The previous post looked at the remarkable results patients with heart disease achieved, under the care of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. His emphasis on plant-based nutrition, helped compliant patients be free of further heart events years after his study ended.
Dr. Esselstyn’s approach is simple and direct. He suggests which foods to avoid and the foods you can eat. Additionally, Esselstyn has supplements he believes you must consume on a daily basis.
His list of foods to avoid include:
- Anything with a face or a mother. This means meat, poultry, fish and eggs;
- Dairy products of any type, such as butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and skim milk;
- All oils, including virgin olive oil and canola oil;
- All refined grains, such as enriched flour products and white rice; and
- Nuts, with a minor exception for a small helping of walnuts.
Dr. Esselstyn’s list of must-have foods to eat, includes:
- Vegetables of all kinds and colors, except avocados;
- Legumes, such as all kinds of beans, peas, and lentils;
- Whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, whole oats, brown rice, spelt, and quinoa;
- Fruit of all varieties, but NO fruit juices because of their high sugar content;
- Beverages like water, seltzer water, tea, coffee, and no-fat soy milk. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation.
Regarding supplements, Esselstyn considers the following to be essential to his plan:
- A daily multivitamin;
- Vitamin B12;
- Vitamin D3;
- Omega-3 fatty acids, preferably obtained from flaxseed meal; and
- Under doctor supervision only, cholesterol-lowering drugs until your total cholesterol falls below 150mg/dL.
Basically, Esselstyn’s plant-based nutrition plan contains about 10 percent fat, as opposed to the typical fat-laden Western diet.
Interestingly, Dr. Esselstyn uses chapter 10 of his book to bash so-called “heart healthy” oils. He has a particularly harsh opinion of olive oil. He states the following position:
“Between 14 and 17 percent of olive oil is saturated, artery-clogging fat – every bit as aggressive in promoting heart disease as the saturated fat in roast beef.”
Dr. Esselstyn disputes the popularity of the Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on the virtues of olive oil. He notes that the results of the Lyon Diet Heart Study, show that nearly 25% of the subjects on a Mediterranean diet had suffered some new heart disease event or died within 4 years of the study’s start. He clearly states why he believes olive oil is no panacea, when it comes to heart health.
In Part 2 of the book, his wife Ann Crile Esselstyn, provides many tips on meal planning and recipes for you to succeed in achieving plant-based nutrition. I’ve tried many of the meal suggestions and find they’re very filling and taste great.
The Bottom Line: I don’t necessarily agree with everything involved in plant-based nutrition, but Dr. Esselstyn puts forth a very compelling argument. I found him to be a warm and genuine man, who looks great in his late 70s. I will continue to include many of his suggestions in my daily diet. After all, he does have proof to back up his claims.
Are you going to eat more leafy, green vegetables with beans today?
It’s your life, live well.