H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters – BONUS MATERIAL: Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. (E/DE)
Coronary artery heart disease …
in truth need never ever exist.
And if it does exist, it need never ever progress.
This is a completely benign foodborne illness.
It’s fascinating that today in Western civilization
we have this absolute crescendo of disease.
Heart disease, cancer,
It’s like a tsunami
overcoming these nations.
And yet the interesting thing is that all experts
would agree that …
the cause of this tsunami
really is our lifestyle.
And the fascinating thing is that
the major driving force …
within that lifestyle creating these illnesses …
is our dependence on animal nutrition.
Now we really have to look
at the ingestion of animal products …
because we really have a fair amount of data …
that clearly spell out the fact
that our ingestion of animal products …
is contributing to this epidemic of illness.
Harvard has an interesting study of
128,000 health professionals.
They follow them over decades:
Those that are eating meat
have an earlier mortality,
and those that are eating meats
that are smoked …
have an even earlier mortality.
Then there’s the study
of the Seventh-day Adventists …
where when you look at
the Seventh-day Adventists …
who are omnivores and compare them to those
who are largely vegans or vegetarians,
absolutely no contest,
that the meat eaters and omnivores …
succumb earlier and …
have a greater incidence
of these common chronic killing diseases.
Perhaps nothing is as powerful …
in terms of clarifying the downside of dairy than
really what happened in Karelia,
which is a province in Northern Finland.
And in the 1950s and 60s
and early 70s …
Finland was truly the heart attack capital
of the universe.
they had some creative physicians
who really went after …
this whole problem of excessive dairy …
and this clot cream and these thick creams
that the Finns were eating.
And as they revolutionized that entire industry …
and got everybody
a degree of public awareness,
so they are eating less
of these products,
over the next three decades they were able to reduce
their rates of heart disease by 60 percent …
and reduce their rates of cancer by 40 percent.
when we look at this cause of heart disease,
let’s not be confused and blame it on genes …
or just blame it on somebody’s age …
or blame it on the luck of the draw.
Heart disease is a foodborne illness.
And we now know that every time certain foods
will pass your lips,
you will further endanger and injure …
the endothelial cell capacity
to make nitric oxide.
So here you are at
5, 6, or 7 years of age …
making plenty of nitric oxide.
Nobody ever has a heart attack
at 5, 6, or 7 years of age.
But we know from autopsy studies: By the time
– in this country – you reach 17 or 18 years of age,
you already have the foundation for heart disease.
Not enough for your cardiac events yet.
But now as you progressively
through your 20s, 30s, and 40s …
eat these same Western foods,
punishing your endothelial cells more and more,
decreasing your level of nitric oxide…
No great surprise then.
When you no longer have
enough nitric oxide to protect you,
you then develop these blockages and plaque,
and when the plaque ruptures,
now you have a heart attack.
When you can get these people to understand …
the science behind it
and how they created their disease,
and once they realize that you are empowering
them as the locus of control,
they can stop eating the foods that continue
to injure their endothelial cells.
And since this is not a malignancy,
the endothelial cell recovers
and it begins to make nitric oxide.
And as the nitric oxide levels come up,
the disease is halted, and often we will see
striking evidence of disease reversal.
The most powerful bit of evidence
that we have …
about eating plant-based and avoiding
the animal foods of …
chicken, meat, dairy, poultry …
are the nations of rural China,
the Papuan Highlands in New Guinea,
Central Africa, or the Tarahumara Indians
in Northern Mexico.
The common denominator in all those nations is
that cardiovascular disease is virtually nonexistent.
They are plant-based.
So the challenge really comes to those of us
in the healing profession …
to really have a total rethink.
What is it that we are doing? When you go to
medical school, you get a tremendous education …
and you learn about how to define
and identify these diseases.
Once you’ve identified the disease,
then you learn what are the drugs or the pills …
or the procedures or the operations …
that are going to be used
to try to right the ship.
But what is just not being done …
is basically this whole business
of prevention and treatment …
about the causation of the illness.
And I think really …
we can really be on this cusp,
the cusp of what could be
a seismic revolution in health.
If we really devoted our time and energy
and expertise to the lifestyle …
and the thing that actually tops all of lifestyle,
which is nutrition,
we can not only halt this epidemic of disease,
we can actually reverse it.
The greatest gift that we could give
to our family and our friends …
and those who are our patients …
is this gift of health.
And the way that you get health
through plant-based nutrition …
is you avoid metabolic injury.
When you’re eating dairy,
when you’re eating meat,
you have this progressive onslaught
of metabolic injury.
And the body
has this remarkable capacity …
to withstand this injury.
It may take decades …
for this injury to present itself …
or manifest itself as obesity, as hypertension,
as cancer, as heart disease.
And the exciting thing is now …
really the data are being pulled together
strongly enough …
in many directions to make it absolutely clear …
that this is going to have to be …
the most inexpensive and the most powerful way
to restore and maintain health.
Now there are some who may feel
that when they give up meat and dairy …
and move to a plant-based type of nutrition
that this diet may be considered to be …
extreme, strict, or radical.
You know it’s very interesting
when you think about those terms for a minute.
And I’m going to use an example of …
a young 38-year-old physician …
that came up to me after I was presenting
at the Texas Academy of Family Practice.
He said, “Dr. Esselstyn,
I think your diet is really
fairly extreme, strict, or radical,”
“but,” he said, “I know it
works, but it seems to be extreme.”
And I said: “Well, let’s talk about that
just for a minute. Let’s do this:
Let’s just pretend that
I’m going to transplant you for the moment …
and you walk up to this …
Okinawan, who may be
95 or 100 years of age,
and you say to them:
‘Gosh, you guys here in Okinawa,
you’ve been eating this plant-based diet for …
thousands of years, but don’t you think
this is kind of crazy,
extreme, radical, and strict?’
And the Okinawans nod politely …
and then say: ‘No, sir, I think you have it
just the wrong way around.
We’ve been watching
what’s going on in America.
And it seems that you have
such a strict, extreme diet …
that as you eat it, there is this absolute cascade
of illness and disease …
that even in a nation which is as wealthy as yours
you’ll find that is financially unsustainable.
My friend, you have it just the wrong way.
Yours is the extreme diet.'”