“…Heart disease is the number one killer in most countries around the world.
It is most starkly felt in so-called first world nations like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Death with the cause traced back to heart-related matters is the biggest killer of NZ men and women, followed by cancer.
I had the opportunity this week to interview Dr Caldwell Esselstyn.
He is a highly acclaimed but hugely controversial American heart specialist.
As a 40-year-old cardiologist, he became frustrated with a number of interventions in heart health.
He was particularly upset with the amount of invasive open heart surgery – including implanting stents to unclog blocked arteries -
- which often leads to buying more time on this earth – rather then fixing the problem.
What is the problem?
He maintains that if it has a face and a mother – do not eat it.
In other words, he makes a remarkable case about stopping us from eating meat products, dairy products – anything that is processed and salted.
Put another way, his recipe for our health would destroy our economy overnight –
- and revolutionise what we eat – what we grow to eat – and how we prepare what we eat.
He makes a compelling case on the basis of a large number of long-term studies on how, through what we eat, smoke and drink -
- we in effect slowly start to kill ourselves and children – by the diet we consume.
He argues that this lifestyle slowly poisons us with cancer-causing properties -
- and our diet places growing and constant pressure on all of our main and essential organs.
The good doctor argues we are in effect knowingly poisoning ourselves -
- and that pharmaceutical companies, big hospital machines and the farming and processing industries know this to be true -
- but will argue against changing the way in which we continue to live and eat.
I put the proposition that moderation is the key to a balanced diet with exercise.
He argues that this is still a gamble – because a mild heart attack caused by a moderate lifestyle is still a heart attack.
I indicated to the doctor that we were moving from smothering everything with butter as well as cooking in it to using margarine -
- and now olive oil because apparently Mediterranean people have better heart conditions.
He advised that olive oil is over 90% saturated fat – has no roughage – and very little protein.
Further, olive oil is not a substitute for the way in which we use butter – (but) as a luxury item to be used sparingly.
Like all Kiwis, we have been bred on meat and dairy products.
But the doctor has made outstanding common sense and well-researched comments.
He changed his diet 26 years ago.
He looks 55 – but is actually 78.
My New Year’s resolution will be to change my diet…”
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