Archive for heart disease – Page 2

“Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven”

Susan D’AndreaBy: Susan D’Andrea

The phone rang on Labor Day weekend of 2011. One of my sons and I were in Pennsylvania to attend my niece’s wedding. My husband John was home in San Antonio, Texas. He had watched an ABC News special about Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. John started reading the book and was convinced that this book would protect us from cardiovascular disease, despite our high blood pressure and family history of heart attacks and strokes. By the time I was halfway through the first chapter, Dr. Esselstyn had convinced me that a vegan diet with no added fat would guarantee we would not have a heart attack. We were committed.

Next we watched the documentary Forks Over Knives (which is available on Netflix and various streaming websites). This strengthened our belief that a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet would protect us, not only from cardiovascular disease, but from cancer and a host of other illnesses. Our oldest son and his wife watched the movie and joined us. Now we had support and an opportunity to share favorite recipes.

We wanted so much to do this that every time we tried a new recipe, when we asked the blessing, we asked Heavenly Father to help us like the new dish. We have liked everything we have tried.

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“When I changed my diet, an amazing thing happened”

Lynn HenrichsenBy: Lynn Henrichsen

As a teenage boy I could eat anything and never put on a pound. However, as an adult, I found myself putting on weight until I weighed over 50 pounds more than I did in high school. My job as a BYU faculty member involved mostly sitting at a desk or standing in front of a class. That led to physical problems. At age 40, running and even walking produced pain in my knees that reduced my activity level even further. Nevertheless, I accepted this reduction and the accompanying gain in weight as part of the normal aging process. I didn’t worry much about it. I exercised moderately and consumed a diet relatively high in refined flour, sugar, dairy products, and meat, which I had been taught were “good food.”

When I was in my forties and fifties, a high school or college classmate or family member my age, who had been a healthy or even athletic youth, would occasionally appear in the obituaries—usually a victim of a heart attack, stroke, or cancer. Also, among those who were still alive, I noticed a significant number growing (in their own words) “slower, fatter, and stupider” and accepting these undesirable changes as inevitable.

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“I have found many hidden treasures”

Ilene ChristensenBy: Ilene Christensen

It was November 1973. I was sitting in a bus with the rest of the BYU volleyball team in Durango, Colorado for the Regional Tournament. My coach had already told me I would be starting for the first time that season. I was ready and very excited. We were waiting for our coaches to board the bus so we could go to breakfast prior to the start of the tournament. It was strange that they were taking so long. I remember sitting there as Earlene Durrant (the athletic trainer) boarded the bus and started walking down the aisle. My first thought was, “My father, it’s my father.” But then it appeared she was going to walk by, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Then she stopped and said, “Ilene, Sister Michaelis would like to see you in her hotel room.” I got off the bus, and the team drove away without me.

I went into Sister Michaelis’s hotel room, and she said the words no one wants to say, “I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your father passed away last night.” He was 46 years old. He died of a heart attack. My mother was left to finish raising six children on her own.

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“I am a food addict”

Scott Zimmerman After WFPB (Sevilla Spain) May 2013By: S. Scott Zimmerman  

I have four confessions:

1. I am a food addict. I often seem unable to stop eating, and forage for food all day long, food that is often high in fat and sugar.
2. I have coronary artery disease (CAD) caused by an unhealthy lifestyle.
3. I have lost over 50 pounds three times in my life, only to regain the weight two of the three times.
4. During my 30 years as a professor of biochemistry at Brigham Young University, I always included principles of nutrition as part of my biochemistry courses for pre-medical and pre-nursing students, but I have recently realized that much of what I taught about nutrition was wrong.

So here is My Story of ups and downs in body weight and in nutrition management. It’s a story of a long, slow process of making mistakes, trying to learn from those mistakes, and finally finding the value of a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle. I’ll start with my first confession.

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