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October 28, 2010



Thanks for being so persistent on this subject matter because most people don't believe that these types of results are possible.

Most believe it's all about genetics. Even my own doctor was shocked when my lab results came back. Prior to the blood work, he assured me that genetics played a big role in this. While genetics are important, it's only one piece of the health pie.

Unfortunately, people are convinced genes are the deciding factor. I like to quote Dr. Esselstyn ... "Genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger."


Ken Leebow


I had to laugh as I read this - I just finished my pre-run "Chocolate Smoothie", which reads exactly like Neal's - deprivation? Not on your life! :)

Also, I find the Star Wars quote very useful in changing my own mindset about both diet and other 'life' things. It's almost become a mantra to me.

(PS - can't wait to try the Lentil Loaf recipe; tonight we're having your Chili for a Crowd ( Ann Esseltyn's Almost All-Orange Soup ( was *fabulous* - so good, I had to make it twice in a row, and even then I only ended up with a measly bit leftover to freeze for a lunch treat later!)

Cynthia Bailey MD

What a great story. It makes this huge dietary initiative so tangible for anyone afraid that a plant based diet will somehow take the fun out of life. It's one thing to hear it from the usual 'choir' but it's so much more impacting to hear it from someone experiencing the transition for the first time.

And then there's me, yet to cut down on the nuts, seeds and olive oil. I'm getting my lipids drawn Monday before my first colonoscopy (52 and a little overdue). We'll see if I make that final step off the oils, it will hinge on my lipid results.

Thanks for another great post to refer my skeptical patients to.

Cynthia Bailey MD

Pamela Wildermuth

Always enjoy the reading on this website. I am 70 years old and had a Quad Open Heart Surgery in January this year, I read Dr Esselstyn Book and have been following the eating plan for 4 months. I live in Australia so had a lot of label reading to do to find food essential for my new way of life. For the start I thought it was difficult but I now find all is going well. I see my Cardiologist next week so am looking forward to some great results. Keep the information coming on this great site, Thanks, Pamela


Thank you so much for this. You've become known in my family as "My Librarian." My Librarian says this, etc. You are making a big impact on my life by making Esselstyn's plan seen easy.

Healthy Librarian

Ken--As always thanks for the thumbs up! I hopped over to your site & got lost for 30 minutes. Your before & after numbers say it all--and BTW--so do the photos. Great info over there. I've got to check out your book.

Carrie--So, where exactly does that banana-chocolate milkshake recipe come from? Neal had no idea. I made one yesterday with what was probably a giant banana & I had to eat it with a spoon. It's as good as anything with butter-fat--I've even added some coffee for a mocha taste. Really appreciate the feedback about the soup. Definitely want to hear how the chili turned out. Will post the lentil loaf recipe soon--I did spice it up a bit.
NOTE: My husband had forgotten to mention that HE added 1+ tsp. of Garam Masala for Ann's Almost Orange Soup. Try it next time--it added punch--not heat.

Dr. Bailey: Thanks for your comment. Will be curious to hear how the lipid panel turns out. Just the simple step of switching to sauteeing with veggie broth, instead of oil makes a big difference.

Pam: WOW! Very inspiring. I've heard from a number of folks who switched their diets to Esselstyn-style after bypass surgery, and have had fantastic results. Wishing you the same! Let me know.

Sharon: You gave me a big morning chuckle! Sure hope that it's working out well for you.

Ken Leebow

Thanks for visiting the website. Hope you didn't get too lost!

I saw your pizza photo and decided I had to prove that I could make a delicious and healthy pizza! Oh yeah, and since I'm not much of a cook, it had to be simple. Since I'm a Trader Joe's "geek", I made it with all-things TJ's - except for the crust. I actually used a high-fiber tortilla for that. My favorite TJ's veggies (can use them for so many dishes) is the Fire Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions. And, I added a lot of other veggie ingredients.

Long story short, this faux-pizza was amazing. And, it totaled about 250 calories! Next time I make it, I'll take some photos. This time, I ate it too fast.


Carrie, thanks for reminding me what I'm going to make for dinner tonight! I'm drowning in heirloom squash, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. HL, thanks for sharing an awesome recipe! If carcinogenicity is the black pepper concern then white pepper may be a reasonable substitute.

Healthy Librarian

MG--If you're talking about the ingredients for the Almost Orange Soup--recheck the recipe--I forgot to mention the addition of about 1+ tsp. of Garam Masala. It adds an awesome flavor. If you're talking about the white pepper in the Caramelized Onion Pumpkin Penne Pasta--I think Veganomicon uses white pepper for the "lack" of color. I didn't know about the carcinogenicity of black pepper.

Pamela Wildermuth

Hi again,
I have had a blood test,
Total Cholesterol, Aus 2.9 mm0l/L = USA 112, Triglycerides Aus 0.8 mmol/L = USA 71,
HDL Aus 0.67 mmol/L, LDL Aus 1.53 mmol/L, not sure if the conversion for this is the same. These figures are all below the Heart Foundations recommendations.
The Cardiologist would like me to follow the Mediterranean or Heart Foundation Diet, my GP would like me to start eating Fish, some Oil and Nuts, but I am feeling fine so will continue to follow Dr Esselstyn eating style.
Thanks for your words of encouragement,


I have been following Dr. Esselstyne diet (plant based vegan diet, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, no dairy, no nuts) to the letter, with the following results:
Blood chemistry before starting diet: Cholestrol = 146mg/dl, Triglycerides= 158, HDL= 45.9, LDL =68.5, Lipid Risk= 3.2
Blood chemistry 30 days later: Cholestrol= 36.7mg/dl, Triglycerides= 92, HDL= 35.9, LDL =36.7, Lipid Risk= 2.5

Is low HDL of any concern. Need help. Thanks

Healthy Librarian


Don't worry about low HDL if in the presence of low LDLs--but your numbers don't make sense to me. Did you mean to type 136.7 for total--you wrote 36.7 for the total?

Esselstyn's goal is to maintain a total cholesterol of

Healthy Librarian


You post-diet numbers don't make sense to me--did you mean to type 136.7 mg total?

Here's what Dr. Esselstyn has to say about HDLs when you change your diet:

Esselstyn's goal is to maintain a total cholesterol of

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