Interview with a Nutritarian: David

David was your typical, athletic American who thought he was relatively “healthy” . . . until he had his first heart-related incident before the age of sixty. Thankfully he heard Dr. Fuhrman on the radio, and today his health and energy have been restored. Welcome to Disease Proof David! 

 

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?

At age 59, I’ve lived a good life; happily married, manager for a Plastics Company, and a daily runner for the past 30 years. I’m also a golfer and very active as my wife and I have three grown sons who keep us pretty busy! I lost my father to a massive heart attack when I was young so I’ve always been aware that my health was important. However, I felt fairly invincible since I exercised so much, and I thought I was eating pretty healthy. 

However, as a runner I knew I was getting out-of-shape, because it was getting harder for me to run each day. I was slowly gaining weight despite running six mile runs everyday. Then in September 2010, I had chest pains that led to the installation of a stent in my right coronary artery that was 100% blocked. Fortunately, the other two arteries were 100% clear, and I didn’t have a heart attack. This experience was a wake-up call, and I struggled for answers as to how this could have happened. Plus, I did not like all of the drugs I was suddenly required to take. 

 

How did you find out about Eat to Live?

In late January 2011, I was in the middle of a long drive home from a business meeting, and by sheer chance I heard Dr. Fuhrman on Sirius radio having a discussion on the NYC Docs show about nutrition. His message on eating high-nutrient foods hit me hard. When the show was over I immediately called my son in California, who is a vegetarian and nutritionally committed, and asked him about what I had just heard. He said that what Dr. Fuhrman was talking about was the same thing that he’d been trying to get his mother and me to listen to for years. When I got home I ordered the book. 

 

How do you feel now?

Today I’m 44 lbs lighter and still losing – which is about a 30% weight reduction so far! I now weigh what I did in high school, and I can run like the wind, which is basically effortlessly! My cholesterol numbers have nose dived, my angina is gone, my energy level is up, and I‘ve cut back on many drugs and expect to eliminate all of them shortly. I’ve discovered Dr. Fuhrman's predictions in Eat to Live to be totally true; and it’s only been five months! 

 

Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

  • Get the refined sugar out of your life, along with the Diet Coke.

  • Eat all of the vegetables, beans and fresh fruits that you want – don't worry about calories or counting things, except for the limited amounts of nuts and seeds.

  • Give this nutritional eating style a chance to take hold. The first few weeks are tough, but hang in there, because the results are worth it.  

 

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you?

It’s given me a chance to help my body and has produced a lot of physical freedom. (The compliments on my weight reduction are pretty fun as well!) Plus, I now have new clothes to wear that were sitting around unused for a long time! More seriously, I don't worry about having a heart attack any longer. 

At 5’8” my weight has dropped from 190 to 145, and my goal was 165 lbs! 

 

before

after

Total cholesterol

166

 98

LDL

121

 49

HDL

 32

 62

Triglycerides

173

 87

 

Congratulations David ~ keep up the great work!

Angioplasty and stents offer no advantage over medications alone

Our society has been falsely led to believe that only highly technological interventions and drugs are effective at treating disease. In many cases, however, these interventions merely act as band-aids – temporarily relieving symptoms while the disease process continues to progress.

Heart.  Flickr: Vintage Collective
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a term that refers to angioplasty and stent placement procedures, is already known to have no advantage over optimal medical therapy (OMT); which refers to modest lifestyle changes plus anti-platelet, blood pressure-lowering, and cholesterol-lowering medications) for reducing heart attack incidence or cardiac mortality. This information made headlines in 2007; the COURAGE trial compared PCI plus OMT to OMT alone, and found no advantage associated with PCI procedures. [1] Since that time, literature reviews have confirmed that PCI did not decrease the rate of heart attack or cardiac death compared to OMT. [2]


Considering that PCI only treats a small portion of a blood vessel, but coronary artery disease affects the entire vasculature, this is not a surprising finding. Because of this finding, the indications for PCI evolved. Now, these interventions are indicated only for the purpose of relieving angina (chest pain caused by restricted blood flow to the heart) symptoms in coronary artery disease patients.


However, a recent review of several clinical trials in patients with stable coronary artery disease has revealed that PCI does not lessen angina any more than medical therapy either. [3] The researchers analyzed human trials that compared either angioplasty or stent placement to OMT with respect to angina symptoms. In 5 clinical trials conducted since 2000, 77% of patients were free of angina after PCI, and 75% of patients were free of angina after OMT, suggesting that PCI does not provide enhanced symptom relief compared to OMT. [4]


We must remember that aggressive interventions like angioplasty and stent placement have serious potential adverse outcomes, such as bleeding complications, heart attack, stroke, and death. [5]  Approximately 25% of angioplasties and 21% of stent placements clog up again (called restenosis) within 6 months, and about 60% of arteries treated by angioplasty will undergo restenosis eventually.[6, 7] These data tell us that PCI is not a long-term solution. Diet and lifestyle changes, however, are long-term solutions because they remove the cause of the heart disease. A low-fat, plant-based diet plus exercise and stress management has been shown to reverse atherosclerotic plaque progression. In addition, 74% of the coronary artery disease patients who had angina and made these lifestyle changes were free of angina after only 12 weeks. [8, 9] This is equivalent to the figures cited above for OMT – except of course, without drugs.


Despite the evidence, cardiologists continue to rationalize that angioplasty and stent placements are essential for their patients. The reality is that modern interventional cardiology should be stopped and medical and nutritional cardiology should be the standard of care. Everyone who has heart disease deserves to know that they have safer, noninvasive alternatives to stents and angioplasty.


In spite of the research we already have documenting the dramatic effectiveness of nutritional interventions [8, 10-12] and the futility of angioplasty and stent placement, this obviously still has not been sufficient to change the practices of conventional cardiologists. There are too many economic forces working against it. Nevertheless, for optimal atherosclerosis reversal and angina relief, my clinical experience with hundreds of patients with advanced heart disease, (confirmed by nutritional intervention studies) demonstrates that optimal nutritional therapy (ONT), with a vegetable-based, high-nutrient (nutritarian) diet – focused on vegetables, beans, fresh fruit, seeds and nuts - is dramatically more effective than PCI or OMT. This approach has already been demonstrated to be more effective than other nutritional interventions at lowering cholesterol; if we compare the published effects of dietary interventions on LDL cholesterol levels, a low-fat plant-based diet reduced LDL by 16%, but a nutritarian diet reduced LDL cholesterol by 33%.[13, 14] This data and my results offer more evidence to suggest that a nutritarian diet is ideal and by including more greens, beans, seeds and nuts leads to even more dramatic results and long-term benefits for heart disease patients.


Of course, larger more definitive studies are needed - exactly one of the initial goals of the Nutritional Research Project. Only with better controlled and documented research results can we foster increased awareness and acceptance of the therapeutic effects of a nutritarian diet for heart disease patients.

 

 

References:

1. Boden, W.E., et al., Optimal medical therapy with or without PCI for stable coronary disease. N Engl J Med, 2007. 356(15): p. 1503-16.
2. Trikalinos, T.A., et al., Percutaneous coronary interventions for non-acute coronary artery disease: a quantitative 20-year synopsis and a network meta-analysis. Lancet, 2009. 373(9667): p. 911-8.
3. Wijeysundera, H.C., et al., Meta-analysis: effects of percutaneous coronary intervention versus medical therapy on angina relief. Ann Intern Med, 2010. 152(6): p. 370-9.
4. Relief from Angina Symptoms: Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Not a Clear Winner. Journal Watch General Medicine, 2010.
5. Angioplasty and stent placement - heart. MedlinePlus.
6. Agostoni, P., et al., Clinical effectiveness of bare-metal stenting compared with balloon angioplasty in total coronary occlusions: insights from a systematic overview of randomized trials in light of the drug-eluting stent era. Am Heart J, 2006. 151(3): p. 682-9.
7. Hanekamp, C., et al., Randomized comparison of balloon angioplasty versus silicon carbon-coated stent implantation for de novo lesions in small coronary arteries. Am J Cardiol, 2004. 93(10): p. 1233-7.
8. Ornish, D., et al., Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial. Lancet, 1990. 336(8708): p. 129-33.
9. Frattaroli, J., et al., Angina pectoris and atherosclerotic risk factors in the multisite cardiac lifestyle intervention program. Am J Cardiol, 2008. 101(7): p. 911-8.
10. Esselstyn, C.B., Jr., et al., A strategy to arrest and reverse coronary artery disease: a 5-year longitudinal study of a single physician's practice. J Fam Pract, 1995. 41(6): p. 560-8.
11. Esselstyn, C.B., Jr., Updating a 12-year experience with arrest and reversal therapy for coronary heart disease (an overdue requiem for palliative cardiology). Am J Cardiol, 1999. 84(3): p. 339-41, A8.
12. Ornish, D., Avoiding revascularization with lifestyle changes: The Multicenter Lifestyle Demonstration Project. Am J Cardiol, 1998. 82(10B): p. 72T-76T.
13. Barnard, N.D., et al., Effectiveness of a low-fat vegetarian diet in altering serum lipids in healthy premenopausal women. Am J Cardiol, 2000. 85(8): p. 969-72.
14. Jenkins, D.J., et al., Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit, and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism, 2001. 50(4): p. 494-503.

 

Interview with a Nutritarian: Ronnie

 

 

obese and unhealthy male transforms into fit and healthy athlete

Tell us about yourself and the events that led up to getting your health back?

In 2005 I had open heart bypass surgery, and two years later I had three stents put into an artery.  Soon after being released from the second hospitalization, I was still experiencing chest pain; so I typed “reverse heart disease” into an on-line search engine and discovered the web site of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD.

At that time I weighed 300 lbs. and couldn’t perform the simplest of tasks without shortness of breath and chest pain. 

I was getting affairs in order for my impending death, including preparing my wife to take over our business.  

  

How did you feel before committing to nutritarian eating?

I was always hungry and I felt lethargic all the time.  My brain seemed to be in a continual cloud of confusion, and every joint in my body ached.

    

What’s happened to your body and how do you feel now?

After a couple weeks of nutritarian eating I had renewed energy and hope.  I gradually lost all aches and pains, and toxic hunger completely disappeared.  Each morning I woke up with vitality for the day.

Over a period of one year, I lost 140 lbs! 

My chest pains have completely ceased.  High blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglycerides have all been reversed to a healthy range.  With Dr. Fuhrman’s careful oversight through Ask the Doctor on the members’ center of drfuhrman.com, I’ve been able to completely stop all medications.  (Medications for blood pressure, high cholesterol, blood thinners and more.)  As a result I’ve been able to save over $600.00 a month in out-of-pocket pharmaceutical costs!    

Now I can

  • do heavy weight strength training 4 x week
  • do interval cardio training
  • play tennis
  • ride a bike 

These are all activities I couldn’t dream of doing two years ago! 

I’m no longer a patient that needs medications; I’m fit, healthy and well!

 after picture of fit and healthy male

Success tips you’d like to share with others in the journey to health?

I highly recommend joining the members’ center of drfuhrman.com.  I couldn’t have done it without the lifesaving and valuable support from Dr. Fuhrman.  He personally answered every question that I had along the way, and his continual guidance and oversight was always reassuring.

Also, don’t just read Dr. Fuhrman’s books, put them into practice!

 

Ronnie, is there a final thought that you would like to share with anyone who is discouraged or has given up hope?

It’s always the darkest before the dawn.  There is life in all of us if we will make the choice to live it!  Nutritarian eating works!  Don’t live your life always looking in the rearview mirror.  Let the past be just that; the past. 

Our journey to optimal health is always in front of our eyes, and we sit at that intersection every new day.  Go forward to freedom!  Forget past failures and always keep your eyes on the prize of great health and vitality through excellent nutrition. 

 

I asked Ronnie’s wife, Peggy, if she had anything to add. She responded with the following note written directly to Dr. Fuhrman:

Dr. Fuhrman,

I want to add my note of appreciation to you for your hard work and devotion.  I now have a new husband! 

Who can ever know how life can change?  One year ago I was sure that Ronnie would not be with me much longer.  Through his own doing, he was a prime candidate for a stroke or heart attack.  Now, through his dedication and hard work, and the knowledge that you have given to him, he is not only (hopefully) going to live a long life, but he is living it to its fullest!  His commitment to nutritarian eating is an inspiration to all of us.

None of this could have been possible without you.

Peggy 

Ronnie Kicks 110 Pounds in 7 Months

Everyone has their own light bulb moment to lose weight and get healthy. For me, it was like comedian Kevin James said, I was tired of my belly jiggling when I brushed my teeth, but for Ronnie it was after a night of heavy drinking and the painful aftermath that followed:

The doctors put 3 stents into one artery and performed balloon on another and sent me home with a packet full of prescriptions on July 10th. I was very depressed because I wanted to live again but was faced with the realization of what I had done to myself. I had to look at what was in front of me.

For the first time in my life I saw that it wasn't life that was killing my body, my God it was me. Me and all the poor choices I had been making. I wanted to change, but how? I knew it all centered around what went in my mouth. That was what was killing me and had gotten me to the fix I was in. That night (3:00 am) I woke up with chest pains again…continue reading.

 

Image credit: DrFuhrman.com