Veggies every day keep heart disease at bay
Aug 07 2014
Coronary artery heart disease is a leading killer across the world. Experts agree that the primary cause is food borne. At this point, the logic of present day treatment fails. For, doctors treat people with heart diseases by the use of a pill that compromises normal liver function. Or, they mechanically pry open and bypass blocked arteries. But what they don’t do is treat the disease causation.
Plant-based nutrition provides us with a pathway to escape the coronary artery disease epidemic. Caldwell says that even today in the Papua highlands, rural China, central Africa and for the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico, coronary artery heart disease is virtually nonexistent. That’s because these cultures thrive on plant-based nutrition. However, when they are exposed to the western diet of oil, meat and dairy, they promptly develop western illnesses like heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, obesity and hypertension.
Why not simply stop eating animal foods that cause such deadly diseases? The mechanical approaches of stents and bypass surgery may be lifesaving in the middle of a heart attack, but in the majority of elective cases, they are merely a stop-gap patch job. They are fraught with significant mortality, and morbidity through complications such as heart attacks, strokes, bleeding, infections, and can have side effects such as kidney injuries, loss of memory, decreased cognition, and depression.
According to Caldwell, these procedures do not protect against future heart attacks, nor do they prolong life. He says that coronary artery disease is preventable, and that even after it is underway, its progress can be stopped, its insidious effects reversed. The key lies in nutrition — specifically, in maintaining cholesterol levels well below those historically recommended by health policy experts.
Coronary disease has no building blocks from a plant-based diet. Meat, cheese, milk, butter, ice cream, eggs, fried foods, oils and margarine are the lethal atherosclerotic lynchpins that lead to coronary disease. Researchers have demonstrated endothelial damage in young persons within hours of eating such foods. The bottomline of the nutritional programme, he recommends, is that it contains not a single item of any food known to cause or promote the development of vascular disease.
You can eat a wonderful variety of delicious, nutrient-dense foods such as all vegetables except avocados (if you already have heart disease). Fill your plate with leafy green vegetables, root vegetables, vegetables that are red, green, purple, orange and yellow. Go nuts over all legumes — beans, peas, and lentils of all varieties — and all whole grains and products, such as breads and pasta that are made from them, as long as they do not contain added fats. And finally, eat all fruits available.
Physicians and researchers increasingly agree that lifestyle changes — controlling blood pressure, stopping smoking, reducing cholesterol, exercising and modifying diets to exclude animal products — are essential to overall health. Incidentally, do check out a healthy recipe from Caldwell’s wife, Anne, from my book.
Lime Mousse (Serves 2-4)
Ingredients: 1 packet lite firm or extra firm tofu (Mori Nu), 1/3rd cup maple syrup or sweetener of choice, 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, zest of one lime
Method: Blend the tofu, lime juice, zest and sweetener till smooth. Keep smoothing down the sides of the blender as you mix. Pour into the container you want to serve it in. Refrigerate till chilled. Use as dessert, topping or frosting.
(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)