Yesterday (while I was wide awake, this time) I watched Dr. Sanjay Gupta‘s special, The Last Heart Attack, on CNN. I highly recommend that everyone try to find this when it airs again, On Demand, on the computer—somewhere! With a family history of heart disease, at 41 years old, Dr. Gupta went on a quest to delve into his own body with scans and tests and see if he could detect and hopefully prevent EVER having a heart attack. He undergoes blood tests, ultrasounds of his carotid artery and a cardiac scan (invented by the author of the South Beach Diet) and interviews doctors, cardiologists and patients of heart disease, including former President, Bill Clinton who underwent bypass surgery, and had stents put in a short time later. It was when he had the stent work that he decided he was never going to cure his heart disease unless he truly eliminated the plaque in his arteries. BINGO. This is the flaw of bypass surgery and or stents…they help with the cardiac arteries but here’s the thing–if you have plaque in your cardiac arteries, than you have plaque in all your arteries.
It was at this point that Clinton, who had already tweaked his diet earlier with the help of Dr. Dean Ornish, realized that “tweaking” was not enough and decided to try an entirely plant-based diet. In interviews with Dr. Esselystyn (China Study/Forks Over Knives) who heads the wellness program at the infamous Cleveland Clinic, he claims, without a shadow of a doubt, that a plant-based or vegan diet is THE way to reverse (not just halt) heart disease. His claim is that people on a plant-based diet can be assured that they will never have a heart attack. While I think that statement is a bit bold, the science does support his claim. In fact, in an interview with a woman who had complete blockage and denied emergency bypass surgery, we see not only how healthy and fit she feels now, but also images of once blocked arteries that have literally reopened.
Several interesting questions were raised during this one-hour show. Questions like how Bill Clinton got clean bills of health while in office, being seen by the top of the top physicians, and yet his arteries were blocked enough to cause a cardiac event just one year after leaving office, when we know build up takes years and years. This is one of the reasons the cardiac scan is such a great test, but isn’t often done. Instead we rely on blood cholesterol testing, which turns out to be a much better test for the people that make cholesterol medication than us. I learned that there are 2 types of LDL (bad –or lousy cholesterol) large and small particles. Turns out it’s the small particles that cause the blockage, but the large ones travel through our arteries, which is why some people with high cholesterol will never have a heart attack or stroke, while others are at higher risk. The type of particle CAN be determined through a blood test, though I never heard of this till I watched this show.
While I initially was interested in this special because I knew that Dr. Esselstyn and President Clinton would be on talking about diet, this was NOT the essence of the show. It was clearly about preventing a heart attack and diet was just one aspect. I learned a lot about heart disease and the graphics were both graphic and very interesting. Watching someone recover from open heart surgery was a tremendous reminder that this is something we should ALL want to avoid.
The Last Heart Attack. A great watch, highly informational and a great vision by Dr. Gupta. Once again, if you can find it in it’s repeat mode (I will post if I learn it is being shown again) I HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Regardless of how you decide to move forward after watching it, I promise you will be wiser for the hour spent. If it peaks your interest at all, you will definitely want to read The China Study or order a copy of Forks Over Knives. They are not only anti-heart attack but SO MUCH MORE! We are NOT our genes and have so much more control over our destiny than we sometimes believe or take responsibility for.
And did I mention, by the way, that Clinton’s weight is the lowest it has been since his youth? This from a president who was often parodied because of his love of foods fast and unhealthy! He claims to love the food he eats now as much as the food he ate before. I can relate, when you like to eat, it’s ALL GOOD! In fact, it’s so much better when you eat without guilt or fear!
The Last Heart Attack. Wouldn’t THAT be nice?
I woke up this morning with a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head. Firstly, I am thinking about all my college friends in Oceanside and Long Beach, Long Island (where I spent a summer living across from the beautiful boardwalk, back in the late 70s) and spent many a day on the gorgeous beach, with Mitch, family and friends. Watching the lifeguard building slam into the boardwalk was a great example of what hurricane winds are capable, even just a category 1 storm. Just last month, I read a great article about how the Quicksilver Pro will be held there, causing quite a bit of controversy as it is usually held in much more exotic places with much larger waves, but many competitive surfers have never been to New York before and if you are going to surf the waves in New York, Long Beach is THE PLACE. Hoping this will go on as scheduled and put that little beach on the big map.
I also woke up thinking about how I fell asleep watching The Sanjay Gupta special last night. It finally aired at 9pm and then again, I believe, at midnight. I would like to say I fell asleep during the midnight showing, but a night owl I have NEVER been. In any event, I recorded it and will watch it in it’s totality later today. I did catch a bit of the interview with Bill Clinton, who definitely now considers himself a vegan and has grown to love foods he once totally ignored. It’s amazing what a cardiac event can push a person to do! Will let you know a little more about the show once I am actually watching it with my eyes open.
Often the question of “how much soy is too much soy?” comes up. This is so controversial and I just can’t answer for sure, because I don’t know what the right answer is!!! Yes, soy mimics estrogen and is suggested for woman as they are going through the changes of life and their estrogen is lessening, to help with hot flashes and other symptoms. That could lead us to think too much soy might be contraindicated for someone that has had cancer or is at a high risk–one would think–especially for breast cancer…but over and over again, the research seems to support the opposite. In fact, in Okinawa, where the staple foods are sweet potatoes and tofu, (actually the world’s largest consumers of tofu, eating about 12 ounces per person, per day) the people have 80% less breast cancer and more than 50% less ovarian and colon cancers than Americans. While I once feared too much soy, personally, I no longer do. In my mind, given all the science, too much meat, poultry or dairy seems to be way more risky!
My time is up! I am off to start a busy Monday filled with lots of fitness, but I always remember to balance it out with plenty of peace! I hope your day holds much of the same. If you are cleaning up from the storm, remember to put your safety above all else. Stay hydrated and remember that all that cleaning up counts for your daily dose of fitness. Then sit back and savor the calm after the storm.
“At times, challenges hit with the force of a roaring, rushing waterfall. The true test, however, is whether you can put your arms up and enjoy the feel of the water.”
Sending love and light to all our family, friends, and strangers who are in the midst of dealing with Hurricane Irene (and probably don’t have the electric power to read this, this morning). I hope that everyone will remember to stay safe, stay hydrated and hold on to the knowledge that somewhere in all of this is that beautiful rainbow.
I wake up saddened to learn several surfers have lost their lives to Irene. I can only imagine how excited the surfers are to get out there and get tubed in an over-sized wave — truly a surfers dream. Please don’t think you can outsmart a hurricane, though. Even with all the storm tracking, these storms have minds of their own. Everyone be smart and safe!!!
If you are fortunate enough to have electricity tonight, tune in or set your DVR for the Sanjay Gupta show tonight at 8pm on CNN. I suppose it could be pre-empted again, last week for the crisis in Libya and tonight for the crisis in the eastern US. Billed “The Last Heart Attack,” I am certain that even if it isn’t on tonight, it will be soon, because this health information is big.
With an early morning client, I am off and running…literally. Stay safe and remember there is always a rainbow after a storm!
- Bill Clinton Talks to Sanjay Gupta About His Heart Surgery, Becoming a Vegan (shoppingblog.com)
- Hurricane Surfers Chase Irene as Others Flee Storm’s Path (abcnews.go.com)
If there is only one thing we Floridians know, it’s that Mother Nature will do whatever it is she wants to do. As Hurricane Irene makes her way up the northeastern seaboard, stay safe, make sure you have lots of water (wine helps, too) with you wherever you hunker down, use flashlights inside (remember, most of your smart phones have an app for a flashlight, so if you haven’t downloaded that, get on it) — if you have an extra battery for your phone, make sure it’s charged. Think text messaging! Remember that things are just that, and they can be replaced. Put your important documents in plastic. Give extra attention to your animals who will probably be even more sensitive to the barometric changes than you! Above all else, remember that you are not alone in this so take care of your friends and neighbors and let them take care of you, too. We certainly learned this lesson after Wilma and still are grateful to our neighbor, Lance, who literally insisted we share the energy from his generator. Together, you will get through this and as my hero Matty Stepanik said, and I often quote, “remember to play after every storm. “
Good news for the locals…Sublime has added quite a few new items to the menu. Personally, I can’t wait to go and taste the potstickers stuffed with cabbage, green onion, bok choy, rice noodles and shitake mushrooms with a ponzu dipping sauce. They have also added Gardein sliders, tempeh Reuben sandwiches, broccomoli (a mixture of avocado, broccoli, chickpeas, garlic and lemon) a veggie burger and Thai and pesto pizzas. Sublime, located at 1431 N. Federal Highway in Ft. Lauderdale is THE place to find yummy, plant-based foods in a casual yet somewhat upscale environment. They have a great bar, and anyone that’s anyone, that enjoys a plant-based diet can be found there, such as Sir Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson. The owner is a delightful woman who comes around to say hi to everyone and donates her proceeds to animal welfare foundations. Having been there only twice, I can’t wait to go back and try some of the new items! If a vegan or vegetarian asks YOU for a restaurant suggestion in South Florida, this IS the place!
Regardless of what you eat, we ALL drink water! (We better be). Lots of people ask me my opinion on that oxygenated water. Here is my final answer. Oxygen can only be taken into our lungs. No, we cannot drink it! Feel like you need more oxygen in your body? TAKE SOME DEEP BREATHS and remember oxygen can ONLY be processed by our lungs, NOT our stomachs. When you think about it that way, it makes perfect sense! Drink your water, breath your oxygen.
And as long as we are talking food and drink, I beg you to stop drinking the diet soda. Over and over studies are reporting that it might actually be doing you much more harm than the good of saving some calories. The studies are reporting all kinds of negative findings from disrupting cell function in the liver and the brain, to raising blood-glucose levels (the leading factor for diabetes) to contributing to osteoporosis and just plain making us fat! I have never been able to drink a diet soda. It always left a really funny taste in my mouth and gave me headaches, when I tried. Trust me, in college, I tried a lot. I learned early on, cutting sugar out completely was a lot better for me than any artificial sweetener. All you have to do is Google aspartame and that will probably help you cut the diet soda habit. Studies show that people who drink 2 diet sodas a day see their waist size grow at a –get this– 500 percent greater rate than those who don’t drink any. OUCH! Diet soda may very well be contributing to the obesity epidemic in our country.
As earthquakes and hurricanes rock our country this week, I hope wherever you are you are safe! To all my loved ones along the eastern seaboard, hang on cause here comes Irene. Take care of yourselves, each other and all your furry friends and try a meatless meal day. You may just like it!
- Bad News About Diet Soda: 4 Most Fattening Summer Drinks (self.com)
- Every Bite Was Sublime (vegontherun.wordpress.com)
- Every Bite Was Sublime (vegontherun.wordpress.com)
“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.”
With special thanks to Justin, who’s FaceBook page I borrowed this from –Thanks Justin for some great inspiration and for spreading the word!
Good morning. As mentioned a few days ago, I read an incredible article in the current issue of Newsweek called No- The One Word That Can Save Your Life. I think this article is a MUST READ for everyone, especially those concerned about cholesterol, heart disease, osteoporosis, and those of us who are at that age when many screening tests are being encouraged (in some cases, demanded) by our physicians. In fact, there is a growing body of research proving that some of the commonly ordered tests and procedures are not only overused, but often don’t help patients and in some cases, actually hurt them!
This article focuses on several prominent physicians who are finding that too much health care can actually be a bad thing. The general rule of thumb is that by screening and testing we can get to the root of a problem and treat it with medication or surgery, but in many cases, testing simply leads to more testing as well as interventions for things that have may very well go away on their own. In many cases the abnormalities found in scans are not even the cause of the problem and we end up getting treated for something that wasn’t bothering us in the first place, while the original problem continues.
One of the reasons this article impacted me so greatly, is because I know too many people that are a result of this very scenario. The article delves into the trouble with cardiac stents (medically recommended for people who have suffered heart attacks less than 24 hours before the procedure) that are often done aggressively for others who would fair just as well, or better, with medication or…well, you knew it was coming, a change in diet and exercise–how about 500,000 of these angioplasties done yearly when other, less invasive, less dangerous and less expensive routes could have had as successful or better results.
And what about statins?? How many people do you know that are on them? Are you? Do you know that statins are only proven effective for people that have BOTH high cholesterol AND heart disease, not JUST high cholesterol? I have been screaming from the roof tops about this one for years, but since most people feel their doctor knows best, my screams aren’t often heard. Another article I read in another magazine this month quotes a doctor who suggests that lifestyle is a much more accurate predictor of heart disease than testing for cholesterol. Once again, those that exercise regularly and eat healthfully, have lesser chances of having a cardiac event, or stroke than an the person walking around thinking his/her statin will take care of their plaque filled arteries. Keep in mind that the possible side effects of taking statins daily is painful wasting of the muscle. While doctors may tell you this is rare, I will never forget sitting with a woman who’s mom was dying from a wasting away of her heart muscle, a side effect of her statin…and unfortunately, it’s not as rare as we may be led to believe.
Of all the tests that were mentioned in this article, I was surprised to read about the over-use of the MRI for back pain. Here the main idea is that if you find the cause of the pain, it can generally be successfully eliminated with surgery or therapy, but there are huge flaws with this theory. For one, the MRIs see EVERYTHING and for most of us, our spines are NOT perfect. Once a practitioner finds a problem such as a bulging disc, they assume that is the cause of the pain, but turns out, it’s usually not the case. Additionally, studies (and I have been following these for decades) continue to prove that most back pain responds just as well to plain-old rest and mild exercise and massage, or chiropractics, as it does to surgery, yet surgery has all the risks.
The article touches upon more…anti-depressants which have been shown to improve severe depression, but not moderate or mild and proton pump inhibitors proven effective against gastric reflux and some ulcers but more than half the prescriptions written for these are for conditions that are NOT helped by these drugs.
Treating people for adverse drug reactions in our country cost the US $200 billion dollars a year. Over use of procedures is literally killing people. Even things people see as harmless like bone density screenings are being done TOO MUCH. Medically, unless you have symptoms of bone loss, the information obtained from a screening is a useful guide for people OVER 65.
I know this was a lengthy read this morning. This information is huge and impacts most of us, or our loved ones. I urge you to read the entire article yourself. Amazingly, thanks to my webmaster, the link to it just appeared on my screen and I will put it at the bottom of this entry. If I knew that was going to happen, I would have saved you all this reading of my synopsis!!! Anyway, read it once, then read it again. Make sure you do YOUR homework before saying yes to a test, screening, pill, procedure or surgery! Of course there are times when we will need all of the above, but don’t just assume it is right just because your doctor says so or all your friends are doing it!
Unfortunately the crisis in Libya pre-empted Bill Clinton on the Sanjay Gupta show this past Sunday night. I believe it is scheduled to run again this Saturday night at 8pm eastern time. It is all about heading off heart attacks before they happen and how much healthier Clinton is, today, at 65, through, yup, there it is again, diet and exercise.
If you know someone who may benefit from this information, please pass it on!!! Take care of your health and have a great day.
One Word Can Save Your Life: No! (thedailybeast.com)
Here in Broward County, Florida, it’s the first day of public school. Wishing all the students, the teachers and the parents, a good first day back and a successful school year ahead. To teach and to learn…I always believe that is the purpose of life–well, it’s definitely my purpose. As you send your children off with all the tools they need to be present in their own learning, I hope you will look beyond the books, (do we still use those?) calculators and floppy discs and consider what your children will be eating, daily and how they will get in ample daily exercise. Both of these are as important (perhaps more so) to their short and long term success. While not every child will be able to eat a healthy breakfast, never stop offering them and load them up with healthy options for later in the day…and please schedule “get outside and play time,” as much as possible! Without their health, all the education in the world won’t be enough.
Here’s a couple of kitchen tips that I learned lately. In the constant quest to make quinoa easy to digest and yummy, I have found that soaking and rinsing for about 20 minutes before cooking the quinoa definitely allows some of the hard “skin” to easily come off the “seed.” Then, if you have an extra few minutes, stir the quinoa around in the pot for a few minutes to let it get a little toasted before adding the water and cooking. I did this last night and it came out really soft and much more like couscous than anything grainy…Another great tip I recently learned, is great not only for kale, but any of the darker, tougher greens that are so healthy for us–try massaging the leaves with a little olive oil for a few minutes before cooking. This will help soften them up and tone down bitterness….Finally, when preparing something messy in the kitchen such as fresh beets, keep a small box of baking soda handy. It will clean up your counters, knives, and cutting boards without all the messy soap suds. Use it on your hands and it will not only clean, but also exfoliate!
If school starts where YOU are, today please watch for school zones and buses. Let’s all help make these first days back safe and successful, for our own kids and for each others. We are, after all, all connected!