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Best Kept Secret in Medicine!

By Annette Demeny

Do you want to know the “best kept secret in medicine“?

The best-kept secret in medicine is…the body heals itself if we create the right conditions and stop doing the things that caused the sickness in the first place.

Your body wants to be healthy. It wants to regain its vitality but you have to provide what it needs for the body’s natural healing process to begin.

 

Can the body heal heart disease?

 

In one of the most prolific studies from medical masterminds Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and Dr. Nathan Pritikin, proved that heart disease can be reversed through a healthy diet and lifestyle change. In this study, they took patients with advanced heart disease and put them on a plant-based diet. The hope of the researchers was that the healthy diet would slow down or stop the progression of the disease. But, something miraculous happened! Their patients not only got better but their heart disease started to reverse. What they discovered was when these patients stopped eating artery-clogging food, their bodies were able to dissolve away some of the plaque that had built up. Dr. Ornish also reported a 91% reduction in angina attacks (chest-pains caused by reduced blood flow to the heart) within weeks after the patients were placed on a plant-based diet. This rapid resolution in chest pain occurred well before their bodies could have cleared the plaque from their arteries, suggesting plant-based diets don’t just help clean out arteries but also improve their day-to-day function.

To learn more about this fascinating study, visit www.dresselstyn.com, read the book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. or go to Dr. Dean Ornish’s website www.ornish.com.

 

Baby Steps…

 

Now that we’ve read the evidence that plant-based eating patterns are healthy, here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Know that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Eating more plant-based does not mean you have to totally give up meat and dairy, if you don’t want to. Eating plant-based meals, even just a few times a week, can have a profound impact on your health and well-being, not to mention, the environment.
  2. Replace red meat with fish. One the days you prefer including meat in your meal, choose a fatty fish like wild caught salmon, tuna, lake trout, or sardines. These particular species are high in omega-3’s. The primary omega-3 fats found in salmon are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (1Trusted Source). Research has linked the intake of EPA and DHA to a variety of health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease, improved brain health, and reduced inflammation. **Very important to ALWAYS select wild caught over farm raised.** To learn why, read my post Wild Caught vs. Farm Raised?
  3. Eat lots of vegetables. Fill half your plate with vegetables. Make sure you include plenty of colors when choosing your veggies.
  4. Choose good fats. Fats in olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados are particularly healthy choices. Avoid canola and vegetable oils. To learn more about olive oil and it’s amazing benefits, read my post All Things Olive Oil.
  5. Cook a meatless meal at least one night a week. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables.
  6. Include whole grains for breakfast. Start with oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, or barley. Then add some nuts or seeds along with fresh fruit.
  7. Go for greens. Try a variety of green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, and other greens each day.
  8. Avoid processed foods. Highly-processed foods (like chips, sauces, cookies, refined sugars and carbs, and basically anything packaged or commercially-processed), likely have additives and chemicals that aren’t good for you or your heart.
  9. Ditch the dairy. Giving up dairy can feel like a huge step because there are so many dairy products – milk, yogurt, butter, cream, ice cream, and sour cream, just to name a few. However, dairy is the number one source for saturated fat and should be limited or avoided. Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. To learn more about dairy, head over to my post The Truth About Dairy.

 

Not all plant-based foods are healthy

 

Be mindful not to replace meat with a bunch of highly processed meat substitutes or “vegan junk food.” The key is adding high-quality, nutrient-dense plant-based foods. Unfortunately, when people start focusing on lessening or eliminating meat in their diet, it’s replaced with carbohydrates. Feel free to enjoy carbs but be careful not to get stuck eating just white bread, pasta, and rice. Instead, branch out and experiment with whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. The fiber you get from them will help keep you full and satisfied. Also, be sure you know what is in the “plant-based meat alternatives” that you purchase. With the new focus on healthy eating and plant-forward eating, several fast food restaurants are promoting “Impossible Burgers” or genetically modified burgers. To learn more about things to look for in this alternatives, read my post Impossible Burger ~ What’s Really In It?

 

There’s so much to cover regarding moving more towards a whole-food, plant-based or “plant-forward” way of eating. For now, I encourage you to learn more about the incredible benefits, aim for at least one day a week to eliminate meat and replace with healthy plants and grains. Like any habit, it takes time to change the way most of us have eaten our entire lives but it can be done! I, personally, have eliminated beef, chicken, pork and dairy out of my diet for almost two years. Keep in mind, I don’t stress over it nor do I beat myself up for having the occasional cheese product. I do eat wild caught salmon and tuna for the benefits of the omega’s but I also supplement with a quality fish oil for heart health.

 

I hope this encourages you to consider upping your plant-based game, especially if you have any chronic illnesses (or even if you don’t). I promise…your body will thank you and so will our planet (including animals :))

 

SFY Resources

NIH

Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.

Dr. Dean Ornish

Harvard Medical

 

SFY Recommends

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Dr. Esselstyn

UnDo It, Dr. Dean Ornish

How Not To Die, Dr. Michael Greger

 

 

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