Tag Archives: plant based diet

Heart Disease – No. 1 cause of death

Artery scanning

Dr Chan Hwang scans the carotid artery of a Vegfest attendee.

Heart disease is still the number one cause of death for both men and women. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. A plant-based diet can reduce your risk of a heart attack by 40%. If you wish your doctor knew about this, we want you to know that we do too! That’s why we wrote a letter to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. They recently published an Expert Consensus Decision Pathway on the role of non-statin therapies for lowering LDL Cholesterol, but they “forgot” to include the plant-based diet!  We told them about their omission, and we published it as an open letter, complete with references to all the latest research on the topic.

The most common cause of a heart attack is cholesterol-laden plaque that builds up and clogs the coronary arteries that feed the heart. This plaque either cuts off the heart’s blood supply, or it destabilizes causing a blockage which leads to a heart attack. A plant- based diet can stop the build up of plaque in the coronary arteries and even tack it back a bit.

Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack from clogged arteries, and for a significant portion of those victims their first heart attack will be fatal. The necessity of undergoing surgery to bypass clogged coronary arteries or to insert a stent, or even just the threat of being at risk for a heart attack, has given many a man and woman more than just a few sleepless nights.

Coronary artery bypass surgery enables many patients to live significantly longer, but it is very invasive and entails some risks and complications. Blood vessels from other parts of the body are used to create detours around the clogged arteries, but eventually these new pathways become blocked as well. Stents to help keep the artery open still involve surgery and can reclog.

But there’s a better solution to this problem – a vegetarian solution. Scientific studies have shown, time and again, the power of a healthy vegetarian diet to prevent and treat heart disease. Texas cardiologist Dean Ornish took patients destined for bypass surgery and placed them on a vegetarian diet instead of the standard meat-centered diet they were following. The results were striking. Their blockages started reducing in size, and the arteries opened up a bit. The heart’s ability to pump started to improve in only 24 days. There was a 91% reduction in chest pain. Within a year, his patients were literally hiking up mountains.

The beneficial effects to heart health seem to be long lasting. Recent research has also shown that the arteries become less inflamed and more flexible leading to much better blood flow to the heart muscle.

Other doctors tried testing a vegetarian diet on their patients and achieved the same results as Ornish. At this point, countless patients around the world have been “rescued” by the humble yet powerful vegetarian diet.

It turns out that plant foods work even better than medications in many cases. Studies have shown that a low-fat vegetarian diet, by itself, is at least as powerful at lowering the cholesterol levels of patients, as the American Heart Association Diet combined with a cholesterol-lowering drug.

The reason for this is simple. A vegetarian diet is much lower both in the saturated fat that promotes cholesterol production in our own livers, and in cholesterol itself. A vegan diet goes a step further and includes no cholesterol at all. As an extra bonus, the plant foods that are so plentiful in a vegetarian diet have also been shown to reduce blood pressure. Just as important, while you’re cleaning out your coronary arteries, you’ll also be cleaning out the arteries that lead to your brain and even your legs, thus preventing or reversing the most common kind of dementia and the painful legs that many people get when walking.

The beauty of the vegetarian solution is that it is available to everyone. You don’t need a prescription or even a doctor’s note to change your diet today. Come to Vegfest and find out how your arteries are doing, with our free artery ultrasound scans and blood pressure screenings, and try some of the heart-healthy food you’ll find there. We think you’ll find that getting healthy never tasted so good.

See professional level information on hypercholesterolemia, and the treatment of coronary artery disease.

Vegan powerlifter – 62 years old

Rocky LuedekerRocky Luedeker of Oak Creek, Arizona, is a 62-year-old record-breaking powerlifter. She started lifting competitively four years ago and now holds 13 world records, and 26 state and national records.

According to Luedeker, “My best curl is 45 pounds, my best squat is 124 pounds, my best deadlift is 184 pounds.” She does all of this on a plant-based diet. She loves beans and rice, with lettuce every day. “A common myth is we [vegans] don’t have enough protein, and we have more than enough protein” she said.

But it also takes the right attitude to break records. “If I don’t get it this time, I will practice harder and get it next time,” she said. She has inspired her daughter, Bianca, also a vegetarian, who is now in training for the 2024 Olympics. “Definitely, lifting has greatly increased my confidence,” Bianca said. She is proud to be part of the “Lifting Luedekers” and proud of her powerlifting mom.

Dietitians on the Environment

academy-of-nutrition-and-dieteticsA new position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) highlights the benefit of a plant-based diet for both health and now the environment. The paper says plant-based diets are more environmentally friendly and sustainable than diets rich in animal products, noting that they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50 percent.

“Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage” the Academy says . “Becoming vegetarian can be beneficial to personal health and the environment,” says Vandana Sheth, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.”

More and more dietitians are publishing articles on the connection between our food choices and environmental sustainability. To learn more of how a veg diet protects the environment, see our many articles, or our printable Eating Green brochure.

Veg Diet treats Fibromyalgia

Woman With Severe Neck Pain 6This disease needs a better treatment and needs it badly. It’s one of those particularly hard-to-treat diseases, but new research shows that a plant-based diet may help quite a bit.

Fibromyalgia is a tough disease to experience. It hurts, it’s exhausting, and it can be depressing. Fibromyalgia, which affects millions of Americans, is a disease of persistent widespread pain, stiffness, fatigue, plus disrupted and unrefreshing sleep. Not surprisingly, those with fibromyalgia have functional impairment of the activities of daily living. Current treatments aren’t especially effective for most patients, so something better is needed.

Read more

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Veg Diet helps

Rheumatoid-Arthritis handsRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) hurts. Nearly 3 million Americans suffer from it. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition also can damage a wide variety of body organs, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. There are treatments, but many have significant side effects.

Following a plant-based diet can reduce your chances of getting RA. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, comparing those who followed a vegetarian diet to those who ate meat but otherwise followed a healthy lifestyle, showed that those following a vegetarian diet reduced their risk of getting Rheumatoid Arthritis 50%. Read more

The Global Cost of Not Going Veg

Globe - blue & greenA recent Oxford University study highlights the human, environmental and economic cost the world faces if we don’t go veg. On the health side, the report shows that millions of lives will be lost due to meat, dairy and egg-related diseases. From an environmental perspective, eighty percent of agricultural greenhouse emissions come from livestock. While  the economic cost is already high, Oxford University estimates that by 2050, raising and consuming meat will cost the world as much as $13 trillion per year in increased medical costs and environmental damage. They say the most effective diet to stem this rising tide of pollution and illness is the plant-based or vegan diet. Read more

Defeating Diabetes – cooking classes

Are you worried about diabetes or prediabetes? 

Amanda cooking feature 1.1Join us at our “Defeating Diabetes” series of classes, four Saturday mornings starting Saturday Nov 5, 10am, at East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue.

Register here

Plant foods are powerful medicine for diabetes (Type II or Adult Onset). Medical researchers have discovered that a plant-based diet is very effective for both preventing and helping to reverse diabetes and pre-diabetes. In some cases it’s even more powerful than medication.

You can reduce your risk of getting diabetes by just taking the following medicines: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts. The more you take, the more protection you can get. For instance, researchers found that those following semi-vegetarian diets, pesco vegetarian, lacto ovo-vegetarian, and vegan diets, reduced their risk of diabetes by 28%, 51%, 61% and 72% respectively. The pattern here is clear: the more plant foods you eat, the more protection you get.

What about if you already have diabetes? Even here plant foods are powerful medicine. In one study, conducted at George Washington University, 46% of diabetics were able to stop or significantly reduce their medications in only 6 months. Even more impressive is how the powerful plant-based diet reduced blood sugar by about 25% more than the usual treatment – the drug metformin combined with the standard American Diabetes Association diet.

If you’d like to learn more, we’re here to help.  Amanda Strombom, a certified Food for Life instructor, is teaching a special “Defeating Diabetes” series of classes.

On four Tuesday evenings, starting May 31st, you can learn more about how a plant-based diet can help treat and prevent diabetes, and discover delicious new foods and recipes.  Each class will focus on a different aspect of plant-based foods, with an informative short video and a delicious cooking demonstration where you can enjoy tasting all the different recipes. Get all your questions answered.

All are welcome. A small fee of $12.50 per class, or $40 for the series, helps us cover the costs, but scholarships are available.

See professional level information on Type 2 diabetes

Please note our articles and classes are for educational purposes only. Consult your physician before making any changes to your health care.

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