A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

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A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby Norman » Sun May 05, 2013 6:15 am

In 2004 I had a triple bypass. After this I tried to maintain a lower fat diet with chicken and fish with lots of vegetables and with many meals with no meat at all. In 2009 my wife and I decided to adopt a vegan diet for health reasons. Knowing that my discipline was poor at times I researched how animals are treated in our food system. I was appalled by the great suffering the animals we eat had to endure and became an ethical vegan as well.

Influenced by the writings of John McDougall, Caldwell Esselstyn, Neal Bernard, T Colin Campbell and others, my intention was eat mostly whole unprocessed foods and to eliminate refined oils from my vegan diet. For brief stints I was very successful. Inevitably I would make exceptions and allow more and more exceptions while staying on a vegan diet. Eating out was one place I started to slip with vegan Thai curries, pasta with oily sauce, vegan restaurants that use a lot of oil, ect. I would look at a box of crackers or Microwave popcorn that listed only 1.5 grams of fat a serving. Of course I would eat 8 servings. In cooking without oil, liberal use of Tahini would add a lot of fat. Guacamole seemed so good. Often a diet coke addiction would flair up of fueling my desire for sweets I would get when I went to Gas stations or grocery stores. Paul Neuman's low fat dressing seemed harmless as it had so little fat per serving. You get the picture.

I had fooled myself in believing that because I ate better than many in the US with a vegan diet with many vegetables and some meals cooked without oil that I would be ok. Denial!

I had been dismissing chest pains in hiking and having to stop as being out of shape. On April 20th (2013) in a period of my life with a lot of stress in sorting out some close to hang up I experienced chest pains and light headed and needed to lie down. My wife and I decided we needed to go to the emergency room to check it out.

To be continued next post........
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby Norman » Sun May 05, 2013 7:58 am

A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease! Part 2

The chest pain was gone when I arrived at the hospital and I just wanted to have it checked out. They rushed me in. As I had had a bypass in 2004 they took it very seriously. They hooked me up to a EKG machine. They took my blood pressure which was now up to 160/100. My home readings had been generally 135/85 or less. They stuck needles in two hands and started a nitro drip. Later they came me treadmill stress test along with a EKG. I was able to complete the test with minor chest pain at the end. They also gave me an echo cardiogram (I must have good insurance) They determined I had not had a heart heart attack but had a blockage. They insisted that I be transported by ambulance to a hospital an hour and a half where they did cardiac catheterizations.

I found myself being swept up into the same system that cut open my chest and grafted 3 veins to my heart, offered no alternatives and failed to tell me that they eventually become clogged again with scar tissue.

I tried to talked to nurses and the doctor about diet. They rolled their eyes with deep concern and essentially implied I would be a fool not to get a catheterization. I thought maybe knowing what blockages were there I could make an informed decision on how to proceed. The hospital room was dark and the nurses were very busy to give much attention. Fortunately it was the weekend and they only did catherizations in the weekend on people with resting chest pain which had none. I found out that they did not want to do the procedure without the go ahead to put a stent or stents, if they thought they were needed. This is where I dug in and decided not to do it. Why put pieces of metal in my body they damage the artery walls and often clog up again in time anyway. The physicians assistant talked with me along time urging me to get a stent. I countered with the suggestion diet could work better. She almost had me convinced it was too late for diet for the blockage. When the cardiologist came in to follow up. (kind of like tag team wrestling) When I asked the cardiologist about risk factors and outcomes he admitted a stent would not extend my life. It was about quality of life. He told me that the risk of death was 1% for the procedure and another 1% if a stent was put in. I would have a 1 in 50 chance of dying for something that would not extend my life! That did it. They released me with the agreement that I would take 50mg of Toperal and 40mgs of Zocor. I also agreed to stress test with and echocardiogram in 1 month.
My Ldl is 115. I am confident I can get that down fast and in ashort time get off the Zocar. The also wanted me to go on Metaform for diabetes as I my Ac1 was 6.6 I refused. My home tests after I got back on my new diet have ranged from 101 to 120. I have lost 9 lbs in 20 days.
I will continue to drop weight. so I expect to get better numbers in the future. (Weight entering hospital 215 today 209- Goal weight 160)

I am totally committed to follow Dr Esselstyns and Mcdougalls diet for life. I will never submit to a bypass again.

My blood pressure on medications was at 135/83 but started dropping with a great diet. After 10 days it hit 110/60. I immediately decided to cut the dose in half. Now it is averaging 127/80. I will cut the dose in half again if I have another significant drop. My stress test is coming up on May 22. I have been training for it on the treadmill. I am determined to surprise the cardiologists. Yesterday I was able to walk one hr at 3.4 mph without chest pain. Dr Esselstyn reports increased blood flow in weeks with his diet. My experience seems to bear this out.

Wish me luck on the stress test and dealing with cardiologists.

That's all for now.

Norman
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby JuicerJohn » Sun May 05, 2013 8:29 am

Norman,

I'm really sorry to hear about your health issues, and wish you all the best as you follow the McDougall plan and prepare for your follow-up stress test.

Let your story be a reminder to us all though, not all vegan diets are created equal. It can be very easy for us to let the compromises creep in. Maybe we don't even realize, or we have a justification ready for each one. But your experience shows that our justifications don't really mean much where our health is concerned.

Thank you for sharing your story.
Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby f1jim » Sun May 05, 2013 8:42 am

Let your story be a warning flag for all those that listen to the comforting call that strict adherence is really not critical. For many of us it is critical and the difference between life and death.
In a sense you were fortunate to have had all the early warning signs our body can give us that trouble is brewing. Many people just fall over dead with a fatal heart attack. In life, that seems the cruelest blow.
The tone of your message says the bodies warnings have gotten through and you are prepared to take real corrective action. We will all be watching as your life continues to unfold.
Be quick, be thorough, thrive!!!!
f1jim
While adopting this diet and lifestyle program I have reversed my heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and lost 54 lbs. You can follow my story at https://www.drmcdougall.com/james-brown/
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby JeffN » Sun May 05, 2013 8:55 am

My comments

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=36550

In Health
Jeff
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby patty » Sun May 05, 2013 9:20 am

Norman wrote:
Fortunately it was the weekend and they only did catherizations in the weekend on people with resting chest pain which had none. I found out that they did not want to do the procedure without the go ahead to put a stent or stents, if they thought they were needed. This is where I dug in and decided not to do it. Why put pieces of metal in my body they damage the artery walls and often clog up again in time anyway. The physicians assistant talked with me along time urging me to get a stent. I countered with the suggestion diet could work better. She almost had me convinced it was too late for diet for the blockage. When the cardiologist came in to follow up. (kind of like tag team wrestling) When I asked the cardiologist about risk factors and outcomes he admitted a stent would not extend my life. It was about quality of life. He told me that the risk of death was 1% for the procedure and another 1% if a stent was put in. I would have a 1 in 50 chance of dying for something that would not extend my life! That did it.

That's all for now.

Norman


So grateful you had done your homework. Great post. And so happy you were hyper-viligent as Dr. Kappler says the person looking back at you from the mirror is the best doctor. Stay starch strong! Looking forward to hearing about your continued success in life's challenges as there are a lot of yets out there for all of us.. but together we can do it. Dr. McDougall has a great download.. only a dollar.. where he comments on Bill Clinton's experience.. it is a great listen. Again so grateful you had the starch centered heart to have the strength to say "No".

Jeff Novick has a great dvd: The Shopping School. Life consumes us, and we are Life.. it is great to be life smart. There is nothing like living in a clean body:) and we have the mentors.

Aloha, patty
Last edited by patty on Sun May 05, 2013 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby IRISHROVER » Sun May 05, 2013 9:29 am

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Last edited by IRISHROVER on Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby rickfm » Sun May 05, 2013 9:36 am

What a story! That's quite a source of motivation to stay on track. Stay strong, Norman.
~Rick

Mmmm.... cabbage!
Keeping it Simple
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby rijman » Sun May 05, 2013 9:48 am

Thank you for sharing your story.

Regarding Jeff's link to his response on vegan foods, wow, that clearly explains the differences between a vegan diet and a healthy diet. I've had similar discussions with my father in law when he says it least it was vegan, I try to point out, although not as clearly as Jeff does, that our diet isn't just about what you don't eat, it's also about what you do eat. In my mind the vegan diet is about avoiding animal based foods but leaves a lot of unhealthy options whereas the WFPB diet focuses on what you actually eat.
I may be naive.
But I still believe the truth will be revealed if enough light is shined on the subject.
Right now we are dealing with massive ignorance.

John McDougall, MD
(McDougall Discussion Board, posted 7/2/13)
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby patty » Sun May 05, 2013 10:04 am

rijman wrote:Thank you for sharing your story.

Regarding Jeff's link to his response on vegan foods, wow, that clearly explains the differences between a vegan diet and a healthy diet. I've had similar discussions with my father in law when he says it least it was vegan, I try to point out, although not as clearly as Jeff does, that our diet isn't just about what you don't eat, it's also about what you do eat. In my mind the vegan diet is about avoiding animal based foods but leaves a lot of unhealthy options whereas the WFPB diet focuses on what you actually eat.


Your father in-law is very lucky to have you! We have to shop smart... from all marketing. I love when PinkRose shares his lifestyle of a bowl filled with starch and veggies. How simple and healthy is that?

Aloha, patty
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby plants-and-carbs » Sun May 05, 2013 10:17 am

Great post for people to read and learn from. The vegan thing does sound attractive to many but they don't realize, that means nothing if its steeped in oils, tons of tofu, fake meats, sodium based fake foods, and sweets.

What we want is really a diet of Whole Food, plant based, low fat. This sums it up.
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby astronaut23 » Sun May 05, 2013 10:46 am

Is tofu off plan? Then why is it in at least one of the recipes in Dr. Mcdougalls book? I tried Mary Mcdougalls eggless egg salad recipe and it had tofu in the recipe.

I've eaten at PF Changs a couple times and their buddha's feast contains tofu also.
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby plants-and-carbs » Sun May 05, 2013 11:24 am

astronaut23 wrote:Is tofu off plan? Then why is it in at least one of the recipes in Dr. Mcdougalls book? I tried Mary Mcdougalls eggless egg salad recipe and it had tofu in the recipe.

I've eaten at PF Changs a couple times and their buddha's feast contains tofu also.


Oh. No, tofu is not off plan. It's an ok thing to eat, but a lot of vegans go on full on tofu fests and they think vegan is all about tofu based products. Most of those fake foods are based in tofu too. Eating tofu everyday is not a great idea. Besides the fat content being a bit high, it's not that healthy of a thing to eat on a daily basis, but as something to throw into your menu here and there, it's fine.
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby RebusCannebus » Sun May 05, 2013 11:36 am

Norman, thank you so much for sharing your story. It certainly got my attention. I have symptomatic CAD and sloppy adherence to this program. As you point out, this is a recipe for disaster. You (and of course Jim's omni-present big stick ;-) ) have motivated me to improve.

May you fully regain your health.
Peter
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Re: A Vegan diet fails to prevent heart disease!

Postby Lacey » Sun May 05, 2013 12:38 pm

Wow. Very powerful story and thank you for sharing it. Your story is very similar to the story of someone near and dear to me. I have not shared the story here as it is not mine to share, but when I see so many people here saying that "close enough" to adherence is good enough to prevent heart disease down the road, or when I read "this is not an all or nothing program," or when people admit to having several treat days, or when those of us who now are in 100% compliance (some because we learned the hard way that 100% is necessary if we want to stay alive and healthy) are given a hard time, or even made to feel that our strict compliance might be a sign of a mental disorder, I want to ask them how they know they are healthy (or lucky) enough to get away with not being 100% compliant? How do they know they will continue to get away with a little oil here and a tiny bit of oil there, or an egg here or a doughnut there? For some of us who thought we were doing well enough because we were eating better than the majority of Americans, or because we were 100% compliant at home but relaxed in restaurants and overlooked a bit of oil now and then, the first sign that we were in fact NOT getting away with it was when the elephant sat on our chests and we started wondering if we would make it to the hospital. Or when a stroke hit, seemingly from out of nowhere, and the left side of our body never moves again. Or when the MS symptoms, or the lupus symptoms, or the arthritis symptoms don't improve. Or when central vision starts to diminish because macular degeneration is progressing and we discover we are losing our ability to read. Or when the biopsy comes back positive. (And yes, these examples are all from people I know IRL who thought their diets were "close enough.") My point is just that we really can't be sure we are getting away with being close enough to compliance to remain healthy. Some of us get away with it, but some of us don't. I would urge everyone to try 100% compliance, especially those with known health issues. And even those of us who don't think we have any health issues I would encourage 100% compliance as I have found that in a short time it really starts to feel wonderful.

Best of luck to you, Norman and thanks again for sharing your story.
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