As we at MamaSezz well know, changing to a plant-based diet can change your life in ways you never expected. In this series, we talk with some of the world’s most soulful, dedicated (and often funny) individuals. We get to hear their stories of suffering, transformation, and service — and we learn how food is an essential part of their journey. Today we ask the question: Is heart disease curable?
A heart disease diagnosis is not the end
So, is hearty disease curable? Heart disease kills more people in the US than any other cause, so it's not all that uncommon to get a diagnosis after the age of 50, or even before. A lifetime of saturated fat can do a lot of damage over time, and if you'd eaten the Standard American Diet your whole life, then chances are HD may be in your future if it isn't already (yes, even if you exercise).
We don't write this to bring doom and gloom, but the contrary: hope. Heart disease is not some inevitable part of getting older. You can not only prevent but also reverse heart disease with a simple diet change.
In fact, there are even specific foods that can speed along the heart disease reversal process.
Although this may seem like a miracle, reversing heart disease in a matter of month is actually more the rule than the exception when folks quite switch to plant-based eating. And we've been lucky enough here at MamaSezz to hear stories from several folks whose lives and health were transformed in this very way. This week, we're sharing four such stories from people who changed their diets and went from sick, to protecting their healthy hearts.
4 people who reversed their heart disease with plants
1. Paul Chatlin
At 55 years old, Paul received a dooming medical diagnosis; his heart was failing rapidly, and something had to be done. Cardiac catherization revealed one artery was 100 percent blocked, two others were 65 percent blocked. With a family history of unsuccessful outcomes from heart disease, the future did not look bright. This was especially difficult because five years earlier, at 50, Paul had resolved to change his diet by cutting out meat, whole milk, and olive oil, and here he was at 55 with a dismal heart prognosis. What had gone wrong?
Paul was home on bed rest for three months. He followed the recommended plant-based diet and soon his health started to improve. Within a couple of months his cholesterol went from 347 to 127 and his weight from 220 to 160. His energy improved dramatically. "Is heart disease curable?" was no longer a question.
Today Paul works to help others learn about the value of nutrition. Learn more about Paul's recovery and full story.
2. Larry Pepper
In his late 30s and early 40s, Larry felt as though he was in peak health with the amount of exercise he was getting through his new job, so he wasn't concerned about his health. Larry was eager to get involved with a triathlon the employees had put together, so he started training right away. He even changed his diet to exclude processed and red meats and switched to yogurt and fruit for breakfast, so he felt like he was doing pretty well diet-wise.
"In 2012, despite all my hard work, I was diagnosed with heart disease. I was told I was at double the risk for a cardiac event, even though I was otherwise living a healthy lifestyle. My doctor recommended statins, but said nothing about other options or potential changes to my diet. Still, my wife and I began to do our own research, and we decided to try a plant-based diet."
After just three months of eating a plant-based diet, Larry reversed his heart disease.
Yes, totally gone in just three months, so naturally, Larry was thrilled. But that wasn't the only benefit he saw:
"My good cholesterol (HDL) was up, my bad cholesterol (LDL) was down, my triglycerides were excellent. My risk factor for a cardiac event dipped below the average for my age.
I lost 20 pounds and went from 22% to 11% body fat. Today, I no longer need blood pressure medicine or experience acid reflux.
And on top of all that, at 67 years old, I feel better than ever. My athletic performance has improved, too. As a triathlete, I qualified for and competed in two World Championship competitions. Ironman Hawaii, and the International Triathletes Union’s (ITU’s ) Long Course Triathlon in Penticton, British Columbia (1.86 mile swim, 74.4 mile bike and a 18.6 mile run). Faster recovery and increased stamina are welcome benefits of my shift in lifestyle."
3. Linda Middlesworth
Linda went plant-based after her thyroid cancer diagnosis but discovered a whole new life on the other side.
"I am 77 years old now and I am free of cancer, lost 50 unwanted pounds, and I reversed my heart disease and high blood pressure. I feel better now than when I was 20!"
Beyond her newfound health, Linda discovered a whole new life as a vegan activist. Learning about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, lead to curiosity about the industry. That was enough to turn her off of meat for life. Now Linda has many reasons to stick to her diet, and her life has only improved!
4. Millie Donahue
Millie's story inspired the founding of MamaSezz!
After being diagnosed with aggressive congestive heart failure, Millie was sent back home to get her affairs in order, so it felt like all hope was lost. Her daughter Meg thought, "is heart disease curable?" and did some research. She stumbled upon Dr. Esselstyn's book, Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease, so she decided to give it a read.
Because of her research, little by little Meg fed Millie plant-based soups and smoothies, as it was all she had the strength for. Meg assisted her back and forth from her hospital bed set up in their garage that they had converted into an apartment for Millie. Little by little Millie began to heal, until one day Meg saw her walking down the driveway all on her own. They switched to bean chilies, and stir-fries until Millie felt as though she could take on the world.
Today, Millie is in her 90s, does yoga, swims, drives, and plays with her grandchildren. She has made many new friends, and has gained her independence back. Read more about Millie's second shot at life.
"Is heart disease curable" never has to be questioned for these three individuals, because have their answers.
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