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Last Wednesday night, after my kids had arrived into town for Thanksgiving--as we were clearing the dinner table of our delicious dinner of Sweet Potato & Spinach Soup and Chef AJ's Thai Vegetable Noodles--Son #1 casually said to me:
Son #1: Hey mom, did you see that video of Dr. Esselstyn--where he gets into a cab, and there's already another passenger sitting in it--and this guy says to him, "Aren't you Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn?"
And then the guy in the cab tells Dr. Esselstyn how he's come all the way to LA from Wales just to hear him speak. Turns out, many months before he was having chest pains--went to the emergency room, failed his stress test, got a load of pills, but, he didn't like the survival odds the doctors gave him.
So he starts doing his own research to see how he can improve his odds of survival; finds Dr. Esselstyn's journal articles; decides to follow the diet---and now he's angina-free & off of all his meds.
Me: What? No, I never saw any video like that. Where did you see it? You never watch that kind of stuff.
Son #2: Hmm. Honestly, I'm not sure. Could be that DIL #1 had it on her Facebook page or something like that. Don't really know. I think maybe her computer was sitting on the kitchen counter as I was making dinner one night--I felt like listening to something while I cooked--so I just clicked onto this video. But, what an inspiring story. And the whole thing was so random, how Dr. Esselstyn & this guy just happened to meet in a cab.
By now I was very curious.
You have to understand. Son #1 hasn't even seen Forks Over Knives. He avoids Facebook, and I can't imagine him watching a YouTube video that's over 6 minutes long--especially one on heart disease. There's just no way.
So, I asked DIL #1 (his wife--my daughter-in-law) if she knew what Son #1 was talking about. Turns out, this video was posted on Dr. Esselstyn's Facebook page, not long ago--we tracked it down--and I watched it. (Note: I, also don't use Facebook--which explains why I never saw this video. But, that should change in about a week. Son #1 convinced me it was a good idea. He, of all people??!!)
As for the video--I totally agree with Son #1. It's a great story. Two men randomly meet in a cab--and Peter Lewis ends up sharing his story with all of us!
Me to Son #1: But, I'm still wondering why you bothered to watch this video through til the end. Why?? Here's what he told me:
- It was such a random way that Dr. Esselstyn & Peter Lewis met. And then, Dr. Esselstyn spontaneously asks him to speak to an large audience, without a bit of preparation.
- I was taken in because Peter was so fit--a mountain biker--and he still got heart disease. (Son #1 also mountain bikes & he's fit--maybe this hit close to home.)
- Plus, Peter is a professor, he understood the research, and he wanted better odds for survival than his doctors were offering him--with drugs or stents.
Am I the only one who hasn't seen this video!!
Peter Lewis, Mountain-Biker, Mathematics Professor From Cardiff Wales on Reversing His Heart Disease--Healthy Expo October, 2006
If you do not see the video about Peter Lewis, click here
I'm not a huge fan of posting YouTube videos. Personally, I'm usually too inpatient to watch videos--and I figure, if I'm annoyed by them, maybe my readers are, too. I prefer the written word. It's much easier to refer back to.
But, in this case--listening to Peter Lewis tell his own story is more compelling than just reading a transcript.
So, dear readers, I'm going to give you both--the video & my amateur transcript--not exactly word-for-word-but mostly.
Dr. Esselstyn: Is Peter Lewis here? Professor Peter Lewis of mathematics fame, from Cardiff?
Peter, I wonder if I could get you to come up here a moment. I've known Peter for about 25 minutes. I was coming in from the airport & I crawled into this filled cab, and I saw this beaming face that I didn't recognize, & this man says, "You're Dr. Esselstyn, aren't you?" And then he proceeded to tell me this story. Since Peter is a professor, & he's used to being on his feet, I wonder if you can take just a few minutes & share your story with us, Peter.
Peter Lewis: (Slightly embarrassed, completely surprised, and very charming) This is totally out of the blue. 15 months ago, I thought I was pretty fit. My sport is mountain biking & I regularly ride with my 35 year old son, & I keep up with him--and he's pretty keen.
But, then, while I was helping my son do some gardening, 15 months ago, I felt this pain in my chest. I thought, "muscle pain", and dismissed it. But, it didn't go away & I ended up in the hospital emergency room, and I had to stay the night.
The next day, I was released with a bag of pills. On the way to the "car park", I had to walk up a gentle hill & the pain was so great that I had to stop. I had it fairly bad--I had a treadmill test in the hospital. I managed 4 minutes on the treadmill--less than 1/2 of the length of a normal test. So, I was in bad shape.
(When I got home) I looked on the internet to see what my prospects were--and they were pretty bad. They talked about improving your risk for survival. And the best medication you could get would only help lower your risk of getting a heart attack or dying.
I thought, "I don't want to face that. I'm healthy. I want my normal life back!"
So, I carried on with the internet, & came across a paper by Dr. Esselstyn, and what he said was, "I can eliminate your chance of having a heart attack." He had this study of 18 people who previously had collectively 49 cardiac events---and 12 years later, after they'd been on his diet, they had ZERO.
I thought, "That's the number I want! Zero." I didn't want a 5% or 10% risk, because if you're the 5% or 10% who have a heart attack, it's 100% for you! I want zero.
So, I read the paper, immediately followed the recommendations, & I went immediately on his diet. I calculated the fat content of what I was eating & it was someting like 7-8% or less. And I stuck on that diet.
I've got a research background, so I thought "I'm going to measure my improvement. I've got a standard bike route that climbs up behind my house--about 700 feet, & the first part of it is fairly gentle."
Immediately, when I started this test, I had to stop 7 times from pain during that first little bit. Then, as the weeks went by, it was 6 times, then 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 time. Then I managed to do the whole bottom section with no pain--or pain that was manageable.
I thought, "All right. I'll go on to the next section." It's steep up into the woods. Rough track. Tough. So I had to stop 3 or 4 times going up the steep part--because I was obviously much better.
Then that went down & I started to be able to ride the whole hill with no stops. So I started dropping some of my medications, Nicorandil, a vasodilator--gradually. Within 6 months, I virtually eliminated my angina--I was able to ride my bike trip all the way, without stopping & I was dropping my medication.
Now, 15 months later, I TAKE NO MEDICATION, & when I saw Dr. Esselstyn in this taxi, I said, "I'm here because of you!"
Because if you're doing this, and you believe so passionately in it, you want to help other people experience the benefits that you've had--but it's hard. People tend to treat you like "a different sort of person". They don't really want to know.
So, in order to feel geniunely inspired, I needed to come somewhere where I'm surrounded by people who believe the same things I believe, & perhaps experience the sort of things I experienced.
That's why I'm here.
Like my son, I'm also inspired by health-turn-around stories--especially, from people who thought they were fit--they exercised, and ate right--or so they thought.
Here's another one--from Michael Bicks--another cyclist who thought he was heart-attack proof--but wasn't: I'm Healthy, I Exercise, I Eat Right - I'm Heart-Attack Proof. "Not a Moment Too Soon I Thought of Tim Russert"
Last Night's Dinner--A Gorgeous Sri Lankan Kale, Black Bean, & Sweet Potato Mallung
Before I left for work yesterday morning, I checked to see what was cooking in the Healthy Girl's Kitchen. Turns out, Wendy's friend Quinny had cooked up a gorgeous Sri Lankan Kale with Black Beans & Sweet Potato dish that looked totally easy to make. In Sri Lanka, it's called Kale Mallung.
I've never had a Sri Lankan dish, and it sounded like a good plan for last night's dinner.
The Lab Rat was up for the challenge--so that's what we ate for dinner last night. He doubled Quinny's recipe--using 3 large sweet potatoes, 24 ounces of kale, 2 big onions, and 2 cans of black beans.
Honestly, this recipe is enough for 8 servings--not four. I'm also thinking that a little pineapple in it, next time, would taste great. As for the not-so-healthy addition of unsweetened coconut--spread over 8 servings gives you about 4.1 grams of fat, according Susan Voisin, the Fat-Free Vegan and my nutritional info. How's that for rationalization? The coconut & lime really made this dish something special.
It looks like a nutritional power-house to me, in spite of the coconut.
Quinny's & Fat-Free Vegan's
Kale, Sweet Potato,Black Bean Mullung
Serving Size: 1 serving
|Amount Per Serving|
The Benefits of Flax & Chia Lignans for the Prevention of Breast Cancer
Thanks again to blog reader Tom, who emailed me yesterday's Disease-Proof posting that explains how the lignans in flax & chia help to prevent estrogen-driven breast cancer. One more reason to add a tablespoon or two of flax or chia seed on top of your morning oatmeal! Fiber, omega-3s, & cancer-fighting lignans. 3 for 1.
The latest study on the subject just appeared in the October 11, 2011 issue of the British Journal of Cancer, "Estimated enterolignans, lignan-rich foods, and fibre in relation to survival after postmenopausal breast cancer." Read more here.
Excerpt from the Disease-Proof Blog:
"Women eating more flaxseeds with a documented higher serum enterolactone were found to have a 42% reduced risk of death from postmenopausal breast cancer and a dramatic (40 percent) reduction in all causes of death.14,15 Flaxseeds are clearly super foods; even with a mediocre diet they offer powerful protection against certain types of breast cancer.
Another interesting study on flax followed women for up to 10 years and found a 51% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 71% reduced risk of breast cancer mortality."
Read the entire flax/lignan/breast cancer post here.