Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tips From A Top Heart Surgeon

From Harlan Spector in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 2008

"Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn puts it this way: When it comes to the health of your coronary arteries, a little fat in the diet is like a little gasoline on the fire.
In a chapter titled "Moderation Kills" in his book, "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease," the retired Cleveland Clinic surgeon explains in detail how every bite of fat unleashes free radicals, harmful chemicals that wreak havoc on the arteries.
It's scary enough. But you're not alone if you think it would be next to impossible to give up everything fat and meaty to eat like the Papua Highlanders of New Guinea (one of the cultures he notes that subsists on plant foods and has no coronary disease).

The change is not easy, but Esselstyn and his wife, Ann, offer these tidbits in the book, Prevent And Reverse Heart Disease:
• Realize that fat is craved, just like nicotine. Stop cold turkey and cravings for fat-laden food will disappear in three months.

• If you are invited to dinner, explain to the host you have an unusual diet and you can't eat meat, fowl, fish, dairy or oils. Don't make a big deal about it. Offer to come just for a glass of wine, or tell the host you will be happy with salad and bread, baked potato, or whatever they offer that fits your diet.

• Some restaurants will be happy to accommodate if you explain your dietary restrictions. Call ahead if you can.

• Instead of cow's milk on cereal or old-fashioned rolled oats, use fruit juice, almond milk or non-fat soy milk.
• You'll have to experiment to find salad dressings without oil you like. Try a combination of balsamic vinegar and fat-free hummus.

• Invest in a rice cooker. (Note: Brown rice, wild rice, and black rice are the most nutritious)

• You don't have to give up pizza, just the cheese ("You couldn't find a worse food for your heart," Esselstyn says). How does Roasted Vegetable and Spinach Polenta Pizza sound?

• Desserts are doable. Replace cow's milk with the above-mentioned substitutes. Use applesauce or prunes instead of oil. Mix ground flaxseed meal with water for an egg substitute. "

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