Reply To This Post         Return to Posts Index           VegSource Home

From: Jon (
Subject:         Re: Newbie - Esselstyn / McDougall
Date: December 17, 2008 at 9:34 pm PST

In Reply to: Newbie posted by Terri on December 17, 2008 at 7:11 pm:

Hi Terri,

Here is a reply based on a similar question from ten months ago - "Reversing 95% blocked artery (Long)" Feb
19, 2008.

Hope it helps.

Most motivating are the Esselstyn VIDEOS. Most informative is Esselstyn's book.

Best of luck.

- Jon

1. Dr. Esselstyn - Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. This is a book with a plan to make people heart attack
proof. Really.

Dr. Esselstyn did the first study that proved reversal by diet and statins. Compliant patients had ZERO further
coronary events (any of angina, stents, heart attack, bypass, death).

Only death and taxes are certain. It depends on compliance and that the bus of heart disease is not on an
imminent collision course with a wall etc. But you get the idea - ZERO further cardiac events is not a bad goal
for the smart and/or the desperate. Esselstyn says three weeks to heart attack proof following his diet. I
believe him, but you must decide for yourself.

2. There is also Dr. John McDougall - The McDougall Program for a Healthy Heart.

This describes his diet and lifestyle program for living with heart disease. It ALSO describes each heart test -
pros, cons, side effects and where they lead. Also bypass, angioplasty and stents. I highly recommend reading
it if you have not. IMO, it is essential background information for information on heart disease and a good
book on diet. He is very canny (cagy even?) about agreeing to tests. I read it and STILL fell into Medical
industry's trap, but I digress.

If you come to believe either of those, you might want to order online or borrow from a library all the books by
Ornish (5 or so, some diet), McDougall (8 or so, 5 diet) and Esselstyn (1). Some are now old and available for
pennies, plus shipping (paperback McDougall recipes for instance).

Q. Is reading all 8 or 10 books a lot of work?
A. Yes. You can start with one. Or two.

Q. Can I rely on my doctor and avoid reading the books?
A. Sure, but then you won't mind putting on this blindfold and crossing that freeway holding a white stick?

or, more politely
A. NO.

If one had a very serious medical problem, then The Patient from Hell by Stephen Schneider is an interesting
look at how to be a (very) demanding patient. Who got better treatment from his nurses and doctors by
working like a dog to find out about his disease and using his knowledge of statistics to help his own

A lot of trouble? It certainly is. But the Ann Esselstyn food is really good. Joseph Campbell's quote was "Life is
trouble. Only death is no trouble."

Videos can convince and motivate you like no book on earth.

I found watching two videos online terrific -

1. Esselstyn. Make yourself heart attack proof. 1hr plus

2. Colin T. Campbell - The China Study - 50 minutes

These might help you decide to buy the above books or to give the programs a try.

1. Dr. Esselstyn - Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

Re ZERO further cardiac events, even Ornish did not get that good a result, possibly because he did not
absolutely lower total cholesterol to below 150 in the patients in the study, by statins if needed.

The book is a masterpiece - short, succinct and utterly convincing. It is brand new - April 2007 vs 1990s. I
read all of Ornish's and McDougall's books plus others and find it to include the very best and most concise
summary of the lot, of what I read anyway; 8 - 10 books.

Before reading Esselstyn it was not clear to me that "this little bit CAN hurt" and I did not follow the diet 100%
(Big "DOH!").

The second half of the book is Ann Esselstyn's recipes. They make it possible to live like a king on the diet.
Five stars.

The reason I push Esselstyn so hard is that by unfortunate personal experience I now know that US doctor's
dietary knowledge is ABYSMAL and normal cardiac rehabilitation dietary guidance is flawed. Esselstyn
comments on this, but if you don't read it you might not find out.

"Moderation kills," he says. The AHA dietary guidelines guarantee that one will continue to have heart disease.
Esselstyn's diet is the same as that used in his study, with ZERO further cardiac events. For me that is
sufficient to toss the AHA guidelines and ONLY rely on Esselstyn.

If one reads Ornish, McDougall AND Esselstyn one has a better grasp of their combined approach which is
(nearly) the same. No meat. No fish. No oil. No dairy. This does not describe the wonderful cornucopia of
foods that are included - 99.9% of all vegetables and fruits (only excluding Avocados). Eating is an endless
every day feast. Really!

Used to exercise for thirty minutes five or six days a week. Now know that was inadequate. For me. Found out
the hard way by years of increasing weight, reducing fitness and increasing aches, pains and being more out of
breath on exertion.

Following the starch based diet one finds that one has huge amounts of extra energy and stamina. But
exercise endurance builds very very slowly from a complete zero after a real or imagined cardiac event.

There was no single source of information or exercise plan. Jeff Galloway's run / walk Marathon program was
good. And later convert the tables of running times into time spent cycling ...

The primary question is how many further cardiac events does one want. If the answer is ZERO, then follow
Esselstyn. John McDougall points out that 20% of people will do the right thing for their bodies and are usually
successful in other areas of their lives also. 40% need a wakeup call that may be a serious health problem.
And 40% are incorrigible and "often involved in other destructive behaviours in other areas of their lives."
Hmm! (McDougall's Medicine).

If the answer is anything else, up to and including "Can I continue to mainline heroin?)> and when I have my first heart attack I'll change, honest," then this approach is not for you.
For a third of those choosing this option, the first notice is DEATH. "A strong wake up call," you say? It is also
fairly redundant too, at that point.

Some people with stents and/or bypasses that were loaned Esselstyn have still not jumped at it. The Darwin
Award in action ...

If they can't do it 100%, what about 95%? Two fish meals a fortnight (3 oz), which I did for twelve months
because there was no Esselstyn book to explain that this was an error. Changing then to 100% compliance was
a complete non-event.

"Oh no, I couldn't do that ... give up meat, or fish, or oil, or dairy." If so, then heart disease is surely suicide by
fork and spoon.

Life! Better than the alternative!

I think it was Esselstyn who quoted Dr. Ornish as saying "I don't understand why asking people to eat a well-
balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open." To which
he added "Well said."

Reply To This Post         Return to Posts Index           VegSource Home

Follow Ups:

Post Reply

E-mail: (optional)


Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL: