February is not only the month we celebrate love, with lots of hearts and flowers, but also celebrate the heart, itself. February is heart health awareness month, and all over TV and around our own communities, we see people dressed in red to help bring attention to this important health issue. With all the talk about the BIG C, I wonder how many of us are aware that in fact, heart disease is the LEADING killer of women and men in Western civilization! What’s so frustrating is that it is believed that this illness could be almost completely wiped out by following some time tested steps that over and over again prove to be the antidote! In fact, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a researchers and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic for over 35 years, says “If the truth be known, coronary artery disease is a toothless paper tiger that need never, ever exist and if it does exist need never to progress.” Sadly, most physicians have little to no training in nutrition and are missing the boat here, when treating patients. In fact, we may remember that it was Mitch’s own primary care physician who recently recommended he eat more beef to get ample vitamin B. This suggestion still makes me see red! Sure, there are lots of medications and surgeries that can help treat the symptoms of heart disease but not only do they all have side-effects, if we never treat the root of the problem, we just need more medications and more surgeries. Dr. Esselstyn goes on to say that “plant based eating could inaugurate a seismic revolution in health.” He sees time and time again that when people switch to plant-based diets no only does heart disease reverse, but other diseases that resolve include obesity, hypertension, stroke, gallstones, diverticulitis, asthma, osteoporosis, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and studies also show a marked decrease in common Western cancers such as breast, prostate, colon, endometrial, ovarian and pancreatic.
Now if that doesn’t make you want to try a meatless meal or two today, I can’t imagine what would. If you think a plant-based diet is a great big challenge and hassle, what do you think a heart attack, open heart surgery, dialysis, and chemotherapy would be? And for the record, I will once again repeat that once we get out of the beef, chicken or fish mentality there are a world of food choices that will not only prevent these diseases of affluence, but actually do wonders for every aspect of our bodies, not just inside, but out (skin, hair, nails, etc.) as well.
So spread the love and remember that in order to really love others completely, you have to love yourself, first.