If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve no doubt noticed my infidelities to this diet. I’m not going to lie and pretend this has been “a piece of cake” (wish I could have one), but I do want you to know that the more compliant I am, the better I feel. I have no desire to return to my omnivore ways. Still, at times, it’s been difficult. Recently I received an email from my uncle in which he wrote about the benefits of this diet and making the transition to it. I found it valuable, and with his permission decided to post it. I hope you will find it helpful too.
Several recent articles, in journals ranging from The Lancet to Parade Magazine, have discussed endothelial inflammation as the root cause of heart disease. Since Dr. Esselstyn noted that in his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, it might be timely to review the basics of the Esselstyn program. Here is what he says: “Plant-based nutrition is the only diet that can effectively prevent, stop and reverse heart disease; it also offers protection against stroke, diabetes, senile mental impairment, and cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, rectum, uterus and ovaries.”
Some people have objected to the whole diet, as unproven or not scientific, or simply not acceptable. We are, of course, all engaged in a gigantic experiment in terms of health and longevity, and we literally will not live to see the results! But let me say this in favor of the program: most of us were “habituated” to a diet that included far more fat and far more sugar than was good for us. The transition to a healthier diet may well be difficult, but it may also be surprisingly smooth. Once you cure your taste buds of their love for fat and sugar, vegetables, both those well known and those with whom you might make new acquaintance, become remarkably tasty.
One of my medical research friends from the University likes to say: “remember, data is just the plural of anecdote.” (He commented that several research projects he worked on, derived from off-the-cuff comments from his patients.) We may have only anecdotal evidence, the comments by the individuals we know who adopt a healthier diet, but as the evidence accumulates, as lipid numbers improve, as people feel and act healthier, the anecdotes become data.
For those in transition, a few tips from a recent Consumer Reports on Health about what to order at your favorite restaurants may be helpful. At Olive Garden, try Linguine Alla Marinara, for 1 gram of fat; at P.F. Chang’s try Buddha’s Feast Lunch Bowl, 1 gram of fat; at Macaroni Grill, try Seafood Linguine, 2 grams of fat; at Boston Market, try White Rotisserie Chicken, No Skin, for 0 grams of fat. At Chili’s, try Guiltless Grill Honey-Mustard Glazed Salmon, 1 gram of fat, and if you eat at Bob Evans, try Potato-Crusted Flounder, 4 grams of fat.
Of course, Dr. Esselstyn insists that the more compliant you are, the more vegan you are, the better your results will be. For those who have any doubts about their good health, or for those who want to see if they can adapt to a diet that has a number of anecdotal recommendations, you might look up the website, www.heartattackproof.com. People fear they will not be able to give up their long-standing commitments to bagels with cream cheese, or pepperoni pizza, or whatever. But if you re-educate your taste buds, old favorites may give way to a whole new way of eating, which just might be a whole lot healthier…
My sincere thanks to my Uncle Gene