'Heart attack proof' diet worked for me
August 19th, 2011
10:42 AM ET

'Heart attack proof' diet worked for me

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was lying in my hospital bed anxiously waiting for another unwanted heart catheterization. I was questioning how this could be happening to me again.

After all, I was only 41 years old. I was in pretty good shape. I didn’t smoke. I ate pretty well. Bad luck, bad genes, what was causing me to need a fifth heart procedure? It was easy to start feeling sorry for myself.

Then I thought about the book that I just finished reading for the second time since my last heart procedure that was sadly and inexplicably preformed just five months prior. It inspired me to pick up my iPad and search for the book’s author Dr. Esselstyn.

Esselstyn's  'heart attack proof' diet

Within seconds I was watching a CNN video on YouTube with Wolf Blitzer interviewing President Bill Clinton, Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish on how one might prevent and even reverse heart disease through diet and exercise. Motivated to go further, I then found Dr.Esselstyn’s office number on the internet and called without having any reasonable expectation that he could be reached.

Will you have a heart attack? These tests can tell

To my surprise, his assistant Jackie answered the phone and told me that she would have Dr. Esselstyn return my call as soon as possible. As I hung up the phone, I had to scratch my head and question whether a famous doctor and author in Cleveland who I had just watched on CNN, who didn’t know me from Adam, would return my call as I lay there helplessly in my hospital bed.

To my surprise he did.

I had been rolled into the waiting/recovery room for the catheterization lab when my cell phone rang, that I am pretty sure I was not supposed to be using in the hospital, with Dr. Esselstyn calling. He caringly asked about my health history, blood work results and current symptoms that had led me back to the hospital again that day.

Sadly, he admitted that there was only so much he could do as I was literally minutes from being rolled into the next room to have the catheterization performed, but he did promise that he was convinced there was a way that I could prevent this hospital visit from ever happening again and that I would be hearing from him soon.

Moments later, my heart catheterization had begun and three hours later I was back in my hospital room in tears realizing that I just had three more stents placed around my heart.

In the nine years that preceded that day, I had progressively lost hope. After my first of eight stents were placed at the age of 31, a friend had given me a book called  "Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease." After reading it I was inspired and confident that I could prevent this from ever happening again.

I then reached out to those that I thought I could trust - doctors, cardiologists, even a nutritionist to validate what I had read. It is safe to say that my confidence quickly turned to confusion. I remember stating, “If eating tree bark and water would keep me out of the hospital, then that is what I would do." Sadly, rather than confirmation, I instead was told that it was not necessary or even realistic that I commit to the lifestyle changes recommend by the book.

Nine years and eight stents later, I can’t help but think that the advice I received was well intentioned but nonetheless wrong.

After my fourth catheterization last June, I decided enough was enough and that there had to be a better way to go. I switched to a doctor that was part of the MDVIP program (focusing on  preventive, personalized health care) that had a nutritionist on staff. During my visit with the nutritionist, she recommended strongly that I read Dr. Esselstyn’s book "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease." After immediately reading the book cover to cover, I once again visited with my doctor and cardiologist who were clearly more supportive than my experience from years before, but there still was a suggestion that what I had read was too extreme, unrealistic, and even unnecessary.

Still confused, I did eat much better and exercised regularly. However, I did not follow what was recommended in the book to the letter. I found myself back in the hospital again that November.

Since that day in the hospital, I have not allowed any professional’s opinion or excuse to deter me from implementing what Dr. Esselstyn recommends. I attended his one day program at the Cleveland Clinic in December. My diet has consisted exclusively of fruits, vegetables, grains and beans with no added oils, nuts, seeds or avocado.

What your cholesterol numbers really mean

I have lost 48 pounds. My blood work has gone from total cholesterol of 208, LDL of 93, HDL of 41, and triglycerides of 368 last June to most recent results of total cholesterol of 89, LDL of 19, HDL of 53, and triglycerides of 83. That transformation is nothing short of amazing.

My next challenge is where to go next with my heart medications, which would seem to be unnecessary based on the miraculous change in my blood work.

I don’t blame my doctors, my cardiologists or nutritionists over the years. I believe they had my best interest at heart. I do believe, however, that the world deserves better advice on how to live a long and happy life, free of heart and other diseases.

I know there are no guarantees in life, but I am convinced beyond belief that I am on the right track. If I can do it, I know that anyone else can. They just need to be given a chance by being pointed in the right direction. Hopefully those hearing about my life experiences will help them avoid taking nine years to figure it out as it did with me.

soundoff (1,261 Responses)
  1. AbdgEncox

    Aggrenox caps http://canadianeve21.com/ – cialis online pharmacy top rated online canadian pharmacies

    April 26, 2021 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. JbsdEncox

    pharmacies near me canadian online pharmacy navarro pharmacy

    April 26, 2021 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. FbsfEncox

    get prescription online http://uspharmus.com/ canada meds

    April 26, 2021 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. LhdvZisse

    cialis usa https://asciled.com/ generic cialis with dapoxetine 80mg x 10 tabs

    April 27, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. plaquenil 200 mg tablet

    erectile helper https://plaquenilx.com/ are erectile dysfunction not curable

    April 27, 2021 at 05:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. LrbsEncox

    levitra 20mg tabletten https://uslevitraanna.com/ levitra active ingredients

    April 27, 2021 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. AbdgEncox

    canada viagra http://canadianeve21.com/ Ginette-35

    April 27, 2021 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. best realtors near me

    Excellent article. I will be facing a few of these issues as well..


    April 27, 2021 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. FbsfEncox

    navarro pharmacy http://uspharmus.com/ northwest pharmacy/com

    April 28, 2021 at 03:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. https://ayahqq-3.dewalego.com/

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you
    relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know
    what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something
    informative to read?

    April 28, 2021 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. LhdvZisse

    cialis super active review http://asciled.com/ what happens when you mix cialis with grapefruit?

    April 28, 2021 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jolie

    Hey, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine
    but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that,
    awesome blog!

    April 29, 2021 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RfvbZisse

    cialis uk http://cileve.com/ – cialis 6 pictures of penis on cialis

    April 29, 2021 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. cvs erectile products

    erectile icd 10 https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ is erectile dysfunction a va disability

    April 30, 2021 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian?

    best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian weight loss pills

    April 30, 2021 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. is it legal to bring viagra back to canada from mexico

    generic viagra shipping from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ is it safe to get viagra from canada

    April 30, 2021 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. canadian pharmacy 5 mg daily cialis

    cialis canadian discounts https://canadacialisstore.com/ how can i order cialis from a canadian pharmacy

    May 1, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. viagra cost canada

    viagra sin recetas en farmacias de canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ pfizer viagra canada pharmistry

    May 1, 2021 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. moda

    Why visitors still use to read news papers when in this technological world the whole thing is available on web?

    May 1, 2021 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. aralen for sale

    what is chloroquine used for https://aralenchloroquinex.com/# chloroquine vs chloroquine phosphate

    May 1, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RfvbZisse

    cialis seling https://cileve.com/ cialis delivery held at customs

    May 1, 2021 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. erectile

    does erectile dysfunction mean heart problems https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ best erectile dysfunction

    May 2, 2021 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. JbsdEncox

    pharmacy intern Sinequan Micardis

    May 2, 2021 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. cialis canadian pharmacy

    canadian pharmacy for cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ do you need prescription for canadian prescription of cialis in usa

    May 2, 2021 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. BbdfMile

    what happens when women take viagra https://gensitecil.com/ – expired viagra buy viagra from canada

    May 3, 2021 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. GvdbCrulk

    amino tadalafil https://boxtadafil.com/ – tadalafil 20 mg best price tadalafil 40 mg dosage

    May 3, 2021 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. clonidine

    chloroquine without prescription https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloraquine

    May 3, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. GtnbCrulk

    viagra u.s.a https://jokviagra.com/ otc viagra alternatives

    May 3, 2021 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. LbsoZisse

    viagra,cialis india http://ucialisdas.com/ cialis soft

    May 3, 2021 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RebfZisse

    cialis prices at walmart http://rcialisgl.com/ buy original cialis 10 mg

    May 4, 2021 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. truck a/c repair near me

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thanks for supplying these details.


    May 4, 2021 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. aika online private server source

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, however I really thought you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you can fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.


    May 4, 2021 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. truck repair near me garage


    May 4, 2021 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. mercedes metris cargo van

    Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I am going to forward this post to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!


    May 4, 2021 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. game aika online


    May 5, 2021 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Wrap Around Prescription Sunglasses

    There's certainly a lot to find out about this topic. I like all of the points you have made.


    May 5, 2021 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. JebgEncox

    pharmacy northwest canada https://pharmacylo.com/ canadian pharmacies that deliver to the us

    May 5, 2021 at 06:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Phoenix Eye Care

    I was extremely pleased to discover this site. I need to to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to look at new information in your blog.


    May 5, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. aika online private server source


    May 5, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. personal coach

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own site now 😉


    May 5, 2021 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Contact Lens Exam


    May 5, 2021 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. truck brake replacement

    I really like it when individuals come together and share opinions. Great website, stick with it!


    May 5, 2021 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. priligy

    buy priligy dapoxetine india

    May 5, 2021 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. accountability training

    Your style is really unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this page.


    May 5, 2021 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. chevy silverado 2500 hd

    Right here is the perfect web site for anybody who really wants to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that's been discussed for a long time. Excellent stuff, just great!


    May 5, 2021 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. driving school near me


    May 5, 2021 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. kurvana carts

    At this time it seems like Movable Type is the
    preferred blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

    May 5, 2021 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Windows Los Angeles

    After looking over a few of the blog articles on your web page, I truly appreciate your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my website too and let me know what you think.


    May 5, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. GtnbCrulk

    how viagra works http://jokviagra.com/ how much is viagra

    May 5, 2021 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RebfZisse

    list cialis https://rcialisgl.com/ generic cialis soft tabs

    May 5, 2021 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Leave a Reply to FmnfEncox


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.