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Blocked Arteries: Clean Them Out Naturally

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Sticking with the Program

Did it make a difference how closely the participants stuck to the program in the Lifestyle Heart Trial? Were there any adverse affects from "cheating"? This question was looked at very carefully in the initial report that featured 12 months of follow-up. The answer was a resounding yes, as illustrated in Figure 21: Adverse Effects of "Cheating" in the Lifestyle Heart Trial.

These results are not surprising. Within the vegetarian group, those that were the most adherent to the program had the greatest amount of regression; that is, they experienced the most reversal. Each diseased blood vessel improved over four percent on the average.48 Those that were moderately adherent to the program experienced a 2.5 percent regression of coronary artery disease. Those that were the least adherent had minimal improvement, measuring less than one percent.

The issue of adherence makes three points. First, the closer one gets to the optimal lifestyle, the better. Obviously, the closer we follow a vegetarian diet, a regular exercise program, and stress control measures--the better off our arteries are going to be. The second point is that lesser degrees of adherence can still produce some benefit, although the results are not as dramatic. The third is that the lifestyle changes in the Lifestyle Heart Trial were of greater benefit than the data shows because of weak adherence to the program by some participants.

Doctors' Recommendations--Who Follows Them?

If you have heart disease, there is much you can do with simple lifestyle changes. But most people fail to grasp the full potential of lifestyle changes upon their overall health. Many with heart disease do not do much more than see their doctor and take medications. An American Heart Association study was made to determine how many individuals who have been diagnosed with heart disease complied with the corrective measures prescribed by their physicians. The astounding results are shown in Figure 22: Heart Disease Patients who Comply with Their Physician's Advice.49

We see that about two-thirds of heart disease patients neglect to make the basic changes in habits prescribed by most doctors (lower salt, less red meat intake, daily walking, no tobacco, etc.). This is a surprisingly large number, since the disease will take the life of 80 percent of those patients. If they are unwilling to make the simple changes in lifestyle, how can we expect them to make major changes such as outlined in this chapter? Are these changes more restrictive than most people could tolerate?

Is Lifestyle Change for Everyone?

It is one thing to present overwhelming evidence that a vegetarian diet is of significant advantage in reversing heart disease, but is it a diet that the average person can follow for life? It may seem restrictive at first because most of us grew up eating whatever we liked--an abundance of meat, milk, eggs, cheese, ice cream, store-bought convenience foods, etc.--you name it, we ate it. But look how sick many have become on that lifestyle. Americans, instead of being an example of first class health, are among the world's most obese, and continue to have high rates of heart disease. We have the largest and most advanced hospitals in the world--and we need them for people who are on the rich, refined, cholesterol, fat-laden diet.

If you begin to make the change to a vegetarian diet, you will be surprised that what may start off looking like a "sacrifice" does not have to end that way. This book is dedicated not only to inform you of a better way to live, but to also encourage you to make changes and experience the benefits. They say "Rome wasn't built in a day," but when it comes to our eating habits, we fear the "building" process. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say we most fear the "remodeling" process, the cleaning out of freezers and cupboards of foods that are dangerous to our health.

But on the positive side, joining a vegetarian or natural foods cooking class can help you get a jump-start into a new world of brand new dishes and foods that are both healthful and truly satisfying. If you do not have a cooking class available in your area, obtain several vegetarian cookbooks and set aside some quality time to experiment. A list of good vegetarian cookbooks is provided in Appendix II. Stick with it, and soon you will be surprised by how quickly you have a wide variety of new recipes that you can look forward to--and in addition, you will likely feel much better in a number of ways, both physically and mentally.

48 Ornish D, Brown SE, et al. Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial. Lancet 1990 Jul 21;336(8708):129-133.

49 Smith SC Jr, Blair SN, et al. Preventing heart attack and death in patients with coronary disease. Circulation 1995 Jul 1;92(1):2-4.

Notice of Credit
The article above is compliments of the Uchee Pines Institute, Seale, Alabama, a teaching and treatment facility devoted to natural remedies. For mor information, call 334-855-4781,e-mail:, or visit their Website:

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