Back in early May I posted about my preview of the Julia Grayer-Gage Johnston documentary, "Chow Down". So many people emailed me back then to find out how to order a copy and see it for themselves--but at the time it hadn't been released.
Yeah! It's finally out. Julia Grayer, the writer-producer-director emailed me with the good news & the ordering info. You can purchase your own copy or stream it via Amazon, by clicking here. It's that rare combination of a movie that will have you laughing, learning, & rethinking what's going into your mouth all at the same time. A 3-fer. Kind of like the thinking-person's healthy hoot. Enjoy! And if you missed the May 3rd post--here's your refresher.
One man’s struggle to reverse his severe heart disease .... with diet.
Charles, 45, devoted husband and father of two, is shocked to learn not only that he has cardiovascular disease but that the blockages in his heart are so severe that his surgeon refuses to operate. But Charles is a fighter and he’ll do whatever it takes to be around to see his kids grow up.
Just like Charles, millions of Americans are sick and they’re tired of the pills and operations. What if you could avoid it all, but nobody’s willing to tell you how?
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic is trampling the status quo to get the word out. He’s the director of one of the longest-running studies in the peer-reviewed scientific literature showing that a plant-based diet can reverse even late stage heart disease. If heart disease, the number one killer in America, can be stopped and often reversed with diet, why aren't people like Charles routinely given this information before being sent to the operating room?
-Synopsis of "Chow Down: Eat Like Your Life Depends On It?-
If you received this via email click here to go to the web version with all the links & video trailers.
Back in April Ann Esselstyn lent me a copy of Chow Down: Eat Like Your Life Depends On It--a Julia Grayer/Gage Johnston documentary that was 4 years in the making! Click here for the film's website.
I finally had a chance to watch it with my husband last night, and...
Our verdict? We both loved it! Nothing dull or dry about this documentary. It's lighthearted, clever, controversial, with cool animation to help explain the technical stuff--and it tells the truth. So go out & find yourself a copy!
Bottom Line: Over 130 million Americans have a chronic illness--and 70% of deaths are caused by those chronic illnesses. Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease can be prevented or reversed--and 60% of all cancers can be prevented--just by putting to use the knowledge we already have. The answer isn't in pills and procedures--it's in eating a well-planned plant-based diet. But it takes time, preparation, a shift in your food taste preferences, and above all--motivation and support from family, friends, and a healthcare professional. And that's certainly been true for me.How Did We Get Into This Mess? Why Isn't This Information Front Page News?
Just follow the money. The food and drug industries are not looking out for our health. And our government & medical "industries" have their own vested interests in the status quo. There's profit in cheap sweet fatty salty unhealthy food. There's profit in pharmaceuticals and medical procedures. And who knew the U.S. Department of Agriculture was more of a lobbying agency for farmers than a guardian of our health. They're the folks who advise us about what to eat with their Food Pyramid--and provide food for school lunches. It's like the fox guarding the hen house.
The meat & dairy industries--the big players--get 74% of our agricultural subsidies. Less than 1/2 of 1 percent goes to fruit & vegetable farmers. Hmm.
According to Dr. Neal Barnard, the generic ads we see for beef and milk are funded from government programs. The federal government at one time even worked with Wendy's to help create the Cheddar Lover's Beef Burger to sell more cheese--and the same with Subway.
Can You Really Change Your Health By Changing Your Diet? Yes, You Can.
Charles Venezia: a young father, who was a meat-lover, a vegetable-hater, a hypertensive since age 16, with multiple coronary blockages so severe his surgeon refused to operate. His choices: disability, death, or a diet change. He chose a diet change--with support from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.
Blood Pressure: 250/155
Weight: 360 lbs.
Blood Pressure: 120/80
Weight: not mentioned but he looks fantastic--and healthy!
He's had no coronary events and he leads a full active life.
is 100% committed to eating plant-based, and he's fortunate to have a
highly motivated wife who is willing to spend the time it takes to shop
and prepare plant-based fare. But it wasn't easy for Charles, the son
of a butcher. For him this change was a complete paradigm shift--he
still misses his meat and he misses restaurant eating, "It's not fun. It doesn't taste all that great. But I'm not going to have a heart attack." He
also follows up regularly with Dr. Esselstyn. Even Charles' young
children are following the program--eating 75-80% healthy plant-based
My comment to Charles: Come on over to my house & eat. Our meals are 100% tastier & more interesting than anything I used to make that involved beef or chicken!
and John Oehrle are just two of hundreds of patients seen by Dr.
Esselstyn who have stopped or reversed their heart disease, arrested
their diabetes, returned to normal weight, lowered their blood
pressure, and regained their health by switching to a plant-based (no
meat or dairy) diet of:
- Whole grains
- Beans & legumes
- No added oils
Cardiac Procedures & Statins Don't Cure Disease
Esselstyn is fond of saying:
"The Elelphant in the room is that procedures really don't prolong life. Stents, bypasses, dialysis--none of it works."
- The 17 patients of Esselstyn's who have stayed on a plant-based diet have had zero cardiac events.
- Before they started with him--while they were under the care of expert cardiologists--they had a total of 49 cardiac events.
John Oehrle's Philadelphia surgeon told him: Procedures are just a temporary patch job. These procedures do nothing to cure the diseases. When we do these operations we put a band-aid on these people. It doesn't treat the disease. They have to do that for themselves.
Taking statins and not changing your diet does not "cure cardiovascular disease"--and almost 1/2 of men who have a heart attack before age 65 are dead within 8 years.
Think this doesn't apply to you because you don't have diagnosed heart disease? Big coronary blockages only cause 12% of the heart attacks. Most of the time it's the little arterial plaques that cause 88% of blockages--3 small blockages are a ticking time bomb--and you won't even know it! Your coronary artery has to be 70% occluded to have symptoms, like angina. If your arteries are even 10-69% blocked, and you're inflaming them with what you eat, you're at risk. It's all about inflammation - Calm down the inflammation & you'll keep those atherosclerotic plaques safely stuck to your artery walls.
Bottom Line: Operations don't cure everything. You have to do that yourself with serious diet & lifestyle changes.
Dr. Hans Diehl on the Benefits of Diet: "As we treat heart disease with diet we also help to prevent strokes, fragility, dementia, blood pressure, and the common cancers like breast and prostate. It's probably one common disease that expresses itself in different ways."What Keeps Us From Making Drastic Diet & Lifestyle Changes?
- No Serious Support from the Health Care Community. Many doctors assume people aren't willing to make the necessary drastic diet changes--so they don't offer the option. Charles Venezia was told only to lower his salt intake. John Oehrle was told to go on a Mediterranean diet--that was no help--and he didn't do it. It takes a lot of support to make these changes.
- People love their fat, salt, and sugary food. What are our favorite foods? Philly cheese steaks, bacon, General Tso's Chicken, barbeque, burgers, K.F.C., pizza.....
- Lack of support from Family & Friends. Garnet Hall--who participated in the documentary, hoping to stop her type 2 diabetes wasn't able to stick to the diet. Her friends & family were enthusiastic at first--but that quickly stopped. She had to do it all by herself--as well as cook meat, cheese, & barbeque for her husband, kids, and when entertaining friends. She just couldn't do it all--and was faced with temptation at every turn.
- Some People Care More About Food Than Their Health. "I don't want of live longer if I can't eat what I want to eat!"
- Many mistakenly think it's all genetic and out-of-their control. Wrong. From Dr. David Katz of Yale--nutrition controls the expression of genes. From Dr. Hans Diehl--Genetics loads the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.
Click here for a great animated video explaining how a heart attack happens--or if you don't see the Chow Down trailer on your screen.
To read more about Dr. Esselstyn, and a heart-healthy diet: