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Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The…

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically… (2007)

by Caldwell B. Esselstyn

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(As background music for this review, I suggest "I'm a believer" by The Monkees)

I'm a nutrition information junkie. My interest started back in the 1970's with Adelle Davis's books Get Well and Eat Right. When Linus Pauling was big on Vitamin C, I was too. For many years, I kept a food journal, ate 2000 calories a day, and maintained my high school weight. In recent years, I've tried to include the Super Foods in my diet....salmon, walnuts, broccoli, berries...you know the drill. And I didn't smoke. And after my mid-40's, I rarely drank.

Then, two years ago, at age 62 (the same age that my father died of a coronary) I had a heart attack. My "widowmaker" artery was 97% blocked. A week later, I received a triple bypass. My recovery has gone well, but...life is not all "happy ever after" once one receives a bypass. Often, vessels reclog, and stents are required. For some, a second bypass is needed...after three years, or five years, or ten.

So last year, when Wolf Blitzer interviewed President Clinton regarding his heart disease, I listened closely. Clinton reported that he had researched extensively for a diet to prevent a reoccurence of his illness. He acknowledged that he was now, for all purposes, a vegan. A big change for Big Mac Bill. One of the doctors he mentioned as a mentor was Caldwell Esselstyn, the author of this book.

Esselstyn's dietary recommendations to REVERSE heart disease require a change in nutritional lifestyle. A radical change.

No Meat.
No Fish.
No Dairy.
No Nuts.
No oil...not even olive oil.

What can one eat?

Greens, beans, grains, and fruits. What you say? Only? You would be amazed to learn how easy it is to cook without oil, and how many delicious meal combinations are possible with "only" greens, beans, grains, and fruits. There are, for example, some tips on food items, like Red Pepper Hummus, Glen Muir Portabello Mushroom sauce, Bragg's Amino Acids, and Almond and Oatmeal milk, that go a long way towards making this low-fat vegan diet seem familiar.

Esselstyn, 77, is no diet gimmick quack. He has a long record as a leading surgeon at the world class Cleveland Clinic. He began his research into the role of plant based diets 25 years ago with a select group of middle-aged heart patients who had been given dire prognosises by their cardiologists. Little more, it seemed, could be done for them. Twenty-five years later, 17 or those 18 patients are still alive. I attended a presentation, last month, in Cleveland, by Esselstyn and his wife, where at one of those patients spoke. The woman, who had the grimmest prognosis of the lot, decades ago, was now in her 80's and in glowing health. (A close facsimile of his presentation can be found on youtube)

So I gave the book a try. The first half of the reading concerns the science behind the regime. The goal is to repair your endothelium - the interior layer of cells that line your arteries and produce nitric oxide - a vessel dilator - when you're under stress. Positive results can be seen in as little as two weeks. The body can heal itself. The second half of the book is a collection or recipes that Esselstyn, his wife, and his patients have evolved over the years. Esselstyn's entire family, down to the grandchildren, follow this lifestyle.

I've been following the plan for eight months and intend never to leave it. Not only do I feel great, but I've lost weight, and lowered my cholesterol, without statins, to 105, HDL 34, LDL 51. One of Esselstyn's core hypotheses is that if you can maintain your cholesterol below 150, you become heartattack proof.

As I said above, I'm a believer. Pretty soon I'll have my cardiologist humming that tune with me.
( ( )
17 vote Ganeshaka | Mar 1, 2011 |
Easy to understand reasoning for a plant based diet for the prevention and reversal of heart disease. Written by a cardiologist who has been eating like this for 20 years and who has patient profiles supporting this way of life, this book is believeable and real. There are over 100 recipes also which are very doable. I would highly recommend this book. ( )
1 vote LivelyLady | Feb 28, 2009 |
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"In Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., a former surgeon, researcher, and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic, challenges conventional cardiology by posing a compelling, revolutionary idea - that we can, in fact, abolish the heart disease epidemic by changing our diets." "Dr. Esselstyn convincingly argues that plant-based, oil-free nutrition can not only prevent and stop the progression of heart disease, but also reverse its effects. Furthermore, it can eliminate the need for expensive and invasive surgical intervention except in acute emergencies, no matter how far the disease has progressed." "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease explains the science behind these dramatic results, and offers readers the same, simple plan that has changed the lives of Dr. Esselstyn's patients forever. In addition, the book offers more than 150 delicious recipes developed by Ann Crile Esselstyn, that the Esselstyns and their patients have enjoyed for years."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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