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Two ways to fight heart disease

Friday, November 23, 2012

I wanted to tell this true story of someone who did the best they know to beat heart disease. It is a distant relative of mine who had his first quintuple bypass at age 48. I don't know details of his diet and exercise habits before his first bypass but I know that he is a (now retired) physician by profession and this was 25 years ago. After his surgery he started exercising regularly. He gradually increased riding his bicycle to where he now rides many miles, somewhere around 50, almost every day. The fact that he is still alive is considered unusual in itself. I assume that he managed to raise his HDL cholesterol through exercise and he probably lost weight and body fat, too. The other part of the story is that after 25 years the plaque in his arteries finally caught up with him again. He convinced his doctors to do a second quintuple bypass surgery, something that is rarely done, and he is doing ok now. I suspect that it will take a while for his body to recover from this procedure and I'm glad he is alive and doing comparatively well.
The thought immediately crossed my mind of what may have happened if he had been on a low-carb diet for the last 25 years. From the reading I have done I have every reason to believe that he could have reversed his arterial plaque, exercised a lot less and and not ever needed the second bypass surgery. But the information he needed to try this approach was not available to him. Most of the research that would have supported this approach is very recent with most data that is older being considered anecdotal evidence.
I have a feeling that he would have liked to have known about this anecdotal evidence. But anything that does not fit our current belief system does not get spread very quickly.
I wonder how many bypass and stent surgeries will be done in this country alone in the coming year and how many could be completely avoided if people changed their diet and added even minimal exercise. I'll leave it to someone else to do the math on how much money could be saved annually, probably enough to save our health care system.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUSSELL_40 11/26/2012 10:37AM

    After 2 years on low carb, my cardiologist found out that was how I was eating. Instead of being happy I had lost 100 lbs, she ordered another heart cath. I have CHF, not clogged arteries. My arteries are huge, as is my heart. It is just weak.

Of course I had no plaque whatsoever, and now after I did another echo, and my heart is pumping 3X the blood with each beat it was 10 years ago, she is mystified. From 2001 - 2009, my heart was pumping 16% of its volume, and now it is at 45 % as of August. I had gained weight over the summer, and she told me to get back on low carb..lol.

Sadly, out of all her patients, I am the only one doing low carb. Also, I am the only one with improving heart strength, bloodwork, BP, and losing weight. People who are close to dying, are afraid that eating one egg dish, or fatty meat meal might kill them, since that is what they were told.

I think being diabetic, as well as having such a weak heart, helped me make the decision. My cardiologist thought I would be dead in 6 months, so I had nothing to lose by trying low carb. I had already made it 7.5 years, without losing any weight, or having any health improvements.

Only by ignoring their advice did I get healthier. Not sure if low carb affects plaque buildup, but maybe he wouldn't have ever had to have the 2nd surgery. I know my hospital stays are usually a day now, just to get my meds right, or get water off my lungs. Before low carb, I would spend a week every time I went in, and that cost 100 K a week in cardiac care, which is paid for by disabilty Medicare, so taxpayers. Multiply that by the thousands of heart patients, and you save billions.

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LILY_SPARK 11/24/2012 9:57AM

    It's amazing he's doing so well!

I switched to eating a lot of healthy fats and back to eating protein (at least 1g for every pound of body weight) in 2009. I know you don't read my personal blog but I've recently learned I'm considered to have heart disease -- atypical because I've previously shown no symptoms (yay for being a fitness freak, I suppose).

I do not want advice but I wanted to say I'm a study in this :)

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JSTETSER 11/24/2012 6:46AM

    We are each in control of our own health and destiny. Pages like Spark help us to take better care of ourselves.

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HEALTHY4ME 11/23/2012 7:31PM

    I totally agree then you have someone like my dad who had a quad. bypass in 1990 and was told if you do what we say diet, exercise, stop smoking and drinking, you will have 8 years, if not we give you 5. Well as i said that was 1990 and he just today had his 87th birthday, still eats, doesn't do any exercise and can't walk well cos of clots in his lower legs ( dr said mainly cos of his smoking and if he quit it would dimish the pain and swelling by at least 3/4).

I hope that I have his genes for this, and hope that I don't have my mums lungs and know that I have her arthritis and yea probably her lungs but pray I don't get lung ca as she. She passed 3.5 years ago.

So I have to keep remembering I don't want to be ill and a burden and as you know with my back and knees so bad now at nearly 56, I have to get on the ball and get this show on the road to contiual doing. hmmm did that make sense LOL Guess be better to say stop stopping and restarting and just continue eating well and exercising. Gotta get that primal paleo down better.
A woman that works with my son who has rhumatiod arth. in her hands, with the swollen joints etc. has gone paleo cos of my son always talking about it at work and she is totally amazed at her hands, they no longer kink, and they arent near as sore and swollen, she also has lost 11 lbs in 1.5 months. so she is a convert if she can have less pain in a month she said no reason not to do this!

Thanks for the info and I won't rely on my genetics, cos who knows whos heart genetics I got LOL

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FITSMALLCLOTHES 11/23/2012 7:19PM

    Yes, but they don't want us to know because they would make less money, surgeons, drug companies and more.

Hugs

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GOPINTOS 11/23/2012 2:40PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Dr Oz Show Fans Team
Wheat Belly Team

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KELTIC-CARA 11/23/2012 2:32PM

    I'm glad you relative is doing OK. You have made some very good sense there. We should all read more of what is out there and see if we can correct our bad habits so that we won't need surgery down the track. Thanks

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What is the best way to lose the weight?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I was contemplating this question as I was watching a show on Dr. Phil about morbid obesity recently. The answer may depend on several factors.
People who are several hundred pounds overweight can make huge progress just by limiting the number of calories they eat to a normal amount, even a high "normal", let's say 3000 calories/day. If they also stop eating processed foods than this can make just as big a difference.
Of course most people who are trying to lose weight on their own rather than being at an expensive in-patient weight-loss clinic have had tremendous difficulty giving up processed foods and eating "normal" amounts because processed foods are filled with addictive ingredients, primarily sugar and wheat. For anyone who is not convinced that wheat products (incl. whole wheat) are addictive please take a look at the book "Wheatbelly" by William Davis.
Replacing these addictive foods with other foods that are just as satisfying but not addictive can be critical to success. Sugar and carbs in general are addictive in part because every time we eat them our body responds with releasing insulin from our pancreas so that the carbs, all of which our body turns into sugar, can be moved from our blood stream to our cells. Insulin is good and necessary but if we eat carbs a lot every day as most people do, our cells get gradually less responsive to insulin and our pancreas has to produce more of it, ultimately leading to type 2 diabetes when our pancreas can't keep up any more. The other problem is that every time our insulin levels go up, our sugar levels then go down quickly, leaving us hungry for more carbs. For most people this cycle is the reason they feel hungry every couple of hours. THIS IS NOT NORMAL but a sign that our body has become too reliant on carbohydrates for energy.
Therefore the way to eliminate the constant hunger is to cut down carbohydrates, and get more of our calories from fat.
The other advantage of eating fewer carbohydrates and more fat is that our body is getting used to using fat for energy and is getting better at it the fewer carbohydrates are available to use for energy. Our body does not distinguish between using fat from our diet and body fat as far as using fat as fuel. Once it is used to burning fat it will be better at burning fat, giving us plenty of energy for all our daily activities.
For people who have already lost most of their excess weight, eating fewer carbohydrates is often the only way to improve their body composition, because once their body has gotten used to burning fat there is so much more energy available for working out making working out much more easy and fun.
This is an experience that I share with many people on the low-carb, paleo and primal teams on spark. So, regardless of how much weight you have to lose (and you may at first be able to lose on almost any diet) if you can wrap your mind around giving up sugar and grains you will be working with your body to lose weight and get in shape.
For all those who are convinced they could never give up grains and/or sugar: It is actually much easier than you might think: Xylitol is an excellent low-glycemic sweetener that will not affect insulin levels much and it can be used just like sugar. Stevia is another healthy sweetener that many people enjoy and it is completely calorie and sugar-free.
Grains are easily replaced with nut meals/flours, the most popular ones of these are almond flour and coconut flour, but also flaxseed meal.
A diet that leaves you hungry and without energy will make any exercise an uphill struggle which is very discouraging for someone who does not have a long habit of enjoying exercise. Eating a lower-carb diet (between 50-100grams/day) while consuming more fat and a moderate amount of protein will hugely increase energy levels and joy of exercising and thereby increase muscle mass as body fat is reduced.
At least that has been my experience over this past year.
Now I'm going shopping for our Thanksgiving meal, including meats, eggs, full-fat dairy, different colors of vegetables, nuts, fruit and even some dark chocolate.
Happy Thanksgiving,
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JSTETSER 11/22/2012 6:24AM

    Great food for thought!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 11/21/2012 7:55AM

    I always read your blogs and thank you for the information you’re putting out there. As you know, a “low carb” day for me is keeping under 200. Fortunately, the conventional advice calories-in/calories out, portion control etc. worked and continues to work for me, but I’m pleased that there are alternatives for those who need something else. Happy Thanksgiving!


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JIBBIE49 11/20/2012 6:22PM

    I've been reading THE SUGAR FIX by Richard Johnson M.D. and learning so much about why fructose makes us fat. His lecture on YouTube is worth listening to.

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DOVESEYES 11/20/2012 6:08PM

    I struggled to find a meal plan for many years and then looked up body types and got my daughter(med student) to research a plan that has been invaluable to me. I don't eat bread which was the biggest help to my metabolism. I replaced it with ryvita and kavli bread or sawdust as my hubby calls it.
I incorporate a higher amount of protein and fat than is 'recommended' but as each person is different and all the blood and sugar tests are good I'm happy to keep going.
I go for avocado and nuts and seeds to give a good fat. I love dark chocolate but found as I lost weight my craving for it has dropped to one piece every couple of days.
I do eat frozen yoghurt every night and feel happy with myself.

Thanks for the info it is greatly appreciated and enjoyed by us all by the responses emoticon emoticon



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HOUNDLOVER1 11/20/2012 5:45PM

    AFINEMESS,
that's a good question. The reason for moderate protein is that excess protein that the body does not need for building muscle will be turned into sugar by the liver, a process called gluconeogenesis. To determine the approximate amount of necessary protein you need to figure out your approximate lean body mass which is total body weight in pounds minus pounds of body fat. Then eat about 1 gram of protein for every pound of lean body mass.
Only body builders and very high level athletes need more than that.


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AFINEMESS 11/20/2012 4:59PM

    Interesting. Why moderate proteins? I found a free copy of Wheat Belly (epub) on the internets, will check it out ;)

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WILLOWBROOK5 11/20/2012 4:38PM

    This is very well written and certainly something to consider. However, right now I count myself in the numbers who can't imagine giving up carbs and I unabashedly admit to a fondness for sugar. I am not super high in either category and maybe some day I will consider trying to be low carb. I get a good amount of protein each day but struggle to get enough fat grams.

Currently, I remain of the opinion that there are many ways to lose weight. What works great for one person may be a failure or at best a successful misery for another. I wish everyone success in any healthy way that works for them.





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KANOE10 11/20/2012 4:22PM

    That was well written and so true. I am going to recommend this blog to other people.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

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OOLALA53 11/20/2012 4:02PM

    Over a hundred years of aiming at a certain amount of calories or even a certain weight has proved to be a huge failure. So has making drastic changes. Yes, the successes are out there, but they are the exception.

Slowly changing the crucial ratio between refined foods and wholesome foods, as well as decreasing amounts of dense foods over time, is what people end up doing in the long run. Accepting that it's going to be a long haul and making it enjoyable along the way is so important!

You can and are doing this. Just keep going!





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KELTIC-CARA 11/20/2012 3:01PM

    Great information there, I enjoyed reading it and now to work on it.

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ERIN1957 11/20/2012 2:40PM

    I love this!! Very well said!

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Great blog by Gary Taubes

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

He addresses some important issues that many people seem to have missed in his book. This is a deep thinker so be prepared to be reading for a while. emoticon

garytaubes.com/2012/11/what-would-ha
ppen-if-thoughts-and-thought-experimen
ts-on-the-calorie-issue/?utm_source=rs
s&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-wou
ld-happen-if-thoughts-and-thought-expe
riments-on-the-calorie-issue

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEINGTHEFABMRSK 11/23/2012 4:16PM

    Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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GOPINTOS 11/23/2012 2:58PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Dr Oz Show Fans Team
Wheat Belly Team

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KICK-SS 11/20/2012 6:33PM

    I read Gary Taubes blog earlier this morning. I thought it was very good too!!!! He does a good job!

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WOUBBIE 11/20/2012 2:07PM

    Thanks for posting this! Taubes has such a great way of cutting through illogic.

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GRACEMCDOG 11/20/2012 12:59PM

    I wish all my friends who continue to think that eating unlimited amounts of fruit has to be okay and good for them because fruit is a 'natural' source of sugar would read this and other material that explains the effects of fructose on the body. Thanks for posting this link, Birgit. I really enjoyed the article--quite thought provoking!

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A dark November day - I'm going to have fun anyhow

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's my day off today. So when I woke up and saw the dark clouds and the pouring rain I decided to have fun anyhow. We went swimming in the morning and I managed to swim 1000 yards freestyle. After that we had a nice cup of decaf and a small lunch and went to the ice skating rink for another 45 minutes of exercise. Now I feel entitled to just sit around for a while and read a good book or watch a movie. emoticon but not too hard. emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIOPPE 11/21/2012 5:12AM

    Good way to break the gloom. It is dark and rainy here today, so I skipped my aqua class. Now I need to find something to do that will take my mind off the weather. :)

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NAYPOOIE 11/20/2012 12:19PM

    I love dark rainy days too, but preferably when I can stay home and build a fire.

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LOSER05 11/20/2012 9:04AM

    I love rainy dark days

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ERIN1957 11/20/2012 7:34AM

    emoticon

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JSTETSER 11/20/2012 6:01AM

    Good plan!
emoticon Read my blog "Pressing on!"

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HISTORYRUNNER 11/20/2012 2:12AM

    Looks like you had fun. It's the best to get out and be active when it's cold and wet outside. Then sitting back and watching the movie is twice as good, right? emoticon

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MEDDYPEDDY 11/20/2012 12:51AM

    Ah encouraging post because it does not have to be harder than that!

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2ABBYNORMAL 11/19/2012 9:49PM

    Wow. What a great day. I envy you.
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COMEONMA 11/19/2012 7:12PM

    wow, fantastic workout! enjoy your relaxation

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ONMYWEIGH60 11/19/2012 6:24PM

    Those are my favorite kind of workouts. I love swimming and ice skating.
What a way to make the best of an rather gloomy day.
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Hugs
Suzzy

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Where to find animal products from pasture-fed animals

Sunday, November 18, 2012

On popular request I wanted to pass on this very useful resource that includes a nationwide list of where to find pasture-fed animals locally and also lots of info on why pasture-raised animals produce better food.

www.eatwild.com/

You may find producers near you. Be prepared to planning ahead a bit if you want a turkey or a larger amount of something. It may even be worth it for many to buy an additional freezer or refrigerator. Many small producers will only raise and grow what they can sell in a local market. Some will ask you to pay for an animal or a share while they are still raising it. But the benefits are worth it. Many will give you and your children the opportunity to visit their farm so you can see how the animals are raised. Most of them deeply care about their land and their animals and also about the people they serve and will be happy to talk to you.
There is nothing better than to know the person who is growing/raising your food. emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROBYNLN 11/19/2012 2:23PM

    Eat Wild is a great resource. Another good website is: http://www.localharvest.org/ . These 2 websites are how I got started sourcing local, quality food sources. Another place is to check out our local farmer's market. The meat farmers there are more than happy to discuss their practices and often will have more options for people willing to commit to buy all or part of an animal.

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ERIN1957 11/19/2012 2:20PM

    Thanks so much!!

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JSTETSER 11/19/2012 6:04AM

    Thanks for the post.

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NDTEACHER1 11/18/2012 7:09PM

    I think so many pesticides, growth hormones, and on and on has lead to a very sick nation. Cancer, diabetes, many of these illnesses are not caused by man's choice but what is put in food today. My parents are 83 and 90 and still grow their own garden, don't use any pesticides or any other garbage we find in food today.

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LAINYC 11/18/2012 4:26PM

    emoticon

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