Doctor’s Tip: A miracle? No, just a change in diet
If you want to learn more about the health benefits of plant-based, whole foods (unprocessed), low-fat nutrition from a speaker with a national reputation who is a giant in the field, hear Joel Fuhrman, M.D., at the Aspen Institute from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2. Dr. Fuhrman wrote “Eat to Live” and more recently “The End of Dieting,” and is an excellent speaker. To reserve a seat, go to www.nutritionalresearch.org and click on Aspen Institute Lectures, or call 888-511-4443.
Michael Greger, M.D., is the author of nutritionfacts.org and a recent book called “How Not to Die.” He is one of the few physicians who is truly an expert in nutrition, having made it his life’s work to stay on the cutting edge of nutrition research and disseminate the information to lay people and health professionals. In the preface of his book, he tells the interesting story of what drove him.
At age 65, his beloved grandmother had developed end-stage atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). She had angina, blockages in her coronary arteries that caused her to have chest pain just walking across the room. She also had peripheral vascular disease, meaning arterial blockages in her legs, which caused leg pain after walking short distances. She had several bypass and stent procedures to circumvent the blockages, but her vascular surgeons eventually couldn’t do any more to help her and sent her home from the hospital in a wheelchair to die.
About that time, “60 Minutes” did a segment on the new Pritikin Diet, which was a plant-based, whole foods, low-fat diet that had been shown to reverse atherosclerosis. Dr. Greger’s grandmother traveled to California, where the inpatient Pritikin Center was located. After three weeks on the program, she went from not being able to walk across the room to walking 10 miles a day. And she lived until age 96. There are lots of similar stories in the plant-based literature. We now know that atherosclerosis can resolve if we quit feeding it with the meat and dairy-based Western Diet, such as the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet).
Understandably, this is what drove young Dr. Greger to go to medical school and help people prevent and treat disease through nutrition. Most medical schools have very little training in nutrition, if any, but he chose one that had at least a little.
Why hasn’t prevention and treatment of disease through lifestyle gained much traction in the U.S.? Actually, things are changing in this regard, albeit slowly. But we have developed an expensive medical system that is based on treating disease with pills and surgery rather than preventing it or treating it with lifestyle modification. So there are lots of interests vested in maintaining the status quo.
Dr. Feinsinger, who retired from Glenwood Medical Associates after 42 years as a family physician, now has a nonprofit Center For Prevention and Treatment of Disease Through Nutrition. He is available for free consultations about heart attack prevention and any other medical concerns. Call 970-379-5718 for an appointment. For questions about his columns, email him at email@example.com.
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