Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. University of Central Florida October 20, 2011
Like many of you, I have a thirst for knowledge especially when it comes to making our world a better place for all of us. I try to keep up with a variety of pertinent issues that affect all of us. I believe that life is full of endless possibilities that could change our world for the better. So, why not open our minds to explore new ideas that could make life better for all of us? Moreover, why not empower ourselves with the knowledge that could make life better not only for us, but also for the entire planet?
It goes without saying that the topic of “health” hasn’t always been a hot topic. However, that seems to be changing lately. People are becoming much more aware of the need to eat healthier foods, exercise and reduce stress levels. Unfortunately, often times it takes a “wake-up call” to get people to change their lifestyle. For most people, this occurs later in life when things have already spiraled out of control.
And it also goes without saying that most people do not want anyone telling them what to eat “or” how to live. Of course that all changes when someone suffers a heart attack or stroke, and they are lucky enough to survive it. Sometimes it’s experiencing the loss of a loved one that gets us to reconsider our lifestyle choices. Moreover, it doesn’t always take something as severe as a heart attack, stroke, or the loss of a loved one to get people to make healthier choices. Often times high cholesterol levels will get people to embrace a healthier lifestyle. For others, it’s ethical reasons that motivate their choices. For some, it’s a combination of both ethical and health reasons. Nonetheless, there are all sorts of reasons why people choose to live their particular lifestyle. That being said, those lifestyle choices could have positive “or” negative consequences dependent upon the particular choices that individual makes.
As a seeker of knowledge, I was elated when I heard that internationally renowned physician and former surgeon Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., of the prestigious Cleveland Clinic was coming to speak at my alma mater the University of Central Florida located in Orlando. Specifically, Dr. Esselstyn is the “who’s who” of medical doctors. He also happens to be an Olympic gold medal winner of the 1956 US rowing team. He was also awarded the Bronze Star for his work as a surgeon in the Vietnam War. In addition, Dr. Esselstyn is among one of the doctors that former US President Bill Clinton credits for his recent decision to change to a plant-based diet.
Dr. Esselstyn believes that a vegan diet “without oils” can prevent and reverse heart disease. He documents this in his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. And during his presentation, he brought all sorts of slides to show it. I must admit that the results of his studies were amazing to me. I happen to be vegan myself (with oils), so it’s always interesting to see the outcome of a vegan diet albeit without oils. By the way, for those unfamiliar, vegans do not consume meat, dairy, eggs, and all other animal-derived ingredients. On the other hand, vegetarians also do not eat meat but may consume dairy, eggs, and other animal-derived ingredients.
Interestingly enough, with the exception of UCF medical students, my husband and me were some of the youngest people there among the attendees. Sadly, many of the people who attended the event had serious health problems, and even traveled from afar via airplane to attend the event. Yet, I kept thinking to myself, shouldn’t others without heart disease be here too? After all, why not embrace prevention? Just to point out, Dr. Esselstyn mentioned during his presentation that heart disease starts very early in life. It doesn’t wait till we all become senior citizens to begin!
After Dr. Esselstyn’s presentation, he took questions from the audience. There were lots of success stories. Many people saw significant results on his oil-free vegan diet. They had significantly lowered their cholesterol levels, lowered their blood pressure and lost weight.
After the question and answer period, Dr. Esselstyn stayed long after to talk with people. It was very obvious to me that Dr. Esselstyn truly cared about the well-being of those who attended the free event. As a matter of fact, I was so impressed with him that I wanted to share the event with everyone. Plus, I even bought the critically acclaimed documentary movie FORKS OVER KNIVES, which Dr. Esselstyn costars. I just added it to The List on my blog. It’s a must see for anyone that wants to live a healthier lifestyle. And it goes without saying that a plant-based diet is kind to animals and our planet. Nonetheless, it was truly a fascinating and inspiring evening filled with very important information that could save lives. Needless to say, I was honored to meet Dr. Esselstyn. He may be a renowned physician and former surgeon, but more importantly, he is a human being with a big heart for helping others. Just to note, there was nothing for sale at this free event (not his book or the movie). Clearly, Dr. Esselstyn’s only focus was on saving lives. That being said, there were lots of people in attendance (as in me) that would have loved to buy his book at the event! At any rate, Dr. Esselstyn graciously signed books for those who brought them, and posed for some pictures.
By the way, I have reduced my oils since attending the event. I will always be a lifelong vegan. I must admit I became vegan for ethical reasons (i.e., kindness to animals), but it sure is wonderful to know that it’s amazingly healthy being vegan!
So, have you ever considered a plant-based diet? Why or why not?