To call his presentation profoundly informative would be an understatement. Dr. Williams began with a plea to each of us to take the information he shares directly to our own healthcare providers. As he points out, “the leading cause of death among physicians, including cardiologists, is heart disease.” Even though there is considerable evidence in the scientific literature, physicians learn almost nothing about using nutrition to prevent or reverse illness in their medical training.
I find the US calendar our National Days of Recognition to be so curious. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Month, and Pizza Month. Remarkable. It makes for such an odd visual. Imagine two people in hospital ID bracelets and gowns, just out of surgery, maybe with IVs connected, sitting in your favorite pizza parlor. Their doctors, standing behind them, joyously yelling, “Eat Up!” LOL! Really? This month, PCRM Food for Life Instructor, Betsy Bruns, provides us with great breast cancer information in her article “Orange is the New Pink.” So, here we will look at heart health for a minute. If we google Sudden Cardiac Death, we get more than 8,400,000 hits. If we look at some of the more well-known websites, like WebMD and MayoClinic, we find little information about the effects of nutrition on heart health. This, even though ten out of ten health care professionals agree that heart disease is directly related to what we eat. Yet, the majority of information available online from the major healthcare agencies is the same diluted, recycled stuff that has been promoted for years. They say eat more oily fish to increase your Omega-3 level. Limit eggs and alcohol intake. Eat low-fat dairy products and a few more fruit and vegetables. Funny, but it looks like the same information that has allowed heart disease to be the number 1 killer in the USA for decades.
This past weekend I had the pleasure to support American Medical Association resolution 203 to remove the requirement for a child to have a physician‘s note to receive a non-dairy milk alternative in school and to reword the Dietary Guidelines for Americans stating that meat and dairy are “options“ but not necessary or required while supporting whole plant foods as sources of protein, calcium and iron. As a plant based cardiologist I find this absolutely crucial. I stood along side Dr. Neal Barnard of PCRM, Dr. Kim Williams, Dr. Michael Klaper, and Dr. Terry Mason among others as I represented Chicagoland’s Plant Based Nutrition Movement. The AMA Board approved the resolution paving the way to a stronger recommendation towards a plant based diet. At the meeting, so many physicians approached the microphone to speak in support of the resolution that the chairman had to cut off “pro” statements and asked for “con” statements…no significant “con” arguments were presented. GO PLANTS!