I had Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. in my library queue before my Dad died. I picked it up last week and started crying reading this information that exactly described our situation:
“An American has an Avoidable heart attack every 30 seconds.”
“Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, accounting for more than 40% of all deaths. Most of these deaths occur soon after the onset of symptoms and well before victims are admitted to the hospital.”
“If you are an American over the age of 40, your chance of having atherosclerosis (hardening) of your blood vessels is over 95%. You may think ‘Heart disease won’t happen to me!’ But it has already happened, and now your chance of dying from atherosclerosis is about 40%.”
“Regular stress test results do not show hardening of the arteries. You can have a heart attack the day after you are told your vessels are clear.”
Most of this was news to me, even though I read a lot about health-related stuff. I felt like the book was speaking right to me, to make me do something to help others learn about this.
Good news is, not only is heart disease preventable, it’s actually reversible by switching to a plant-based diet.
Eat To Live is dense and almost textbook like, describing in detail which foods cause disease and why, and which foods prevent them. (A similar and easier to read book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition)
Fuhrman advocates for an ideal diet made up of about 90% plant foods (fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts) and 10% everything else.
My dad had no risk factors for heart disease besides diet and most likely genetics (although his parents both died of colon cancer and his four older siblings are still alive, so can’t be sure.)
Everyone thought he was so healthy because he was active, energetic, and always maintained a healthy weight.
And although his diet wasn’t the worst ever, he ate fruits and veggies regularly, the bulk of his calories came from animal products and processed foods. He also loved ice cream, cookies, candy, etc. Actually he was sort of known for it, but “Dad can eat all he wants, he will burn it all off!”.
I guess not.
If you think you may be in that 95% of people whose diet is contributing to plaque build up in your arteries, please share this article with others and pick up a copy of Eat To Live.
Love you and miss you Dad.