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Opportunity to hear a nutrition rock star on Feb. 9 in Carbondale


January 27, 2017

There have been many giants in the field of preventing, treating and reversing disease through nutrition. The thing they all have in common is that based on science they advocate a plant-based, no-added-oil, whole (unprocessed) food lifestyle with avoidance of salt and sugar. Here are some of the most notable experts:

· Before the advent of anti-hypertensive medications, there was no cure for malignant (severe) hypertension, which resulted in kidney and heart failure and death. In 1939 Duke University’s Walter Kempner, M.D., tried putting these patients on a diet consisting solely of white rice and fruit. Two-thirds of the patients experienced reversal of their hypertension and kidney and heart damage. As you can imagine, this diet was “monotonous and tasteless” as Dr. Kempner said, but it probably beat dying. This could have saved President FDR, who died from a stroke caused by severe hypertension.

· In the 1970s, an inventor and entrepreneur named Nathan Pritikin was diagnosed in his early 40s with angina, meaning chest pain with exertion, caused by atherosclerotic (hardening of the arteries) blockages in his heart. Pritikin researched the subject and found out that people on plant-based diets don’t get atherosclerosis, and he founded an inpatient program that is now called the Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa, in California. Medicare is so impressed with the results patients get, that they will pay to have patients spend time at the Spa, which is much less expensive than bypass surgery and certainly safer.

· Some 25 years ago, Dean Ornish, M.D., proved that you could reverse atherosclerotic heart disease with a combination of plant-based nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction through yoga and meditation.

· T. Colin Campbell, PhD, a nutrition scientist at Cornell, showed in his lab that plant proteins stopped the growth of cancer cells whereas animal proteins promoted their growth. Later he was the lead scientist in The China Study, the largest epidemiologic study ever done (study of large populations of people, see what they eat and what diseases they get). He co- stars in the documentary Forks Over Knives (forks we eat with versus surgical knives), available on You Tube and Netflix, and wrote a book called “The China Study.”

· Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., at the Cleveland Clinic proved once again, in two studies, that you can reverse heart disease with plant-base nutrition. He co-stars in Forks Over Knives and wrote the book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.”

· Joel Fuhrman, M.D., promotes the nutritarian diet, meaning that every calorie you put in your mouth should have the most nutrients possible, and that means eating plants. He has written several books, including “Eat to Live,” “The End of Diabetes,” and most recently “The End of Heart Disease.” He gives a ski conference in Aspen in early April every year and gives a talk that is open to the public.

· John McDougall, M.D., who has a website and has written some books including “The Starch Solution.”

Michael Greger, M.D. is another giant in the field. In case you missed the column I did several months ago about his story, here it is: As a child he had a beloved grandmother who was sent home at age 65 from the hospital in a wheel chair with end-stage atherosclerosis in her heart and legs. Due to chest and leg pain from arterial blockages, she could only walk a few feet. Right at that time 60 Minutes did a piece on the Pritikin Diet, and the family took her to Dr. Pritikin’s inpatient program in California. In three weeks she was walking ten miles a day, because she stopped eating the food that was causing her disease.

This inspired Dr. Greger to go to medical school, where like most doctors, he learned little about nutrition. But he took it upon himself to become an expert in nutrition, and started a non-profit called nutritionfacts.org. He has no ties to the pharmaceutical or food industry. He and his staff review the thousands of English-language scientific papers on nutrition that come out every year (“so that you don’t have to” as he puts it) and presents the studies that are unbiased and well-done to the public, through his evidence-based website nutritionfacts.org. If you subscribe to the website (free, although he’d appreciate a donation), you will get a short blog or video about nutrition every day except Sunday. You can also search various subjects.

While Dr. Greger does not do research, he is a nationally and internationally-recognized authority on nutrition. He’s funny, and gives an informative and good talk, with power point slides. His talk is geared to the lay public but health care providers will also learn a lot. VVH is sponsoring his talk at The Orchard in Carbondale at 7 p.m. on February 9th. To reserve a space, send an email to [email protected] and include your phone number and email address. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity.


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