If you are struggling with diet and exercise to lower your total cholesterol and LDL numbers I strongly urge you to read this book. I am grateful to my Uncle Gene for finding this book, practicing the diet himself with impressive results and for his gentle encouragement of my own efforts. I’m not perfect, but I’m getting better. I’ve strayed, but I have no desire to return to my old omnivore ways. I love this way of eating and I think you will too. Get the book and read it for yourself. Your views on the connection between food and health will be changed forever.