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Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?
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Thread: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

  1. #1
    Geoff_N's Avatar
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    Default Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    There I was, a vegan for 40 years and a keen long-distance cyclist, so my arteries must be clear, right? Nope. Of course I knew all sorts of unhealthy food can be vegan and my parents' families all had heart disease. The Nelder's love of cake then led to angina in order to make 2014 memorable. The chest pains only happened when I cycled hard up local Welsh hills and I thought it was my ancient sternum protesting at the heavy breathing. A blues & twos ambulance ride to Liverpool's Broad Green led to 3 stents being inserted in my coronary artery in June. After cardio rehab I can now cycle fast up 20% gradients again but the hospital dietitians had little to say about my diet. I've read widely this summer about nutrition routes to healthy hearts and discovered the Esselstyn diet. Basically Caldwell B. Esselstyn discovered that young US soldiers had atherosclerosis while rural Vietnamese did not. In fact he found that two-thirds of the world's population - those in rural Asia, Africa and S. America do not have the heart diseases that we have. Those rural people eat very little oil and fat compared to us. Along with other research he now promotes via his books and lectures his diet which is vegan and with only 10% of our calories from oils /fats. This means no more cooking in oil, no avacado and v few nuts. There's science behind it too. In a nutshell [sic] fats lead to damage to the endothilial cells lining our arteries.

    I mentioned this to my cardiologists in Broad Green and Chester and while they'd not heard of Esselstyn they agreed it would be fine for me to follow his diet. So I am.

    I urge all vegans, non-vegans whether you think you have a heart problem or not to find a copy of Esselstyn's books especially "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" and to freely read his articles and watch his videos on his website http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/

    Please ask me questions and argue or agree.

    Here's to a healthier 2015 for all of us.
    webbie geoffnelder DOT com
    my sci fi book has a vegan geoffnelder/exitbee.htm

  2. #2

    Default Re: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    Quote Geoff_N View Post
    There I was, a vegan for 40 years and a keen long-distance cyclist, so my arteries must be clear, right? Nope. Of course I knew all sorts of unhealthy food can be vegan and my parents' families all had heart disease. The Nelder's love of cake then led to angina in order to make 2014 memorable. The chest pains only happened when I cycled hard up local Welsh hills and I thought it was my ancient sternum protesting at the heavy breathing. A blues & twos ambulance ride to Liverpool's Broad Green led to 3 stents being inserted in my coronary artery in June. After cardio rehab I can now cycle fast up 20% gradients again but the hospital dietitians had little to say about my diet. I've read widely this summer about nutrition routes to healthy hearts and discovered the Esselstyn diet. Basically Caldwell B. Esselstyn discovered that young US soldiers had atherosclerosis while rural Vietnamese did not. In fact he found that two-thirds of the world's population - those in rural Asia, Africa and S. America do not have the heart diseases that we have. Those rural people eat very little oil and fat compared to us. Along with other research he now promotes via his books and lectures his diet which is vegan and with only 10% of our calories from oils /fats. This means no more cooking in oil, no avacado and v few nuts. There's science behind it too. In a nutshell [sic] fats lead to damage to the endothilial cells lining our arteries.

    I mentioned this to my cardiologists in Broad Green and Chester and while they'd not heard of Esselstyn they agreed it would be fine for me to follow his diet. So I am.

    I urge all vegans, non-vegans whether you think you have a heart problem or not to find a copy of Esselstyn's books especially "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" and to freely read his articles and watch his videos on his website http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/

    Please ask me questions and argue or agree.

    Here's to a healthier 2015 for all of us.
    Just curious, but over the years, did you ever do any cholesterol screenings? What were the results of those? I have had several full cholesterol screenings both as an omnivore and vegan. My cholesterol was very healthy even as an omnivore (2010 HDL was 62, total cholesterol 155). 1.5 years in as a vegan in 2012 I had the full fasting glucose/cholesterol/triglyceride etc screening. My total cholesterol as a vegan dropped to 125 and LDL was 67 (LDL was not checked in 2010). HDL did go down just slightly to 57 but still healthy. Triglycerides were 27 and glucose 88. So all in all very healthy. I plan to have everything checked again within the next few years and will be curious to see if improvements have continued. Though I am very lean and active, I am in surgical menopause and have a long history of hypothyroidism so I understand it is important for me to monitor my cholesterol due to these risk factors. I do eat a relatively low fat nearly oil free vegan diet. I have watched Forks Over Knives and read some of Dr. Esselstyn's book and am very impressed by his knowledge and dedication to the subject. .

  3. #3
    Geoff_N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    Hi Robin, yes I've had my cholesterol and other tests over the years and they've always been slightly on the high side-- too slight for the doc to warrant any meds for. BP just a tad too high at 145 /90 but B12 always high enough probably because I have taken a vegan multivitamin every day for the last 30 years. Problem is that I didn't know that even with those near-normal results my total fat intake at around 30% of total calorie intake was damaging my endothilial artery cells. Even now the US and UK government guidelines tell us to aim at 30-35% fat intake, which is far too high.

    My BP is low now, as is cholesterol because of statins, betablockers and other meds I was put on in June and advised to keep taking for at least a year.

    I've got used to low fat intake now and losing excess body mass. Unlike you, I've been a bit plump most of my life. I've been introduced to strangers as "the fattest vegan in town" ! cheek, but true. If only I knew 30 years ago what I know now!
    webbie geoffnelder DOT com
    my sci fi book has a vegan geoffnelder/exitbee.htm

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    Interesting. I also am a long-term cyclist and vegan. There is a great deal of controversy about the causes of heart disease - particularly concerning fats and oils.

    What sort of fats and oils were you consuming over the decades? Polyunsaturated, by any chance?

  5. #5
    Geoff_N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    For cooking and on salads, mostly olive oil. I'd bake my own vegan biscuits using vegan margarines or corn oil. They've changed a lot over the decades so it was hard Tomor marg in the 1970s then PURE in more recent years. I'd buy vegan icecream. Funny enough the ingredients for icecream and biscuits are almost the same - ie half fat, half sugar and a little something else. I'd have a jar of mixed nuts in the kitchen and would have a handful almost every time I passed but nutritious though they are, they are also high in oils so now it is more like a palmful every other day. I get my Omega essential fats from a tablespoon of mixed seed on my muesli or salads. I use low-fat soya milk but in the UK it is hard to find near-zero-fat hummus because of the tahini they use but I sometimes make my own.

    So the quicker answer is that in the early days most of the fat I consumed would have been unsaturated then more polyunsaturated in recent times.
    webbie geoffnelder DOT com
    my sci fi book has a vegan geoffnelder/exitbee.htm

  6. #6
    vegandingo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    I have great respect for Dr Esselstyn and I believe he is a genuine pioneer. However, I have decided to include coconut oil to my daily diet.

    Here is a worthwhile article that points out why I have decided to include coconut oil in my diet...

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/...ut-oil/4745732

    It can be very tricky to know which study or whose research to follow. In the end we are left with a personal decision. I gave up on most advice from mainstream doctors many years ago and I have, so far, been blessed with excellent health.

  7. #7
    Geoff_N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    It's not a problem to include coconut oil within the Esselstyn diet as long as the fats intake is no more than 10-12% of the total energy consumption. Note that the article appears to take 30% as low fat which is 3 times higher than what is defined as low fat by Dr Esselstyn.
    webbie geoffnelder DOT com
    my sci fi book has a vegan geoffnelder/exitbee.htm

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    Geoff, thank you for the heads up!

    Good to hear that you did get to the hospital in time and have no lasting negative effects from your incident.

    Out of curiosity, when you say "your cholesterol was a bit on the high side", what does that mean?
    Could you maybe give a ballpark number of your values?
    For some people, 250 might be on the high side, for others 150.

    Best regards,
    Andy

    PS: Like your airbag solution on your bike!

  9. #9
    Geoff_N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    Before the angiograms and medications my total cholesterol was 5.8 LDL 3.5 and HDL 0.8 with triglycerides 3.4
    In US terms that is Total 224 LDL 135 and HDL 31

    It's all moved in the right direction since.
    I also read that there's a toxin in some coffee preparations that increases cholesterol which is filtered out in instant and filtered coffee so that is what I have now. Sugar stimulates the liver to produce more LDL. Of course we know research keeps changing and we have to watch who is paying for that research with their own vested interests.
    webbie geoffnelder DOT com
    my sci fi book has a vegan geoffnelder/exitbee.htm

  10. #10
    Geoff_N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    Nearly a year since my angioplasty and still on the Caldwell B Esselstyn diet of plant food with only 10% calories from oils. An easy change for me since I've been vegan for about 40 years. It just means I don't drown salads and stir fries in olive oil, or any oil any more. Cut down my nut intake a lot too but still a palm full a day of mostly walnuts. Cycling is back to 100 miles a week including nice hills in Wales to get my pulse going. I've officially been discharged from the Liverpool Heart hospital to my GP. Still playing around with medication.
    webbie geoffnelder DOT com
    my sci fi book has a vegan geoffnelder/exitbee.htm

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Coronary Heart Disease - Am I a rarity?

    Geoff, I also have been trying to make my own salad dressing, mainly from lemon juice, celery, tomatoes, salt and pepper in the Vitamix, to avoid having too much oil and also to avoid using vinegar, which some claim is not a healthy food.

    Good to hear that you are fine now!

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