My slumber party in cardiovascular intensive care

This past week I've spent time on a cardio intensive care unit at the bedside of my elderly father who's been battling pneumonia. The first night, as the early morning dawn was filterhing through a closed blind, I finally fell asleep curled up on a hard chair as I snuggled three pillows that a nurse kindly provided for my comfort.

One has much time to think in ICU as there’s not much else to do except watch the beeping monitors and listen to the quiet scuffles at the nurses’ stations. However, every once in a while a new arrival is wheeled past by an entourage of attendants; fresh from the recovery room.   

I was talking with one of the nurses, and she was telling me that most all of the patients in that particular unit were transferred there directly from heart bypass surgery. Looking through their glass doors, each appeared to be about my age; some looked a bit older, but most were "younger" looking. AND I'm sure that many will go right back to consuming chicken breasts, fries, and hot fudge sundaes as soon as they can get their hands on them again. After all, I’m almost certain that they were going to be sent home with a generous supply of Lipitor and Plavix so they could continue to participate in a gluttonous lifestyle. 

I'm beginning to think that perhaps it’s unethical to consume foods that promote disease. It's an astronomical burden not only to our health care system, but to the families who care for, and financially support these loved ones.

I don't know, do we have a moral obligation to consider the well-being of others who may be left with the overwhelming responsibility of being a caregiver?

Do we have a moral obligation to not squander the world's food supply and financial resources upon ourselves?

Note the image above. The obese, depressed woman in the middle was me four years ago. Back then I had to consume nearly 3700 calories a day just to maintain 100 lbs of fat. Oops, pardon me, I’ll be politically correct and call it "adipose tissue". That's enough food to feed two or three people. Was that morally right?

Should any of us be devouring the resources of this world while children starve in third world countries; or worse yet, have no clean water to drink?

What is ethical?

Do we turn heads to the cries of the needy to indulge in pleasures that never satisfy?

Recently, I was on the Dr. Oz show. Yes, it was fun. Yes, it was a hoot to be able to inspire the women of America to shed pounds the safe and healthy way. No doubt about it, it was an experience of a lifetime; something that I can tell my future grandkids someday. Yet, I can't help but wonder why we, as a culture, have made eating for health such a negative, foreign thing as if it is to be avoided like the plague.  

Eating for health is never a "have to" . . . . oh my, just the opposite. We have an amazing PRIVILEGE given to us!!!

It's a "get to" . . . . to know and apply information that will literally save us kazillions of dollars and millions of minutes of needless suffering and shame!

What a joy.

What a privilege.

What an indescribable blessing to have the gift of health available to us, literally, everyday for the rest of our lives!

For anyone discouraged. For anyone down-in-the-dumps. For anyone feeling like food cravings are just too big of an obstacle to successfully and permanently overcome - don't believe the lie. There are some real down-and-outers out there; be free by running in the opposite direction of their negativity, and tune into the voice of Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional recommendations instead! Don't get ensnared and entangled by their ignorant deceit. They are only satisfied when they have enticed you into their net of captivity.


The truth of the matter is . . . disease is just too big of an obstacle to deal with.

Repeat: Disease is just too big of an obstacle to deal with.

No human should suffer needlessly. Our bodies weren't made to lie in ICU beds on beautiful days in May, hooked up to machines, and caught in a vicious cycle of expensive medications, lab tests, and doctor appointments for the rest of our lives. No way! Our bodies were designed to function in full health. Vibrant health. Unburdened by rolls of fat, aches, pains, and chests cut open & torn apart to temporarily repair the senseless damage within. We are masterpiece works of art - designed for beauty, fresh air, and a fully functioning body!

Kick fat and disease out the door.

Go for it.

Do it!

Don't hang out with those who think you are crazy for earning health back. Don't listen to those who think you are an odd-ball because you eat only when hungry.  Turn a deaf ear to the naysayers.  Cultivate new and healthy friendships; AND be willing to be laughed at, scoffed at, and ridiculed for living in health!

Be normal. Be free from addiction. Be vibrant. Be healthy!

Let's all replace the gluttonous hoarding of resources with selfless generosity by living in the best health that’s possible. 

Freedom to all!


PS   For those unfamiliar with my story, almost four years ago I lost 100 lbs (it took about a year); and most importantly, I got rid of toxic food cravings that controlled my life for over twenty years, high blood pressure, heart disease, and pre-diabetes.  I had literally starved myself to obesity by eating the standard American diet.  

My success tip is to follow Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional recommendations, no matter what. 

No excuse (to not do it, or to give up) is a valid one . . . .for to live in denial of food addiction's power is to remain its prisoner.   



image credits:  children; flickr by Feed My Starving Children (FMSC)


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Comments (15) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Carrie - May 26, 2012 9:19 PM

Great post, Emily -- thank you! I agree there are many ethical aspects to our food choices, and it's time we think beyond ourselves and our gastronomic lusts. The great thing is, the same diet that will enable us to enjoy our own lives to the fullest is also the most ethical when it comes to the well-being of other people, other creatures, and our planet. Everyone wins. It's a privilege, indeed!

I hope your father is well very soon!

Carol Whitaker - May 26, 2012 9:31 PM


Peter Taurino - May 27, 2012 1:23 AM

I welled up with tears when I was reading your statement-"Do we have a moral obligation to not squander the world's food supply and financial resources upon ourselves?" And when I saw the pictures below, I was devastated. What right do we have to be so selfcentered, when children are starving in the world.

Keep up the good work.


Per Haug - May 27, 2012 1:37 AM

Thanks Emily!

I am sitting here reading with a bowl of fresh greens: broccoli, spinach, bok choi, peppers, brussel sprouts, onion, garlic, cucumber, tomato and avocado, all dressed in mixed almonds, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, peach and water. Every mouthful is a thrill, each chew is a pleasure. It is great to know that it all amounts to add life to my years and years to my life. After having studied nutrition for m-a-n-y years, I donĀ“t think it is possible to overcome plant foods, as applied in order of nutrient value: most of the most valuable dark greens and least of the least valuable. Campbell gave it to the plants. Fuhrman gave it to the specificity of plants.

Gbenga - May 27, 2012 2:45 AM

Emily; thanks it was quite an interesting piece. An eye opener. I am 53; suffering from HBP. I take medicines everyday; it is tiresome. Pls; i need your advice as regards the type of food that i will be eating so as to put an end to this everyday medication. Thank you.

Jodi - May 27, 2012 4:46 AM

Wow, Emily, what a powerful post. The love for your father comes through as well as the sorrow you have for his current situation and what got him there. You turn that emotion into a meaningful message for all of us. I'm sure your words will inspire many who struggle with weight and disease to finally take "control of their health destiny" (as Dr. Fuhrman would say). I wish your father a speedy recovery. And a special thanks to you for your insights and inspiration.

Julianne Rowland - May 27, 2012 5:04 AM

Well said, Emily. I embarked on the nutritarian lifestyle in an effort to optimize my own health but have come to see the "bigger picture" and realize that what we put in our mouths has an impact far beyond our own bodies. And that as it happens, what is best for our own bodies is also best for the planet! There are some fascinating books on the issue out there. I recommend reading any of John Robbins's books and "Healthy Eating, Healthy World" by J. Morris Hicks.

Diane Lassen - May 27, 2012 5:34 AM

EMily, you are so very right. Having food available in abundance is a privelege. Choosing real food,not food products, is a choice we should make in honour of this privelege and out of respect for this wonderful planet that provides us with everything we truly need for health and happiness. It is hard to go against the flow of the Standard American Diet,but at what cost to us? Look around and see the obesity and disease that awaits us before too long. Yes, we must be the salmon swimming upstream (wild, of course) and set the example, start the new trend toward health. I embrace Dr. Fuhrman's information and I advocate for it when working with my overweight patients. I encourage everyone to eat more plants and less "foods" made IN plants. I also think it is vitally important to start growing some of our own foods. Even a pot of greens is a start, or a tomato plant on the porch. It is all part of getting back to savor and appreciate the taste of real fresh foods- as we break away from the addictive chemical tastes of processed and prepared food products. I congratulate you, Emily on your success, and I hope you remain visible to all who look to you for inspiration!

Emily Boller - May 27, 2012 6:08 AM


Follow the six week eating plan that is outlined in Eat to Live, and you will see a drastic reduction in high blood pressure and a myriad of other dietary related diseases. Please make sure that you are medically supervised by a physician, because following a high-nutrient eating style will reduce blood pressure rapidly (which a a good thing!)

Diana - May 28, 2012 11:00 PM

Hi Emily,

Wow, you sure have had your fair share of hospitals/ill relatives. They are lucky to have you around. I have witnessed many cardiac patients who are either my age or younger diagnosed with cardiac issues and requiring surgery. Very unsettling...but also very motivating.

Interesting point you made re awareness/awakening and dietary habits. The Daoists believe that physical mastery is required prior to spiritual awakening.

Really nice hearing from you again.

Stacey Stokes - May 29, 2012 10:19 AM

Spectacularly motivating post, Emily. Thank you.

Evelyn Levine - May 30, 2012 8:45 AM

Wonderful & inspiring post , Emily. My heart goes out to you in your current situation. I went through it with my Mom. I could never get her to really puts things in perpesctive 7 I agree what a joy & priviledge to be able to control our destiny & choose health over disease. I feel truly blessed to have "discovered" Dr. Fuhrman's plan for living!

Laura - May 30, 2012 10:45 AM

You are such an inspiration! I want to print your article and photos and paste them all over the building where I work. You are amazing, beautiful and a perfect example of how Dr. Fuhrman's principles work!

caroline israel - June 4, 2012 12:57 PM

I think doctors are under a moral obligation to inform their patients about the health & financial consequences of their lifestyles. Due in part to medical professionals' negligence, many people think their diseases (including overweight) are genetic and beyond their control.

Karen - June 30, 2012 6:58 PM

I would like to know why DR Fuhrman charges so much to join his site????? If he really wanted to help over weight and unhealthy people he would not charge so much. I'm out of work and over weight but I did buy his book and it sounds like good info and something I can do but I can not afford to join his web site. I think he should reduce the prices or let people join free if he is really sincere about helping.

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