The End of Heart Disease: The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Joel Fuhrman
There is a LOT to absorb in THE END OF HEART DISEASE. This is a well-written, practical discussion about the biggest killer in our society, and concrete steps you can start taking right away to keep yourself from becoming the next victim.
"Cardiac patients typically worsen and usually die of heart disease despite the finest medical management." I definitely do NOT like the sound of that quote from Dr. Fuhrman.
Dr Fuhrman begins this book by explaining the impact of heart disease in our society. More people die of heart disease than all the cancers combined. The cost to society is astronomical, and yet most people wait for the symptoms to happen, and then treat the problem with drugs. In a recent year, $320 billlion dollars were spend on cardiovascular disease. Dr. Fuhrman notes that the total lifetime cost to treat a person with CAD (Coronary Artery Disease) is nearly $1,000,000!
The author is emphatic that physicians have a moral obligation to explain to patients that there is a LOT that one can do to greatly lessen the risk of heart diease. If you wait until you have the symptoms, it will be FAR more costly to treat, and far less effective. Yes, there are drugs that can lessen blood pressure and other important metrics, but these drugs will not actually cure your disease--just help in keeping in under control.
The good news, the doctor explains, is that with substantive dietary changes, you can drastically cut your risk. Not down to zero, of course, but much lower risk. He cites numerous studies that have focused on certain foods, and their contribution to preventing heart disease. There is a TON of scientific evidence that demonstrate the value of eating certain foods, and avoiding others.
The key to the food selection, Dr. Fuhrman explains, is selecting foods that have high nutritional value for the calories. This number is called the "ANDI," which stands for Aggregate Nutrient Desnity Index. The foods with the highest index are certain vegetables that provide monstrous nutrition, and yet few calories. Foods like collard greens or watercress. At the other end of the spectrum, having a soda gives ZERO nutrition per a ton of calories. (For those curious readers, the second worst was Apple Pie.)
The book provides 2 weeks of detailed meal plans. A big requirement is to have 1 meal a day consist of a big salad. In fact, the doctor admonishes the reader to make a written commitment to eat that big salad, and post it on the fridge door.
Importantly, you will be drastically cutting down on animal products--eating only a few ounces per meal at most. This is going to be tough!
The author cautions that these dietary changes will take time--it will not be trivial, and it will likely take months for your taste buds to adjust to a lower intake of sweeteners. After your taste buds readjust, however, you will be pleasantly surprised at the mild tastes you've been missing.
I am entirely convinced by the doctor's scientific research and recommendations. However, I think this will be tough for me (and I bet other people as well.) Cutting out almost all meat will be a big hurdle for me, as will the one-salad-a-day regiment. Nevertheless, I am committed to doing this. Just today, in the company cafeteria, I had a big green salad for lunch, with lots of the veggies the doctor recommends. I put chia seeds on top, along with berries and other fresh fruit. I even passed on the tasty ice cream bar within hands distance.
Although you can zip through this book pretty quickly, it will take time to absorb the information--there are a lot of facts and figures to think about. I found it helpful to jot down important "action items" that I plan to take. For example, I have a personal goal to make a big salad for lunch, and add more berries and seeds to my diet. (Some of these seeds, I confess I have NEVER once tried.)
I found THE END OF HEART DISEASE to be a serious work with deadly serious implications. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that dietary changes can drastically lower my risk of hear disease. Therefore, I have started making changes to my diet TODAY as a direct result of reading this book.
This is going to be difficult for me to do, but I'm on my way to protecting my health. I bet that after reading this book, most readers will begin their journey as well.
Sample Kindle copy courtesy of Edelweiss Book Distributors